2022 Undergraduate Research Showcase


Suez Canal

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Kirsten Davis


The Suez Canal is a waterway that cuts across the Isthmus of Suez in Egypt connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Indian Ocean via the Red Sea, making it the shortest route between Asia and Europe. The canal stretches 120 miles and it separates most of Egypt from the Sinai Peninsula. Construction began in early 1859 at the northernmost end of the canal in Port Said. There were roughly 1.5 million people who worked on the project and most of them were slaves. It is hypothesized that the death toll is in the tens of thousands while working on the project due to cholera and other causes. At the time of the Suez Canal construction, several rebellions in Egypt fought against colonial rule causing political unrest in and around the region, delaying the construction of the canal. Political problems, combined with a lack of construction ingenuity and technology, caused the project to cost double its original price. The Suez Canal took 10 years to complete with a cost of $100 million and was officially opened on November 17, 1869.

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