The Suez Canal: Foundation, Crisis and Beyond

Today’s exploration will take us to the
Suez Canal. Does it really need an introduction? ​Technically speaking, the Suez Canal is
the artificial waterway running north to south across the Isthmus of Suez in Egypt, connecting
the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. The Canal separates the African continent
from Asia, while providing the shortest sea route between Europe and the Indian and western
Pacific oceans. Nowadays, the Canal is 193km long, 24 metres
deep and 225 metres wide. To give you an idea of just how much traffic
goes through Suez, in 2018 alone, 18,714 ships sailed through the Canal, for a total of 1.1B
Tons of cargo. Beyond the numbers and the stats, Suez enjoys
a well-earned iconic status, resulting from decades of complicated history. In today’s Geographics, we are going to
look at some of the events in which the Canal has been played not just a mere setting, but
a true protagonist. The Canals Before the Canal
Let’s start with a little test. Don’t worry — it’s a multiple choice
one. Can you name the decade in which the first
Canal linking the Mediterranean to the Red sea was dug? Is it
The 1860s CE, or The 1860s BCE
Well, what if I told you that both answers are at least kind of true? The Suez Canal was opened to navigation on
the 17th of November in 1869 CE, but the first waterway connecting the two seas, albeit not
directly, was dug during the reign of Pharao Senausret III, from 1887 to 1849 BCE. This canal was not a straight link ‘from
the Med to the Red,’ as is often heard, but rather, it connected the latter sea with
a branch of the Nile. For 4000 years ago, that’s still pretty
impressive! The Canal of Senausret was often abandoned
due to silting: the process of becoming filled or blocked by sandy or clay-like deposits. However, Egyptians never shied away from a
massive infrastructural project, so time and again they set themselves to the task of reopening
and expanding the Canal. Under the reign of Necho II, around 610 BCE,
another canal was dug between the Pelusian branch of the Nile and the northern end of
the Bitter Lakes, which are located halfway between the shores of the Mediterranean and
the Red sea. The cost of the enterprise? According to Greek Historian Herodotus … 100,000
lives! Those 100,000 workers must have been delighted
to hear that this canal also fell victim to neglect, disrepair and silting. It took a foreign ruler, Persian Emperor Darius
I [Caption: Darius I, 522-486 BCE]
to bring the Canal back to its glory days. Herodotus again writes that the canal was
wide enough that two triremes could pass each other with oars extended, and that it took
four days to sail from the Mediterranean to the Great Bitter Lake. During the reign of Ptolemy II Philadelphus,
[Caption: 285-246 BC] the canal was extended by linking the Bitter
Lakes to the Red Sea. Once again, from the days of Senausret, a
ship could travel from the delta of the Nile to the Red sea, without having to unload its
cargo and cross the desert by other means. After yet another stint of neglect, it was
the Roman Emperor Trajan’s [Caption: 98-117 CE] turn to join the club of the canal revivalists,
but guess what? It didn’t last long. Skipping a few centuries ahead, in the 7th
Century CE, ruler Amro Ibn Elass rebuilt the canal, after the Islamic takeover of Egypt. The canal was used for shipping grain to Arabia
and transporting pilgrims to the Holy Land. The canal was finally blocked once and for
all in 767 CE by the Abbasid caliph El-Mansur. His aim was to cut off supplies to insurgents
located in the Nile Delta and in Medina. It was one of the earliest instances of how
a waterway could play a strategic role in times of conflict and strife. Do we like the Canal? It took more than one thousand years before
another military leader would even consider digging a new canal, and it was none other
than Napoleon Bonaparte, conqueror of Egypt in 1798. The Corsican General envisioned the project
as a means for the French Navy to control trade with the Indian Ocean. French Engineer Charles Le Pere set off to
work in 1799, but his team soon ran into a big problem. It appeared that the Red Sea was 10 metres,
or 30 feet, higher than the Mediterranean. This meant that digging a canal would cause
the Red sea to burst through the Sinai and the Nile Delta: a catastrophic flood. In reality, this was totally wrong — it was
a mathematical miscalculation! But it was enough to discourage Napoleon,
who, had other problems to occupy him, anyway, and work was quickly suspended. Despite Napoleon’s lack of followthrough,
his attempt left an important legacy: a semi-modern idea of directly connecting the Med and the
Red across the isthmus of Suez, without using a branch of the Nile as a bridge. In 1833, a group of French intellectuals known
as the Saint-Simoniens arrived in Cairo, and they became very interested in the Suez project,
despite the perceived problem of the different sea levels. Unfortunately, at that time, Egyptian Viceroy
Mohammed Ali Pasha had little interest in the project, being involved in a war against
his theoretical boss, the Ottoman Sultan. In 1835 many of the Saint-Simoniens fell ill
to a plague epidemic, and most of the survivors returned to France. Among the few who remained in Egypt was diplomat
Viscount Ferdinand Marie de Lesseps. In 1847, French topographer and engineer Paul-Adrien
Bourdaloue got his numbers right and confirmed that there was no difference in the levels
between the Mediterranean and Red Seas. The few Saint-Simoniens in Egypt felt perky
again, only to be dampened by the Viceroy’s lack of enthusiasm and by British opposition
to the project. The most active proponent of the idea, De
Lesseps, did not give up. He only had to wait for a change of leadership
in Cairo. We don’t just like it… We dig it! Ferdinand de Lesseps was born on the November
19, 1805, to a family of French career diplomats. While posted in Egypt, he had become friends
with Said Pasha, one of the 95 children allegedly sired by Mohammed Ali Pasha. Shortly after the Viceroy had failed to engage
in the Canal project, De Lesseps had retired. But in 1854, his old friend Said Pasha became
the new ruler of Egypt, and De Lesseps could not miss the opportunity for building a Canal;
he returned to Egypt where Said gave him a warm welcome, and, most importantly, the permission
to finally begin work on the Suez Canal. Just to clarify: De Lesseps was no engineer. He was a great organiser and planner, and,
most importantly, he was a real pro at securing the necessary political and financial backing
for a project of this magnitude. His chief supporter was none other than French
Emperor Napoleon III, one who could not resist the sight of a tempting money-making project. Nonethelesseps, De Lesseps – excuse me. Let’s try that again. Nonetheless, De Lesseps failed to secure interest
and gold from British investors. One wonders why the British Government was
not happy to build a quicker route to the Raj, Australia, and other colonies. They had too much fun in circumnavigating
Africa? By looking at British newspapers of the time,
it seems like public opinion was skeptical that the Canal could actually be built. And even if De Lesseps succeeded in doing
so, there were doubts about any sort of return on the investment. At the time, investing in a railroad from
Cairo to Suez sounded more financially appealing. Anyhow, De Lesseps managed to collect the
finances he needed through advance sales of Canal shares, on the Parisian stock market. Napoleon III would later chip in, too, as
a major financier. In 1858 De Lesseps formed the Universal Company
of the Maritime Suez Canal. This private company, owned by French and
Egyptian shareholders, had the authority to dig the canal and to operate it for 99 years. At the end of this period, the Company would
hand over ownership to the Egyptian Government. The Company’s original cost estimate was
200 Million francs. That’s about 2.2 Billion USD in today’s
money. Engineers also estimated that a total of 2.6
billion cubic feet of earth would have to be moved. Excavation of the Canal began on April 25,
1859, and it was no walk in the park. The Canal Company ran into financial problems
from the get go; luckily, Said Pasha came to the rescue, buying 44% of shares. Four years later, in 1863, Ismail Pasha succeeded
Said. Ismail was not a supporter of the project,
which was still being opposed by the British and Ottoman governments. Ismail had the work suspended, which prompted
De Lesseps to appeal to Napoleon III. The Emperor convened an international commission
in March of 1864, reaching an agreement that allowed for work to resume. Meanwhile, thousands of workers were digging
in excruciating conditions, poorly compensated and exposed to diseases and the harsh climate
of the Sinai. Cholera was a recurring nightmare. These issues created a high attrition rate
amongst labourers and the Canal Company had to constantly renew their ranks, drafting
in 20,000 new diggers every ten months. It is estimated that a total of 1.5 million
Egyptians worked on the Canal. As many as 125,000 workers, or almost 10%
of the total work force, died of cholera. After a decade of gruelling work, financial
problems, and political meddling, the Canal was nearing completion, when De Lesseps was
approached by sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi. Bartholdi pitched the idea of building a colossal
statue at the Mediterranean end of the Canal, called “Egypt Bringing Light to Asia”. De Lesseps was kind of ‘yeah, I don’t
really know … does it come with free shipping?’ So, Bartholdi continued shopping the idea
for his statue – which by the way looked like a giant woman in ancient Egyptian robes
carrying a torch high above her head. In 1886 the sculpture was unveiled in New
York Harbour, now known as the Statue of Liberty. On November 17, 1869 the barrage holding back
the waters of the Mediterranean was breached and the mighty waves flowed through the dig
and into the Red Sea. The Suez Canal was officially opened: 160
kilometers of man-made waterway connecting Port Said in the North with Suez in the South,
it was an impossibly impressive achievement. More importantly, the Canal had now linked
two Hemispheres and opened endless opportunities – for trade and for conquest. But first thing’s first: the Canal Company
had to party, and they knew just how to do it. The celebration gala at Port Said lasted six
whole weeks and was attended by six thousand VIPs. Among them: Empress Eugenie of France, Franz
Josef of Austria-Hungary, the Prince of Prussia, the Prince of the Netherlands and the Prince
of Wales. No doubt, the British retinue was impressed
by the Canal. The whole British establishment began reconsidering
their official stance on the Canal, from ‘meh.’ To
‘I say, we could use with some of that, old chap. Indeed.’ In 1875 the Egyptian Government was in debt
and the British offered to buy the 44% initially owned by Said Pasha. The Egyptians were happy to accept, and the
Brits were in, with the story of the Empire inextricably linked to that of the Canal for
the next 80 years. The Suez Canal became its lifeline to the
colonies and, well, half of the World. The Canal became the aorta to Britain and
France’s hearts: Enemies of the British and the French would do anything to sever
that artery, and they would do anything to defend it. Seeking to Seize Suez
In 1915, First World War hostilities had spread into the Middle East. Egypt had become a British protectorate in
1882, meaning the Empire bordered with Ottoman-controlled Palestine. In January 1915, an Ottoman expedition set
forth from Beersheba, Palestine, with the intention to capture the Suez Canal and interrupt
vital trade between Britain and its colonies. The leaders of the expedition were the Turkish
Minister of the Navy, Djemal Pasha, and his Chief of Staff, a German General with a fantastic
name: Kress von Kressenstein. Their 25,000-man assembly marched across the
Sinai, ready to take the British by surprise. And when I say ‘marched’, I mean it: they
literally walked across the desert, due to the lack of roads or railways in the peninsula. The other big problem for the attackers was
water: they could carry only enough to sustain four days of fighting. If they did not seize the Canal in that time
… well they would have to walk back home for more! Well aware of the strategic importance of
the Canal, the Entente planned for a potential Ottoman attack. They suspected it may come soon, though they
did not know exactly when. The Entente assigned 30,000 Indian troops
to guard the Canal. On February 2, Djemal and Kress Von Kressenstein
launched their surprise attack – which wasn’t a surprise at all. Not only did the Suez garrison expect an attack,
but it also had airplanes that spotted the incoming troops. So much for the element of surprise! Djemal and Kress Von Kressenstein went on
the attack until the 3rd of February, but after losing some 2,000 troops, they retreated
to Beersheba. The expedition had been a failure, and the
Ottomans did not attempt to take the Canal again. Some years after the end of the war, in 1922,
Egypt gained nominal independence from the British Empire. This was formalised with the Anglo-Egyptian
Treaty of 1936. Egypt was declared an independent sovereign
state, but it was bound to allow the presence of British troops stationed in the Canal zone
to protect Britain’s financial and strategic interests. This military presence was clearly not welcomed
by Egyptian nationalists, but at least on paper, it was not meant to go on forever:
the treaty had a time limit of 20 years, at which time the presence of troops was to be
renegotiated. During WWII there wasn’t any fighting in
and around the Canal; however, seizing Suez was a clear strategic goal for the Axis forces. After a series of offensives and counteroffensives
across the Libyan-Egyptian border, Field Marshal Montgomery finally pushed back the Italo-Germans
at El Alamein in October 1942. Britain had once again averted the risk of
losing its second most strategically precious waterway to an enemy invasion. Little did the British know that in the next
decade, it would be their turn to be the invaders. [Caption: The first more precious one is the
English Channel, feel free to disagree] The Suez Crisis
The end of WWII brought an upsurge in Egyptian nationalism, which escalated throughout the
early 1950s. In 1951 the nationalist Wafd party won the
elections: new Prime Minister Nahas Pasha asked for the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty of 1936
to be revoked. The British garrison at Suez was targeted
next, with attacks directed by the Egyptian paramilitary police force. On January 25, 1952, British troops launched
Operation Eagle, a counter-attack against an Egyptian police unit in Ismailia, near
the Canal. The engagement was a total success for the
British, as the Egyptians suffered 50 KIA. But when news reached Cairo, violence broke
out the following day: this became known as Black Saturday. British expats, along with their houses, businesses,
and properties, were assaulted and burned by angry mobs. British threats to occupy Cairo prompted King
Farouk to dismiss Nahas Pasha. But in July 1952, Farouk was overthrown in
a military coup by General Mohammed Neguib. The General was then later deposed in the
spring of 1954 and replaced by Colonel Gamel Abdul Nasser, the real puppet master behind
the coup. Nasser had a clear 3-point plan:
End British occupation Build up armed forces to attack Israel
Boost the economy by building a dam at Aswan His plan started well: in October 1954, Nasser
signed a new Treaty with London, announcing that British troops would be withdrawn by
June 1956, following which the Canal would be operated by British and Egyptian civilian
technicians. But then everything went pear shaped. In February 1955, British Foreign Secretary
and eventual Prime Minister Anthony Eden denied a supply of weapons to Nasser. As a solution, Nasser turned to Czechoslovakia,
purchasing Soviet-made planes, tanks, and other weaponry. This decision worried the Americans. The US Government was a major investor in
the Aswan dam, but was having cold feet due to high costs and low confidence in the success
of the project. The Czech arms deal was the final blow: US
Secretary of State Foster Dulles announced that they were going to pull out of the dam. What did Nasser shout? ‘Dam!’ [Caption: Dramatisation]
When the American pulled out, the Brits pulled out, too. ‘Dam!’ When the Brits pulled out, the World Bank
pulled out their $200 Millions, too. ‘Triple Dam!’ Nasser needed cash and he realised he had
it on his doorstep. In July 1956, President Nasser nationalised
the Anglo-French Suez Canal Company: now all the revenues generated by shipping and trade
through the Canal would go straight to Egypt’s coffers, a nice income to subsidise the dam
at Aswan. This was a bold move that was bound to elicit
a reaction from London and Paris. Prime Minister Eden started considering military
action to overthrow Nasser, or at least regain control of Suez. The Americans made it clear that they would
not condone such action, so London had to look for allies elsewhere. In October, Eden met with the French and Israeli
Prime Ministers, Guy Mollet [Guy pronounced ‘Ghee’] and David Ben-Gurion. Their secret agreement involved an Israeli
attack on Egypt, which would give the pretext for an Anglo-French intervention, i.e. protecting
the canal from the Israeli-Egyptian conflict, and thus ensuring freedom of international
shipping. On the October 29, 1956, the Israeli Defence
Force … erm … attacked the Sinai peninsula. The next day, Britain and France, ‘visibly
flabbergasted’ at the sight of these events, issued ultimatums to both combatants for a
cease-fire. The Israelis continued their operations, pushing
back Nasser’s army. Now came the time for the Anglo-French intervention:
first, an air strike grounded the Egyptian Air Force; then, on the 5th of November, at
dawn, British and French Paratroopers secured strategic areas of Port Said, at the Northern
end of the Canal. This was in preparation for a seaborne landing
due the next day. A force of Royal Marine Commandos, French
paratroopers and British tanks overwhelmed Egyptian defences – capturing also a great
deal of Nasser’s newly bought Czech weapons. The raid had been successful, but this was
an act of aggression against Egypt that the UN could not just stand and watch. Secretary General Hammarskjöld urged a cease-fire,
and the Anglo-French stopped just south of Port Said, while on their way to Suez. The invading forces had suffered 257 killed
in action overall, while Egypt reported over 3000 deaths. While the invaders had made progress on land,
Nasser had managed to scuttle 47 ships in the Canal, effectively shutting it for months. US President Eisenhower was furious with the
British. Khrushchev, too, was not a happy chappie and
he threatened Soviet intervention, without discounting the use of Nukes over Western
Europe. Scorned by most of the World, Britain and
France agreed to withdraw their troops from Egypt. Israel would evacuate the following year. A United Nations peacekeeping force was sent
in to supervise the ceasefire and to restore order. The Suez Canal was cleared and reopened, but
Britain found its ‘Special Relationship’ with the US severely strained and its influence
in the Middle East diminished. Eden’s political credibility was particularly
harmed, as he had kept the whole operation hidden not only to Eisenhower, but to his
own parliament. In December 1956 he declared to the House
of Commons: ‘To say it quite bluntly to the House, there
was not foreknowledge that Israel would attack Egypt. There was not.’ In January 1957, Sir Anthony Eden resigned. In June, Mollet’s government collapsed. Nasser was still in power and holding onto
the Canal. Shutdown! It’s clear that due to its location, the
Suez Canal would time and again find itself caught between Israel and Egypt in one of
their many conflicts. Following months of escalating tensions among
Israel, Syria, Jordan and Egypt, in the spring of 1967, war seemed inevitable. The Israeli Air Force did not wait; it struck
first, hard and fast. Operation Focus, launched on the 5th of June,
was a pre-emptive strike that destroyed on the ground most of the air forces of the allied
Arab countries. This was the beginning of the Six-Day war. I will not go into the details of the conflict,
rather focus on its consequences on the Suez Canal. As a retaliatory measure, Nasser ordered for
the Canal to be shut down by mines and scuttled ships. The problem is that at the time of the big
shut down, 15 international shipping vessels were moored at the canal’s midpoint, the
Great Bitter Lake. The ships remained stranded in the Bitter
Lake for eight years: they became known as the “Yellow Fleet”, because of the sands
that had caked their decks. The shipping companies could not afford to
abandon their ships and precious cargo, so they maintained rotating crews to look after
them. Egyptian authorities had banned the crews
from using radio and imposed a police guard on every ship, but the crews were not eager
to remain in isolation from each other. Motorboats became an essential form of transport
for communication and for exchanging supplies. Soon, the Bitter Lake residents grew into
a full-fledged community, almost entirely male except for one woman, a Swedish stewardess
known as ‘The Lady of the Lake’. The community organised a trade system to
ensure that everybody had the needed supplies of food, water … and other types of drink. Captain Kensett, of British vessel Port Invercargill,
calculated that 1.5 million empty beer bottles were dumped in the lake. The Bitter Lake residents had other ways to
pass the time. They organised football matches on the deck
of the largest ships, along with sailing races, waterskiing events and even movie nights,
hosted by different ships in turn. In 1968 the Bitter Lakers even held their
own mini Olympic Games. The event was comprised of 14 sports, including
high jump, archery, shooting, and water polo. In case you wonder who got the most medals,
it was the Polish team. The Germans came in second, and the British
came in third. After a couple of years, the shipping companies
opted to moor the vessels in groups. The crews began to shrink, and by Christmas
1969, just 50 ships remained. The following year, Nasser died, but it took
several more years for the Canal to be cleared of all the mines, sunken vessels and other
detritus. It finally reopened in 1975, and the Yellow
fleet was free to go, although after eight years, only two ships were still seaworthy. Strange how a war that lasted only six days
would cause a small fleet to endure eight years of a bizarre and static Odyssey. The Future of the Canal
The Suez Canal has enjoyed increased traffic in the early 2010s, with roughly 50 ships
passing through its waters every day. Shipping tolls allowed Egypt to rake in around
$5 billion annually, but the canal was hampered by a relatively narrow width and shallow depth,
which are insufficient to accommodate two-way traffic from modern tanker ships. In August 2014, Egypt’s Suez Canal Authority
announced an ambitious plan to deepen the canal and create a new 35km lane branching
off the main channel. The work, now completed, is projected to increase
annual revenue to $13 billion per year by 2023. The geopolitics of the area are unstable,
to say the least, but it seems like for the time being the Canal is set to thrive. The risks of silting, neglect, abandonment
or shut down are off the table, and traffic across the Canal will increase as Asian markets
continue to grow. Before I leave, a question for you: as De
Lesseps said ‘no merci’ to the Statue of Liberty, whose gigantic Statue would you
like to see at the entrance of the Canal?

100 thoughts on “The Suez Canal: Foundation, Crisis and Beyond

  1. If I had to choose, I would put a statue memorializing the 125K workers who lost their lives while digging the canal.
    They are the forgotten heroes of the canal.

  2. I vote for Pharoah Senausret III, Pharoah Necho II, King Darius I, Pharoah Ptolemy II Philadelphus, Emperor Trajan, Amro Ibn Elass, Ferdinand Marie de Lesseps, Paul-Adrien Bourdaloue, Said Pasha, and Napoleon III standing next side by side each other looking over the canal of their dreams.

  3. Can you do a video on the French in Indochina? How they got in, the special .relationship with the Japanese, and end their less than inspirational ejection by the Viet Minh.

  4. A very good review of an important world landmark. Don't put up anything at the start of the canal.

  5. A statue of a man leaning on a shovel looking downward at the task at hand. (UK)

  6. LMFAO BC or CE. I was trying to remember the month of the year it was implemented and completed. WOW, Simon, you really showed your respect for us there, brother haha

  7. whoever does the editing on these videos should find a new job my 3yo could do a better job

  8. Great video and great narrator. Mind you I heard that the main reason the British/French failed was the IMF cutting funds. Thanks America…

  9. l say old man….You have a wild hair hanging out of your left eye brow. and it is very easy to see on a 5K monitor …Very rude l must say…Please do something about that by the next video….Rite cherro 0,yes thanks for the History of that little creek over there somewhere…Very much…lol's From you guess it Kentucky USA………………………………………………………………………………………………………….!

  10. A very big statue of…" Benedict Arnold"…Cause it would be more fitting of the s$it that went on there……Guess what l win the big gold ring or the big cigar…Or a kick in the ass for thinking like this….l will let u,all choose….?

  11. Operations Nimbus Star/Nimbus Moon/Nimrod Spar in 1975 involved the clearing of 7,500 pieces of unexploded ordnance from the canal proper and 1,000 from the harbors, anchorages and basins out side the canal. Including about 375 rockets, 450 anti-tank mines, 600 projectiles, 825 mortars, 825 anti-personnel mines, a small number of bombs and over 1,100 bomblets.

    By the end of that cleaning effort I recon that the Suez Canal was cleaner and safer than US harbors.

  12. You got Bartholdi in but not Pearson. Impressive. Still love the work Simon, but we've grown to expect higher standards from the best Youtube host 🙂

  13. Simon,

    You stated that the Suez runs north to south. But actually the water in the canal flows South to North.

  14. Can we get some geographics on the 7 Ancient Wonders, Petra, Parthenon, Pantheon, Roman Forum, Hadrian's Library etc. In terms of topic, Geographics is definitely my favourite Simon Whistler channel although no one beats Business Blaze Simon.

  15. Tuscan general, never really saw himself as Corsican. Tuscan family, immigrant to genoa and then this forever genoan island was stolen by France… and the rest is history.
    Tuscan first, Italian as a generalization and French by career.

  16. 1,5 million when Egypts population was at 6 million, that would be more or less every single able bodied man in at least one shift. More like many short shifts with maybe 1/4 (?) taking part. That would then be a more common experience than say ww1 for Britons?

  17. The ten meter difference obtained between Med and Red Seas wasn’t simply a mathematical mistake. The Battle of the Nile had sunk the French vessel carrying the survey equipment. The scientists then made new equipment, using only local resources, and the gear was crude,never calibrated, causing the unfortunate mistake. NEVER skimp the details of history, turns information into propaganda.

  18. This sounds controversial but if I was Hitler I would have seized the Suez canal and established a colossus of an oil company to manipulate the entire world with for the next 80 years.

  19. Simon, thanks for the geography lesson. I remember the 6 Day War, and even wrote a not-so-good song about it. In my US school, Geography was a rather scatter-shot subject, and didn't teach anything about the middle east except the names of the countries.

  20. "Cholera-riddled ditch digger contemplates another shovel-full"
    -Statue title (Your imagination shall create the pose)

  21. All water connected to the ocean is the same level so how could they have thought the red was higher?

  22. Christ, are there any channels on YouTube that aren’t presented by Simon Whistler?

  23. Can you point your camera a bit higher? I can't see everything of your beautiful skull.

  24. Dag Hammarskjöld – nice subject being FN secretery quite long and being only die on his post…… so far. ?

  25. I think I gigantic statue of the Simon would be appropriate. It would symbolise his seemingly unnatural ability to be in all places and everywhere at once. The sun glinting of his bald pate and his benevolent smile beaming down reassuring the world that no matter where you are and in whatever far flung nation you find yourself in the Simon is ubiquitous and all knowing. ALL HAIL THE SIMON.

  26. When the Brits and French unite under a cause you know you did something seriously wrong.

  27. A statue of Senausret III at one end should mark the start of the dream and project covering thousands of years and at the other end there should be one depicting a humble worker in modern gear respecting all those who worked and died on the project before it's final success.

  28. You should have mentioned HMS Newport the ship that jumped the que on opening day, very funny story!

  29. ? So you're saying that there really was a place called Palestine once upon a time? 11:20

  30. Do a geographic's on st Augustine fl usa please. Also love the channels keep up the brilliant work.

  31. I heard about a conspiracy theory surrounding the Six Day War.

    Is it true that Israel knowingly attacked a U.S. navel ship called USS Liberty? If it's true, you should do a video about it.

  32. Great video, could you guys do a similar history of the Panama Canal and also perhaps the Bering Strait?

  33. Best after work documentary channel to watch ! Education and Relaxation at the same time. Thanks so much

  34. While everyone pulling their support from the dam project wasn't nice, the nationalization of the canal was practically illegal, as the egyptian government never had more than 44% of the shares they were now basically stealing the profit from the investment of other people

  35. You didn’t mention that the opera Aida was commissioned and written by Verdi in honor of the opening of the canal in 1870

  36. I would like to see a 300 feet tall Simon Whistler statue. All metal clad with a head that was polished daily. So that when the sun hit it you could see that beautiful bald head from miles away. 🙂

  37. You mean the marlboro canal. The sheer amount of cigarette i tossed around there is ridiculous.

  38. I am so confused. How the hell did this canal "connects the hemispheres"? Northern and southern hemisphere? Like it made it easier to get to Australia? Because everything else listed on that trade route made easier is in the same hemisphere as most of Europe.

    Also the English can cross from Eastern to Western hemisphere whenever they freaking want.

  39. We should have a statue of Drogba Africa's greatest hero when he made the winning PK against Bayern

  40. This is why Britain didn't help America in the Vietnam war not long after this. USA were like "Britain please help us, we're stuck in the jungle" and we were like "Suez???"

  41. France: We will build a canal in Suez
    Britain: No you won't
    France: builds canal
    Britain: shocked Pikachu face

  42. …amazing video, I enjoyed it much…especially @ around 5:31 you said 'Bourladoue'…when it is written Bourdaloue. My thinking is that you purposely place these tiny 'des fautes' to see actually how many of us are truly listening….

  43. Wow, I never knew the Ancient Egyptians had their own version of the canal even though it was quite different than the modern version. Simon does a great job ensuring I learn something new every day!

  44. @Geographics, at 1:28 there is a short loss of voice over which makes the following sentence a little harder to understand if you are not already familiar with the subject matter.

  45. Have been binge watching your videos across your multiple channels lately. Would love to see a geographic's episode on Poveglia island.

  46. It's weird to hear about the Brits pissing the world off post wwII. Normally it's the Americans who everyone hates

  47. It wasn't a "Six Day War," you know? It was a "One Day War," with an additional 5 days of mopping up routed units. Yup, Israel won that war in less than 24 hours. They bombed entire air forces out of existence, then they owned the skies. After that, they went to work on supply convoys, general interdiction and eliminating the combat effectiveness of all opposing forces. While america was being embarrassed by the North Vietnamese Air Force half a world away, the Israeli's were doing the exact opposite. Without the use of air-to-air missiles, the Israelis maintained total air supremacy over the muslim nations, armed with Soviet hardware, losing more jets to attrition than to enemy action.
    Not a bad effort at all, considering no nation on earth expected Israel to survive. Even the usa had denied a number of Israeli requests for materiel aid, telling Levi Eshkol that the usa had to consider its future in the region. Ie: A future without Israel, where america had to start making nice with the muslim nations.

  48. I would like to see a giant statue of Kress von Kressenstein at one end of the canal…a name like that deserves such a monument

  49. About like our country…
    The good old days… plenty of virtually free labor…

  50. Statues at either side of the entrance to the canal should be of Darth Vader and Darth Sideous, each a thousand feet tall. Can you imagine archealogogists many hundreds of years from now scratching their heads and saying to each other "who the f**k ARE these people"? Lol.. 😉

  51. I don’t think there should be a statue of one person but a monument to the people’s who brought it to fruition. Workers, diplomats, fund raisers, etc. JMO

  52. Isn't herodutus the same dude that has us convinced the Israelites were slaves in Egypt?

  53. So basically British, French and Israelis trying to invade the Suez Canal made USA and the Soviet Union work together on a big "WTF you idiots are doing"?

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