Suez Canal

The Ever Given container ship was stuck and blocking the Suez Canal.The Ship Weighing 200,000-Ton Blocks Suez Canal Causing Disruptions and Losses. Suez Canal,is the fastest crossing from the Atlantic Ocean to the Indian Ocean

  • Suez Canal is a sea-level waterway running north-south across the Isthmus of Suez in Egypt to connect the Mediterranean and the Red seas.
  • The canal separates the African continent from Asia, and it provides the shortest maritime route between Europe and the lands lying around the Indian and western Pacific oceans. It is one of the world’s most heavily used shipping lanes.
  • The canal extends 193 km between Port Said  in the north and Suez in the south, with dredged approach channels north of Port Said, into the Mediterranean, and south of Suez.

Suez Canal

  • The canal does not take the shortest route across the isthmus, which is only 75 miles (121 km). Instead, it utilizes several lakes: from north to south, Lake Manzala , Lake Timsah , and the Bitter Lakes—Great Bitter Lake and Little Bitter Lake.
  • The Isthmus of Suez, the sole land bridge between the continents of Africa and Asia, is of relatively recent geologic origin. Both continents once formed a single large continental mass, but during the Paleogene  (about 66 to 2.6 million years ago) the great fault structures of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aqaba developed, with the opening and subsequent drowning of the Red Sea trough as far as the Gulf of Suez and the Gulf of Aqaba
  • A French-owned company built the Suez Canal between 1859 and 1869. For many years France and Great Britain together owned the canal. They agreed that the canal should be open to ships of all countries in times of both peace and war. But in 1956 Egypt took over the canal. France and Britain, helped by Israel, tried to take back the canal by force. They failed. War between Egypt and Israel closed the canal between 1967 and 1975. Today the canal is one of the world’s busiest shipping routes.

History of Suez Canal:

When the sea-level canal was first opened in 1869, it was 164 kilometres (102 miles) long and eight metres (26 feet) deep.It could accommodate ships of up to 5,000 tons to a depth 6.7 metres, which constituted the bulk of the world’s fleet at the time, according to the Suez Canal Authority.

In 1887, the canal was modernised to allow navigation at night, which doubled its capacity.

Growth in the 1950s 

It was not until the 1950s that the waterway was substantially expanded, deepened and lengthened, following demands from shipping companies.

By the time it was nationalised by Egypt’s President Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1956, it was 175 kilometres long and 14 metres deep, and could take tankers with a capacity of 30,000 tons to a depth of 10.7 metres.

21st century

A major expansion in 2015 took the length of the waterway to 193.30 kilometres and its depth to 24 metres.

It meant that the canal could handle supertankers with a capacity of 240,000 tons, some of the biggest in the world, that went up to 20.1 metres deep in the water.

The Suez Canal Crisis:

The Suez Crisis was an invasion of Egypt by Israel, Britain and France with the objective of regaining control of the Suez Canal that had been nationalized by the Egyptian president, Gamal Abdel Nasser.

The crisis ended when the invaders withdrew under pressure from the United States, the Soviet Union and the United Nations.


 The ruler of Egypt, was forced into exile in mid-1952. A year later, a group of army officers formally took over the government which they already controlled. The titular head of the junta was General Mohammed Neguib. The real power behind the new throne was a young colonel who dreamed of reasserting the dignity and freedom of the Arab nation, with Egypt at the heart of the renaissance. His name was Gamal Abdel Nasser.

Nasser’s first target was the continued British military presence in the Suez canal zone. A source of bitter resentment among many Egyptians, that presence was a symbol of British imperial dominance since the 1880s. In 1954, having established himself as uncontested leader of Egypt, Nasser negotiated a new treaty, under which British forces would leave within 20 months.

At first, the largely peaceful transition of power in Egypt was little noticed in a world beset by turmoil and revolution. The cold war was at its height. Communism was entrenched throughout eastern Europe; the French were being chased out of Indo-China and were engaged in a vicious civil war in Algeria; the infant state of Israel had fought off the combined might of six Arab armies, and Britain was trying to hold down insurgents in Cyprus, Kenya and Malaya.


The Suez crisis is often portrayed as Britain’s last fling of the imperial dice

The 1956 Suez Crisis, when Britain along with France and Israel invaded Egypt to recover control of the Suez Canal, was arguably one of the most significant episodes in post-1945 British history. It’s outcome highlighted Britain’s declining status and confirmed it as a ‘second tier’ world power.

Domestically it caused a massive political fallout in Britain and resulted in an economic crisis, while internationally it further complicated the politics of the Middle East, threatening Britain’s key diplomatic relationships with Commonwealth nations and the United States-United Kingdom ‘special relationship’.

On 4 November the United Nations threatened Britain with sanctions if there were any civilian casualties from British aerial bombing of targets in Egypt. This led to economic panic in the first week of November 1956 and resulted in tens of millions of pounds being lost from the country’s reserves. Britain faced having to devalue its currency. Appalled that military operations had begun without his knowledge, US President Eisenhower put pressure on the International Monetary Fund to deny Britain any financial assistance.

With few options the British Prime Minister Anthony Eden reluctantly accepted a UN proposed ceasefire. Under Resolution 1001 on 7 November 1956 the United Nations deployed an emergency force (UNEF) of peacekeepers into Egypt to halt the conflict. It had lasted just two days and Britain, and Eden personally, had been left humiliated.

The crisis had a serious impact on Britain’s international relationships.

The crisis had its genesis in a tripartite aggression when Israel, Britain, and France invaded Egyptian territory on October 29, 1956. The crisis only lasted ten days, but was a moment of profound anxiety for India, and indeed for relations between newly independent or rapidly decolonizing states and their former colonizers. As Nehru put it in a letter to John Foster Dulles, “the whole future of the relations between Europe and Asia” hung in the balance. The Indian government anticipated enormous fallout of the crisis on India both economically and politically, as any “restriction of traffic through the canal or blockade or imposition of higher tolls would have [had] harmful results and might [have] even prejudice[d] the progress of the Second Five Year Plan.”


× How can I help you?
%d bloggers like this: