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The Suez Canal is a human-made waterway that cut north-south throughout the Isthmus the Suez in Egypt. The Suez Canal connect the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea, making that the shortest maritime route to Asia from Europe. Because its perfect in 1869, it has become one of the world most greatly used shipping lanes.

The Suez Canal is important since it is the shortest marine route from Europe to Asia. Prior to its construction, pearl headed towards Asia had to embark on an arduous journey roughly the Cape of great Hope at the southern tip of Africa. Since of its strategic location, the canal is both heavily used and heavily protected.

Various develops of what is this particular day the Suez Canal exist in Egypt between 1850 BCE and also 775 CE, although primarily to facilitate trade in between the Nile flow Delta and also the Red Sea. Between 1859 and 1869, Egyptian khedive Saʿīd Pasha partnered with France’s Suez Canal agency to build the present canal connecting the Mediterranean and Red seas.

The Suez Canal was financed by the Suez Canal Company, a joint-stock company headquartered in Paris. At the time of its founding, France had 52 percent that shares and also Egypt organized 44 percent. By 1875, Egypt’s shares had actually been sold to good Britain, which facilitated the canal’s administration.

The Suez Canal’s global status has a murky history. Every the 1888 Convention the Constantinople, the canal is open up to pearls of all countries in peacetime and also wartime. However, there have actually been numerous instances of ships being denied i in wartime, particularly during people War I and also World war II. Due to the fact that of tensions with Israel, Egypt close up door the canal during the Suez crisis of 1956–57 and the Arab-Israeli war of 1967.

In 2018 there were 18,174 transits that the Suez Canal, follow to the Suez Canal Authority. The number climbed to 18,880 in 2019, or about 51.5 every day. Container ships and also tankers made the biggest percentage of transits during those years.

Suez Canal, Arabic Qanāt al-Suways, sea-level waterway running north-south across the Isthmus the Suez in Egypt to affix the Mediterranean and the Red seas. The canal separates the afri continent from Asia, and also it gives the shortest marine route between Europe and also the soil lying approximately the Indian and western Pacific oceans. It is among the world’s most heavily used shipping lanes. The canal extend 193 kilometres (120 miles) between Port stated (Būr Saʿīd) in the north and also Suez in the south, through dredged approach channels phibìc of port Said, right into the Mediterranean, and also south that Suez. The canal does not take the shortest route across the isthmus, which is only 121 km (75 miles). Instead, the utilizes several lakes: from north to south, Lake Manzala (Buḥayrat al-Manzilah), Lake Timsah (Buḥayrat al-Timsāḥ), and also the bitterness Lakes—Great bitter Lake (Al-Buḥayrah al-Murrah al-Kubrā) and tiny Bitter Lake (Al-Buḥayrah al-Murrah al-Ṣughrā). The Suez Canal is an open up cut, without locks, and, though comprehensive straight lengths occur, there space eight major bends. Come the west the the canal is the low-lying delta the the Nile River, and also to the east is the higher, rugged, and also arid Sinai Peninsula. Former to building and construction of the canal (completed in 1869), the only crucial settlement to be Suez, which in 1859 had actually 3,000 to 4,000 inhabitants. The rest of the communities along its banks have grown up since, with the feasible exception of Al-Qanṭarah.


Physical features


The Isthmus that Suez, the sole land bridge in between the continents of Africa and Asia, is of reasonably recent geologic origin. Both continents once formed a single huge continental mass, but during the Paleogene and also Neogene durations (about 66 come 2.6 million year ago) the good fault structures of the Red Sea and also Gulf that Aqaba developed, with the opening and also subsequent drown of the Red Sea trough as far as the Gulf the Suez and also the Gulf that Aqaba. In the prospering Quaternary period (about the previous 2.6 million years), there was substantial oscillation of sea level, leading ultimately to the introduction of a low-lying isthmus that expanded northward to a low-lying open coastal plain. Over there the Nile delta once extended farther east—as a an outcome of periods of abundant rainfall coincident with the Pleistocene epoch (2,588,000 come 11,700 year ago)—and two river arms, or distributaries, previously crossed the northern isthmus, one branch getting to the Mediterranean Sea at the narrowest allude of the isthmus and also the other entering the sea part 14.5 kilometres (9 miles) eastern of current Port Said.


Topographically, the Isthmus of Suez is not uniform. There space three shallow water-filled depressions: Lake Manzala, Lake Timsah, and also the bitterness Lakes; though identified as good and Little, the bitter Lakes type one continuous sheet the water. A number of more-resistant bands that limestone and also gypsum enforce in the southern of the isthmus, and also another far-reaching feature is a small valley leading from Lake Timsah southwestward towards the center Nile delta and Cairo. The isthmus is created of maritime sediments, coarser sands, and gravels deposit in the beforehand periods of numerous rainfall, Nile alluvium (especially come the north), and windblown sands.

When an initial opened in 1869, the canal had a channel right 8 metres (26 feet) deep, 22 metres (72 feet) broad at the bottom, and 61 to 91 metres (200 to 300 feet) broad at the surface. To allow ships to happen each other, happen bays were developed every 8 come 10 km (5 come 6 miles). Construction involved the excavation and dredging of 74 million cubic metres (97 million cubic yards) the sediments. Between 1870 and 1884 some 3,000 groundings the ships arisen because that the narrowness and also tortuousness of the channel. Significant improvements began in 1876, and, after succeeding widenings and deepenings, the canal by the 1960s had a minimum width of 55 metres (179 feet) at a depth of 10 metres (33 feet) along its banks and also a channel depth that 12 metres (40 feet) at low tide. Additionally in that period, happen bays were significantly enlarged and brand-new bays constructed, bypasses were made in the bitterness Lakes and also at Al-Ballāḥ, rock or cement cladding and also steel piling for financial institution protection were virtually entirely completed in areas specifically liable come erosion, tanker anchorages to be deepened in Lake Timsah, and new berths were dug in ~ Port said to facilitate the grouping of pearls in convoy.

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Plans that had actually been made in 1964 for further enlargement to be overtaken through the Arab-Israeli war of June 1967, during which the canal was blocked. The canal stayed inoperative till June 1975, once it was reopened and improvements were recommenced. In 2015 the Egyptian federal government finished a nearly $8.5 billion project to upgrade the canal and significantly increase its capacity; practically 29 kilometres (18 miles) were added to the original size of 164 km (102 miles).