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Pasha 104: The fascinating history of the Suez Canal

The Suez Canal was in the spotlight recently when the container vessel Ever Given became wedged diagonally across it, causing a massive backlog in shipping traffic. The idea of a canal connecting the Red Sea and the Mediterranean was a dream for many throughout history. The Egyptian Pharoahs, Persians, Romans and Ottomans all saw its potential benefits.

The canal offers the shortest sea route between Europe and Asia, making it useful for trade. Eventually a French diplomat, Ferdinand de Lesseps, was given permission by Egypt’s ruler to start working on the project in 1854. Construction started in the north and proceeded southwards, creating a hive of economic activity.

In today’s episode of Pasha, Lucia Carminati, an assistant professor at Texas Tech University, takes us through the fascinating history of the Suez Canal, including the workers who executed the project and the physical challenges of developing and maintaining it.


Read more: The toll and toil it took to cleave the Suez Canal through the Egyptian desert


Photo:
“Suez Canal Waterway Connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea Map, 3D illustration” by shubhamtiwari found on Shutterstock

Music:
“Happy African Village” by John Bartmann, found on FreeMusicArchive.org licensed under CC0 1.

“AmbGuitar_EgyptTexture01.wav” by jdagenet, found on Freesound licensed under the Creative Commons 0 License.

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