Need Help Writing a Paper?

Have Paper Masters custom write your project today!

  • 24/7 Customer Support
  • Free Plagiarism Check
  • Writing at Your Level
  • Writers All Have Advanced Degrees
  • Will Follow Specific Instructions
Need Help Writing a Paper?
Yes! Write My Paper!

The Suez Canal

The Suez Canal

The Suez Canal is a man-made waterway connecting the Mediterranean Sea at Port Said to the Red Sea at Suez Port. World history projects outline the importance of the Suez Canal and its place in commerce, history and politics.

Although attempts to build a canal linking these two seas goes back to Ancient Egypt, the modern canal was constructed between 1859 and 1869. It was the brainchild of French developer Ferdinand de Lesseps and engineer Linant de Bellefonds. They the Suez Canal Company and gained the right to operate the canal on a ninety-nine-year lease from the Egyptian government.

  • Nearly 30,000 Egyptians worked as laborers
  • It is believed that thousands died in the harsh working conditions.
  • The British had initially opposed the construction, fearing that it would threaten their connection to India. However, when the Egyptian government fell into financial difficulties in the 1870s, the British bought up their shares in the Company.
  • Ultimately able to gain a protectorate over the Canal and eventually Egypt itself - one that lasted until the Egyptian government nationalized the Canal in the 1950s.

Unlike many other canals, the Suez Canal contains no locks. This was achieved because the elevation at Port Said and Suez are roughly equal. In 2015, the Canal was enhanced with the opening of the New Suez Canal, which two-way traffic cargo traffic to pass through the center of the Isthmus between Suez Canal Bridge and Small Bitter Lake. On average, some 1400 vessels pass through the Canal each month and roughly 45 each day.

France constructed the canal connecting the Red Sea to the Mediterranean from 1859-69, and Britain purchased shares for it in 1875, and waited for the Ottoman demise. While splitting up the empire, England released the Balfour Declaration of 1917, stating that it "would look 'with favor' on a Jewish homeland in Palestine," mainly because a presence there would guarantee "control of the eastern approaches to the Suez Canal." Though Egypt gained technical independence after 1922, the kings were still subservient to the British. When Israel was created in 1948, Egyptians and other Arabs united to stop it, and lost, yet many were galvanized to fight for nationalism. In the revolution of 1952, the "Free Officers movement ousted King Farouk," and "Gamal Abdul Nasser eventually assumed the presidency of Egypt."

England immediately wooed Nasser with an invitation into the Baghdad Pact, but he was also pressured by his people, who insisted that he nationalize the canal. With constant offers for deals with world powers, most notably a rejection by the U.S. to help fund the Aswan dam construction- because Egypt bought arms from Czechoslovakia, Nasser decided to remove the last vestige of foreign control from his country, and nationalized the Suez Canal Company in July of 1956. While British motives in the Middle East were quite clear for some time, according to one writer, "the aspect of the Suez crisis which has attracted most attention over the years," was "whether the British, the French and the Israelis were acting in concert when they invaded Egypt" just after Nasser's act.

History is tough to decode in general, but primary accounts around the Suez were particularly problematic. Important people were purposefully held out of meetings, records were not kept, some documents may have been destroyed, and many early memoirs did not discuss certain issues. Though the British vociferously denied any foreknowledge in the attack at the time, the only way they could have justified a military strike to seize the canal would be if Egypt and Israel went to war with each other, thus allowing England and France to step in as supposed peacemakers. Warner's study of existing diplomatic sources revealed that "two of the three claims which the British made at the time" were "thus seen to be manifestly untrue." They did know about the attack and had an agreement about it; the only question is if Israel was incited.

It is perhaps surreal to realize that such uproar between so many nations was caused by one president's decision to take possession of a corporation that resided in his own country. According to Russian sources, "it was obvious from the outset that the Suez crisis could be resolved in one of two ways," everyone could accept the nationalization and work out mutually beneficial deals, or they could force a different solution upon Egypt and destroy Nasser- England and France chose the latter. However, according to Prime Minister Anthony Eden's memoir, the Suez was a "European crusade," and one of many times his country "led Europe in the fight for freedom." The seizure of the canal, to him, "left 'Europe' without a choice. It had to fight for its place in the world," or else become a slave to the U.S.

Related Research Paper Topic Suggestions

Paper Masters

  • Custom Written Papers
  • 100% Plagiarism Free
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • Guaranteed Confidentiality
  • Text us for a Quote Today!

This is a topic on
The Suez Canal Research Papers

The Suez Canal research papers discuss the man-made waterway that connects the Mediterranean Sea at Port Said to the Red Sea at Suez Port.

Choosing a Topic:

Can't decide on a topic? Need ideas or inspiration for research in your field of study? Paper Masters provides topic suggestions to make your decision easier.

Paper Masters Site Search