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Suez Canal History and Facts for Kids


A canal is a waterway that was constructed by humans for the purpose of transportation water, people, ships and/or goods. A canal that carries water is not as commonly referred to as a canal, but rather as an aqueduct. These can be at ground level, or the water can travel in a trough brought up off the ground by a long [short or tall] wall that carries the water in an elevated stream along its top. These were used by ancient Romans in Italy who wished to carry water down to towns, cities and villages from mountaintops where the water was purified and drinkable. A canal that carries ships or people is typically larger, deeper and wider than an aqueduct, and it is dug into the earth. These canals were not given the responsibility of needing to carry potable water, and so their water could be saltwater, if connecting to bodies of saltwater. The water could also be from a nearby stream, lake, or otherwise non-potable water source.

2. Where Is The Suez Canal?

The Suez Canal is located in Egypt. It runs in a north-south direction, almost completed straight, dissimilar to the Panama Canal, which winds its way through various terrains in the jungles of Panama.

3. How Long Is The Suez Canal?

The Canal, which was completed in 1869, was 102 miles long and 26 feet deep. It has undergone many updates and expansions since its initial opening, and as of 2010 the canal was 120 miles long and 79 feet deep. The canal contains no locks or grade changes, as the Mediterranean Seaand Red Sea were both at almost the same level, so that when the two connected, there was no need for any water level changes in either direction. This makes for an efficient travel time of only about 11 to 16 hours between the two bodies of water.

4. Which Two Bodies Of Water Does The Suez Canal Connect?

The Suez Canal connects the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. It allows shipping traffic to take place between Europe and the Middle Eastand Asia without the need to circumvent the entire continent of Africa.

5. How Long Did It Take To Build The Suez Canal?

Parts of the Suez Canal was built over and over again by ancient rulers of Egypt, beginning with Senausert III, the Pharaoh in 1874 BC. From that point it was re-dredged several times under various names, including the Canal of Sity I in 1310 BC, the Canal of Nkhaw in 610 BC, the Canal of Darius I in 510 BC, the Canal of Ptolemy II in 285 BC, the Canal of the Romans in 117 AD and the Canal of Amir El-Moemeneen in 640 AD.

The modern canal was begun on April 25, 1859. Work continued until 1863, and was halted until 1864. Work commenced again and On November 17, 1869, the canal was opened for international trade and navigation.

6. When Was The Suez Canal Completed?

The Suez Canal was completed on November 17, 1869, after ten years of work by the Universal Suez Ship Company.

7. Why Was The Suez Canal Built?

The Suez Canal was built in order to connect the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea. This allowed transport between, most notably, Europe and Asia, without the need for shipping barges and other vessels to travel around the entire continent of Africa.

8. Why Was The Suez Canal Important?

The Suez Canal was important because it shortened the distance for trade routes between Europe and the Middle East and Asia. This allowed for trade of goods that were previously very expensive due to the high costs involved in shipping goods around Africa to or from Europe and Asia.

9. How Did The Suez Canal Affect Egypt?

The Suez Canal is one of the most important revenue generators for Egypt, along with tourism oil and gas exports. In 2010, the reported revenue generated from shipping through the Suez Canal reached US$412.8 million, an increase from revenue in 2009, which fell due to the global economic crisis. The canal currently transports over 4 million barrels of crude oil daily, which is equivalent to almost 5% of the global output of oil.

10. Who Built The Suez Canal?

The Universal Suez Ship Company was in charge of the most recent building of the Suez Canal, which took place from 1859 to 1869.

11. Who Owns The Suez Canal?

The canal was originally majority-owned by France, as many other countries did not have an interest in owning share of the canal. At this time, the canal was operated by the Universal Company of the Suez Maritime Canal, and Egyptian company. In 1875, the Egyptian government sold their shares to Britain to save themselves from financial debt. For years the canal was ruled as an international neutral shipping zone under British and French rule. In 1956, the Suez Crisis took place, after which the Suez Canal Company was put in place to look after the canal, and France and Britain were no longer majority shareholders in its ownership.

12. What Was The Total Or Final Construction Cost Of The Suez Canal?

The final cost of the Suez Canal was approximately US$100 million.

13. What Was The First Ship To Use The Canal?

The first ship to pass through the Suez Canal was on November 17, 1869. The yacht, Aigle sailed into the canal, followed by the British P&O barge, Delta. The event was followed by an enormous celebrating by Egypt and France, the culmination of ten years of engineering and construction feats that far surpassed anything that had been completed by Egypt until that time.