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Suez Canal

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USS America (CV-66) in the Suez canal 1981.jpg

The Suez Canal (Arabic: قناة السويس, Qanā al-Suways, French: Le Canal de Suez) is a canal in Egypt. It lies west of the Sinai Peninsula. It is 190 kilometers long, 350 meters wide and 22,5 meters deep.

It links the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea. It runs between Port Said (Būr Sa'īd) on the Mediterranean Sea, and Suez (al-Suways) on the Red Sea. The canal was started in 1859 and finished in 1869. Thanks to the Suez Canal, ships can travel from Europe to Asia without going around Africa.

It was built by a French company and especially the French engineer Ferdinand de Lesseps. The building of the canal didn't please everyone especially not the English.

Satellite view of the Suez Canal

Uses[edit | edit source]

The canal allows boats/ships to travel from Europe to Asia without having to go the way around Africa. It was built to go from Egypt to the Indian Ocean.

History[edit | edit source]

In 1859, the Suez Canal was built by the Universal Suez Ship Canal Company, and took 10 years to build. The first ship to pass through the canal did so on 17 February 1867; Giuseppe Verdi wrote the famous opera Aida for this ceremony.

The canal made it possible to easily transport goods across the world. The canal also allowed Europeans to travel to East Africa, and this area was soon controlled by European powers.

The success of the Suez Canal encouraged the French to try to build the Panama Canal. But they did not finish it. The Panama Canal was finished later.

Long after its building, the French, the English, and the Egyptians still didn't agree on who the canal belonged to. Finally in 1956 Nasser, then Egypt's president, nationalised the canal.

After the Six Day War in 1967, the canal remained closed until June 5, 1975. A UN peacekeeping force has been stationed in the Sinai Peninsula since 1974, to avoid more wars.

About 15,000 ships pass through the canal each year, which is about 14% of world shipping. Each ship takes up to 16 hours to cross the canal. en:Suez Canal