One of four albumen silver photographs depicting the Suez Canal, circa 1880s.

The Suez Canal is a part natural and part man-made sea-level waterway through eastern Egypt connecting the Mediterranean and Red Seas. While primitive channels in the region had been used by shipping from ancient times, the modern canal route was constructed over a 10 year period by the French-based Suez Canal Company (Compagnie Universelle du Canal Maritime de Suez), under the direction of the former diplomat and entrepreneur Ferdinand de Lesseps. Construction commenced at Port Said on 25th April 1859 and the canal was officially opened to shipping on 17th November 1869, although the construction was not finally completed until 1871. In its original form the Suez Canal was 102 miles (164 km) long and 26 ft (8 m) deep, but has subsequently been enlargement several times to measure 193.3 km (120.1 miles) long and 205 metres (673 ft) wide by 24 m (79 ft) deep as of 2010.

Port Said is an Egyptian city that lies on the Mediterranean Sea, at the northern entrance to the Suez Canal and was established by de Lesseps in 1859, during the building of the canal. It developed into a major service and transshipping port and was the headquarters of the Suez Canal Company that built and operated the canal until 1956. During the days of steam-powered shipping Port Said was also a major coaling station on the main shipping route from Europe to Asia and Australia.

Description of Content

Perspective illustration of the Suez Canal showing ships, a railway bridge, mountains and the Bitter Lakes.

Physical Description

Albumen silver photograph.

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