Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Old Suez Canal


Few people are aware that there had been a canal across the isthmus of Suez before De Lesseps ever conceived the idea of his monumental enterprise.

A canal across the isthmus was actually constructed 600 years before the Christian era and served as a waterway for small vessels until about 1,000 years ago, when it was allowed to fall into disuse. Napoleon revived the idea and instructed one of the great engineers of his day to investigate the matter, but though a favorable report was presented to him, in which M. Lepere recommended the restoration of the canal, the work itself was never touched.

When M. de Lesseps undertook the task of cutting the canal he thought at first to follow the idea of Napoleon and restore the ancient waterway, but this plan was abandoned and the present plan determined upon.

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