The History and Significance of the Suez Canal

TLDR The Suez Canal has a long history, dating back to ancient Egypt, and has played a crucial role in connecting the Mediterranean and Red Sea. It has been a key component of global trade for 150 years, although alternative routes may still be chosen depending on fuel prices and cargo considerations.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 The Suez Canal has a surprisingly ancient history, with origins dating back to ancient Egypt's desire to connect the Nile with the Red Sea.
02:00 The ancient Suez Canal, known as the Canal of Pharaohs, was worked on by various Egyptian pharaohs over centuries, but fell into disuse and disrepair until it was completed by the Persian king Darius the Great, and after being functioning again for a short time, it closed due to the continual silt deposits from the Nile, until the idea of a canal was revived during the age of discovery.
03:39 The Ottomans were the first to seriously consider connecting the Mediterranean and Red Sea, and the French later found evidence of the ancient canal but gave up on the idea due to the misconception that the Red Sea was at a higher elevation, until a survey in 1830 determined that both seas were at the same level, leading to the creation of the Suez Canal by the French-led Suez Canal Company with permission from the Egyptian ruler.
05:26 The British were initially opposed to the construction of the Suez Canal, but eventually purchased 44% of it after the Egyptian ruler couldn't pay off his debts.
07:15 In 1882, the British took full control of the Suez Canal and it became a major priority for their defense policy, leading to its defense in both World Wars and its involvement in the Cold War.
08:54 In 1967, the Six-Day War led to the shutdown of the Suez Canal for eight years, but it was reopened in 1975 and has remained open since then, except for short-term events like the blockage in 2021 by the container ship ever given.
10:49 The Suez Canal has been a vital part of the global economy for 150 years and will continue to be so as long as goods are transported by ship, although depending on fuel prices and cargo nature, ships may still choose to go around Africa or take the shorter northern route above Russia.
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