Talk:Suez Canal

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Height Difference between Mediterranean and Red sea[edit]

Under Environmental impact, it is stated that the difference is 1,2 m (which seems unrealistic too me), but I found this study: which says that it is only 0,035m. Can someone please look into the matter and fix it. Other information in the article also seems to be indicating that the height difference in the sees are marginal. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 4rdi (talkcontribs) 10:33, 10 February 2011 (UTC)


>Invasive species originated from the Red Sea and introduced into the Mediterranean by the construction of the canal have become a major component of the Mediterranean ecosystem, and have serious impacts on the Mediterranean ecology, endangering many local and endemic Mediterranean species.- "I would believe the impact is probaly well beyond just the region of the Mediterranean. More than likely Gobal in scope?" Especially since what we have learned about "Greywater discharges." see also:[1] [[Pollution]

Raymond Dailey [2]


Didn't the egyptian govt (viveroy Pasha) hold 44% of the stock? So if GB bought it, they still didnt have control of the company? Ksenon 02:25, 9 November 2005 (UTC)

May be I am having a bad day, but I still couldn't tell who currently own the canal? Is it mentioned in the article?
Private corporation?


Shouldn't the "C" in canal be capitalized in the title? It is in the first sentence. Tuf-Kat

Yes it should. I'll fix it. --mav


It would probably be a good idea for someone to note (and maybe write an article on?) the Constantinople Convention of 1888. This convention basically said that the Suez Canal couldn't be closed by anybody, and I remember reading that it precipitated one of the major causes of the 1956 Suez Crisis/War/Incident/Massively-Violent-Activity (just to cover all of the opinion bases...:-)). Even better if someone could find the text of it, and whether or not it's still in force (legally, if not practically).

Oh yeah. How much does passage through the Canal cost? -Penta 19:48, 7 Dec 2003 (UTC)

Found the text, added it as an external link. -Itai 12:24, 21 Jan 2004 (UTC)

I'm having the hardest time finding out whether the French company called Suez (NYSE: SZE) (See [3] for details) really is the present-day embodiment of the original Compagnie Universelle du canal maritime de Suez - Suez Canal Company. It claims ([4]) that it is, although not in so many words. Any thoughts? -Itai 12:24, 21 Jan 2004 (UTC)

It probably is the present-day embodiment, but it would not have anything to do with the current management of the canal: as the whole issue about the Suez Crisis in 1956 (1/2) was that Egypt nationalised the canal and now controls it. --mgream 22:35, 7 Oct 2004 (UTC)

This might provide the tying specifics you want: an Adobe document "Reference Document 2006" on the Suez website. Go to the top of last page (p. 28), 5.1.5 "Significant events" (See [5] for details). --PamIAm 16:42, 28 July 2007 (UTC)

The canal has no locks because there is no sea level difference. The canal allows ships with up to 15 meters (50 feet) of draft to pass, and improvements are planned to increase this to 22 m (72 feet) by 2010 to allow supertanker passage. Presently supertankers can offload part of their load onto a canal-owned boat and reload at the other end of the canal. There is one shipping lane with several passing areas.

Would that be enough for a French or US aircraft carrier to use the canal?

  • That doesn't sound locks? That can't be right. Is it? Kingturtle 03:48, 18 Feb 2004 (UTC)
There are no locks, numerous references will tell you this. --mgream 22:35, 7 Oct 2004 (UTC)
  • US aircraft carriers can already fit through the Suez Canal, and do so. The USS George Washington exited the canal on the Red Sea side this week. Cyrius 07:41, 20 Feb 2004 (UTC)


The link to "Said" goes to a page that doesn't seem to be the right one.iFaqeer (Talk to me!) 21:27, Nov 15, 2004 (UTC)


Please clarify:

This is a direct quote from the Encyclopaedia of the Orient:

13th century BCE: A canal is constructed between the delta of the Nile and the Red Sea. For the following centuries, the canal was only partially maintained.

8th century CE: The canal is no longer maintained, and soon becomes unnavigable.

1854: By a French initiative, the viceroy of Egypt, Said Pasha, decides for the project of building a canal that would connect the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea.

1858: La Compagnie Universelle du Canal Maritime de Suez is formed to construct the canal. The company, which was owned by both French and Egyptian interests, should both build the canal, and administer it for the following 99 years. After this time, the ownership would pass over to the Egyptian government.

1859 April 25: Constructions begin.

Why hasn't Wikipedia mentioned this? Anti-Egyptian (and I really dislike saying this, but... ) prejudice??? Please refer to Origins of chess and Great Pyramid of Giza: Labor for more information.

Wikipedia certainly cannot claim that the ancient Egyptians were incapable of such a engineering feat, given a monument as extraordinary as the Great Pyramid of Giza, constructed more than one thousand years prior to a mere canal!

Ancient "Suez Canal"[edit]

It's my understanding that the ancient "Suez Canal" connected the Nile with the Red Sea. The Persians on orders from Emperor Darius the conqueror built the Suez Canal giving access to the Persian navy to the Mediterranean.

logologist 14:33, 7 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Please don't feel embarrassed by the following. (I am fortunate to having had contact with some very bright and exceedingly experienced historians in my lifetime who informed me of the following. Yes, you may declare the above, and it is a very common mistake.)
Ancient manuscripts refer to the "Mediterranean Sea" as the "Red Sea." Exactly why this is so is uncertain. For some reason or another, ancient references to both seas in many instances carried the same name. Even the Gulf of Suez is referred to as the "Red Sea" in some instances! However, I'm not an historian, and my memory fails at recollecting precise references for you. Sorry.
It was Necho II (610 - 595 BC) who dug the canal from the Nile to the Gulf of Suez.
The use of the term "Red Sea" in the article, Suez Canal, is only to appease those who want to claim this technicality in the ancient documents discovered (from the 13th century BC) of the canal's origin. They prefer to state that some other canal was constructed. However, try as energetically as we may, we always fail at locating any evidence of any other canal which these ancient documents must be referring to. Nevertheless, they prefer to argue that such evidence may show up some time in the future. So, we publicly leave the term as it is, yes probably in error, but maybe not actually so. [Note that the original article text has been changed to reflect this.]
If you'd like a good map to reference, here is a really good one I have located on the internet, but it takes a few minutes to download. So be patient! [6] -- Roylee
The Egyptians wouldn't have needed to dig a canal to get to the Mediterranean Sea. All they needed to do was sail downstream. logologist 21:24, 7 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Egyptians to Mediterranean Sea? Yes. West African Saharans to eastern "states?" No.
The West African Saharans were the major shipbuilders of the era, not the ancient Egyptians. But, both populations were African. Perhaps the initial motivation to dig a Suez canal from the Mediterranean Sea to the Gulf of Suez was of West African origin??? Perhaps the actual dig was a joint effort???
Perhaps the Phoenicians were West Saharan Africans??? According to Phoenicia: Phoenician Merchantry, Egyptian pharoah Necho II sent a Phoenician expedition out to circumnavigate Africa. Why would the Phoenicians oblige to an Egyptian pharoah? Maybe because Egypt dug the canal for them? Seems reasonable, but we'll never know. -- Roylee

Roylee (talk · contribs) has made a number of contentious edits into articles such as Mende language and Shipbuilding that have since been reverted. Someone more knowledgeable in this area may want to verify the information about the 1st Suez Canal. Cheers, BanyanTree 00:12, 22 Apr 2005 (UTC)


I'm rather surprised that there isn't a simple Facts section containing information such as length, width, depth of water, etc. Perhaps someone familiar with these values can put such a section together? -Ayeroxor 17:32, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

Trivia sections are discouraged, but an infobox would be good. {{Infobox River}} maybe? Jake the Editor Man (talk) 21:37, 16 January 2008 (UTC)


The article says "The Panama Canal has a current draft of 12 metres as set out in the Panamax specifications." Aren't we talking about the Suez Canal here? Does the Suez meet the Panamax specifications? Clarkbhm 19:02, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

Nevermind. Someone removed it. Clarkbhm 04:45, 25 February 2006 (UTC)

grammar clarification[edit]

The modern suez canal, paragraph 4, sentence 5. " . . . British troops had moved in to protect it while they newly settled on civil war torn Egypt in 1882." I'm not sure what is intended here, so I can't make a specific suggestion, but this sentence should be fixed. Actually, I think this whole section could use an edit. I found it to be one of the most confusing Wikipedia articles I've read. Again, however, I don't have the expertise on this topic to try tackling it myself, so this is just a suggestion.

Nile / Suez Canal article merge[edit]

I do not agree that the articles should be merged: both of the canals have distinct and detailed histories in themselves, and although some relationship exists between them, it is not sufficient to join them under a single banner. For example, this would be like saying that since the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Harbour Tunnel are both transits across the harbour, that they should be joined into a single article about Sydney Harbour crossing, which would not make sense - although it does make sense that each individual article describes something about its relationship to the other. It's also slightly annoying that the user who proposed this merge did so without providing any justification. I call upon the user to provide a justification, otherwise I suggest that the merge proposal be reverted within 7 days. mgream 08:52, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

  • I have no feelings on the matter. My motivation was that there is no current link to Nile Canal, and someone who is not an expert on the subject might not find the information included in that article. --Grocer 20:51, 28 February 2006 (UTC)


Are you sure the length of the canal is 164 km? According to the Encyclopedia Britannica it's 101 miles (163 km ) [7] 17:42, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

BBC claims that it is 192 km long: . Can anyone explain this discrepancy? -Pgan002 03:44, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
Take a look at [8]. It seems that various improvements (by-passing Port Said and increasing the radius of bends, etc.) have increased the length of the canal over time. The link has a table of lengths at different dates. ThoughtIdRetired (talk) 23:10, 4 December 2014 (UTC)

Environmental issues[edit]

Are there any environmental issues raised by the connection of the two different seas? -- Beland 22:01, 3 June 2006 (UTC)

From the page on the Mediterranean Sea:
The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 created the first salt-water passage between the Mediterranean and Red seas. The Red Sea is higher than the Eastern Mediterranean, so the canal serves as a salt-water river that pours Red Sea water into the Mediterranean. The Bitter Lakes, which are hypersaline natural lakes that form part of the canal, blocked the migration of Red Sea species into the Mediterranean for many decades, but as the salinity of the lakes gradually equalized with that of the Red Sea, the barrier to migration was removed, and plants and animals from the Red Sea have begun to colonize the eastern Mediterranean. The Red Sea is generally saltier and more nutrient-poor than the Atlantic, so the Red Sea species have advantages over Atlantic species in the salty and nutrient-poor Eastern Mediterranean. The construction of the Aswan High Dam across the Nile River in the 1960s reduced the inflow of freshwater and nutrient-rich silt from the Nile into the eastern Mediterranean, which has made conditions there even more like the Red Sea. This species exchange is known as the Lessepsian Migration, after Ferdinand de Lesseps, the engineer who oversaw the canal's construction.
--Yuje 12:05, 10 July 2006 (UTC)

Suggestion: Take sea-level difference out[edit]

The texts says that the Suez Canals has no locks because there are no hills to climb (that's the right argumentation) and because there is no sea-level difference (wrong reasoning!). Since when is the sea-level at the other side of a continent, island, etc. lower or higher? So the Panama Canal has locks because there is a sea-level difference? Of course not, the Atlantic Ocean is not lower or higher than the Pacific Ocean, or vice versa. The same is valid for the Suez Canal the Red Sea can't be lower or higher than the Mediterraenean Sea. Water-level difference is only possible in inland waters. Janno 15:49, 14 June 2006 (UTC)

Water-level difference is only possible in inland waters. Not true -- this is from the Wikipedia article on sea level: Mean sea level does not remain constant over the surface of the entire earth. For instance, mean sea level at the Pacific end of the Panama Canal stands 20 cm higher than at the Atlantic end. unfutz 05:01, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

You can theoretically have different seal levels at different ends of the canal, if the high tides are at different times. This is precisely what happens in the English Channel. High tides arriving from the west are at different times to those arriving via the North Sea, resulting in a tidal race.

The Mediterranean has virtually no tides, it is “nearly” a land-locked lake, the only outlet is the straits of Gibraltar and they are relatively narrow.
The Red Sea is long and thin, and so probably has minimal tides.

Can anybody comment on how big the tides are at either end, and whether there is a flow? It may be so low that it is overwhelmed by the currents caused by passing ships. TiffaF 16:10, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

The concept of "sea level" (at least, the general, common one) should not be used when speaking about water flow over geographical distances. That is: a sea level of 0 at location A and a sea level of 1 (meters, say) at location B does NOT mean that a straight pipe connecting them will have water flowing from B to A. If you don't understand that, then you need to think more like a sailor (or oceanographer) and less like a gardener (or child in a bathtub). See article on Geoid and links there. (talk) 14:46, 29 May 2015 (UTC)

Scale of cost overruns[edit]

The article states:

the final cost was more than double the original estimate.

On the other hand Cost overrun states:

Spectacular examples of cost overrun are the Suez Canal with 1,900 percent.

So what were cost overruns - x2 or x20 ? This is pretty big difference. Taw 10:31, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

impossible facts[edit]

deleted: "Egyptians were also forced to work on the canal, 125,000 [citation needed] of whom perished due to malnutrition, fatigue and disease, especially cholera."

if 30,000 egyptians were forced to work on the canal, it's impossible that 125,000 died; in any case a figure this high seems extremely unlikely. Benwing 05:05, 21 October 2006 (UTC)

See #120000 died and -Pgan002 03:01, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

120000 died[edit]

BBC claims that 120000 people died in constructing the canal - -Pgan002 03:02, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

I have just come upon the so-called Classic Encyclopedia, which is the out-of-copyright 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, at [9]. This says that one ancient source claims that 120,000 Egyptians died during construction of the ancient canal, that is, not the modern one. If this is correct, the BBC must have been guilty of a bit of very slapdash journalism. I doubt if so many men also died in the 19th century construction - it seems a huge number, and could hardly have been the same number that the ancient source claims.
The quote is "...The channel of this canal is still traceable in parts of the Wadi Tumilat, and its direction was frequently followed by the engineers of the freshwater canal. Seti's canal appears to have fallen into decay or to have been too small for later requirements, for Pharaoh Necho (609 B.C.) began to build another canal; possibly his chief object was to deepen the channel between the Heroopolite Gulf and the Red Sea, then probably silting up. Necho's canal was not completed - according to Herodotus 120,000 men perished in the undertaking. Darius (520 B.C.) continued the work of Necho...."
By the way, from this article and the discussion, I found the route of the ancient canal rather confusing, but the 1911 text says that the Gulf of Suez extended north to the Bitter Lakes in those times, and the canal then went east to west to join the Nile delta. Is this correct? Then the present fresh water canal followed this Wadi Tumilat ancient route, more or less, bringing water for the modern construction. Patche99z 10:55, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
the british have acted toward the french like dicks from the very beginning of this affair until the end in 1956 with the crisis where they suddenly left the battlefield without warning the french nor the israeli. the british were jealous of this french achievement. a must see great documentary on this matter -not the usual BBC propaganda docs claiming the english invented everything!- is "Durchbruch bei Suez" by Axel Engstfeld (2006), international title is something like "the suez canal". Lesseps answered the british using the corvée as an excuse, that the egyptian workers were paid better than in egypt and the british were using their own 8-years old children like slaves in leeds!! (de lesseps biograph) Paris By Night 16:21, 18 July 2007 (UTC)

Not that Paris by Night is biased at all. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:47, 26 January 2012 (UTC)


Map of Suez Canal area is too busy. Reader should have immediate focus at canal. Details should be reserved for article on Egypt. See discussion at Image talk:Egypt-region-map-cities.gif. algocu 20:05, 11 March 2007 (UTC)

Environmental impact - fresh water[edit]

I seem to recall hearing that the fresh water canal running west to east from the Nile to the Suez Canal was constructed at the same time as the Suez Canal to provide water for the workers, and that the present fresh water canal running parallel to the Suez Canal (on its west side) was a part of that construction. These fresh water canals have had a major (positive) impact on the area, allowing people to live and farm along the Suez Canal, and providing water for the towns of Suez, Ismailia and perhaps Port Said. So the effect of the Canal is much wider than the passage of shipping and its commercial effects. Can a paragraph about this be included? I could write one, much as I have here, but this is from my memory of many years ago, and I lack references or hard facts, so I would rather leave it to someone who really knows the area. What do people think? Patche99z 12:24, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

Repair by Necho, Darius I and Ptolemy[edit]

As I type this, the section headed 'Repair by Necho, Darius I and Ptolemy' begins:

It later fell into disrepair, and according to the Histories of the Greek historian Herodotus, about 600 BC, Necho II undertook re-excavation but did not complete it. The canal was finally completed by Darius I of Persia,

This is immediately after a statement indicating that the evidence for an ancient canal from the Med to the Red is poor. Obviously if the canal was probably not built in the first place, it can't later fall into disrepair!

The Darius I article seems to indicate that the canal he built was from Suez to the Nile, which is not really the path of the Suez Canal.

I am not familiar enough with history to make the appropriate corrections but this article needs to be improved so that it makes sense as a single narrative. 00:33, 27 June 2007 (UTC)


I've dabbed the page as contradictory because of two contradictions made of the rest of the article in the environmental impacts section, namely that the Red Sea and Mediterranean have different sea levels and the percentage of world shipping passing through the canal mgekelly 03:27, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

I have sorted out the levels bit. The contradiction in the traffic is only 0.5% - does anyone care? Patche99z 16:03, 3 July 2007 (UTC)

repair by Napolean[edit]

It says that Napolean considered repairing the canal, but if this is the case, why would a difference in sea level scuttle the effort, as the canal would already exist. Shouldn't this read, Napolean considers _building_ a canal from the Red to Med? And not rebuilding/repairing the Nile-Red canal? (talk) 03:38, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

split ancient and modern[edit]

The ancient Suez canal should be in a separate article, they are not geographically close to each other, and run over vastly different routes. (talk) 03:39, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

The old canal should exist at Nile Canal (talk) 09:58, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

No. Wrong. The ancient canals and the Suez Canal are geographically close to each other when you look south of Lake Timsah. The routes almost intersect. They travel southward, parallel, together: They are not "vastly different."

The notion of waterways shipping between the Nile/Mediterranean and the Red Sea has historically consumed the efforts of leaders of Egypt, Ptolemaic Egypt, Persia, Islam, Shia Islam, Sunni Islam, Rome, and finally France and Britain. The Suez Canal has a rich history.

The ancient canals that were constructed were not fanatically dug lying west-east either. They steered south of Lake Timsah. Napolean found an ancient north-south canal that steered west toward the Nile ... perhaps the same work as Amr/Umar/Trajan's work (?). Later, another ancient north-south canal was discovered between Lake Timsah and the Bitter Lakes ... perhaps the earlier efforts of Necho or Darius (?).

There is much yet to be settled. Archaeologists today need to sort out all the details and deduce fact from fiction. Until then... Leave it as it is. (Kelvin)

—Preceding unsigned comment added by Kelvin Case (talkcontribs) 14:29, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

I agree with Kelvin - this should remain as one article. Incidentally, the reference Nile Canal redirects here. I will remove the tag from the article. Patche99z (talk) 13:23, 16 September 2008 (UTC)
Do the ancient canals link Suez (Al-Suways) to the Mediterranean Sea ? No! Considering canals linking the Nile to Suez and the one which links Port Said to Suez as a single canal is very illogic. Even the paths are near, you can not say they are unique. Do you consider parallel highways linking two big cities such as San Francisco and Los Angeles as a same one ???? (talk) 22:49, 23 December 2008 (UTC)

images / diagrams / photos of the ancient canal?[edit]

Ancient canal imagery? (talk) 03:40, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

Amnis Trajanus[edit]

Isn't the old canal Amnis Trajanus? (talk) 11:55, 7 August 2008 (UTC)


"Ships moored[clarify] at El Ballah during transit" -- why is there a clarify request there? The picture clearly shows ships at the side of the river tied to posts on land with mooring lines. There is nothing to clarify.

15:58, 10 October 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

Agreed — nothing to clarify. Tag removed. Dricherby (talk) 13:20, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

Article review & improvement[edit]

This article covers a vital topic. There is relatively little controversy about the canal and the article is stable. We should be able to bring it to Good Article or even Featured Article status. With a quick review, the worst problem I see is with the sourcing. It appears to rely heavily on the Encyclopedia Britannica, a tertiary source. It would be improved if we used more secondary sources. I'm sure there must be plenty available. My guess is that we could fix that easily by checking out a few books from the library and replacing the citations. I could do that if no one else is up for it. Before we send this to Peer Review, are there other obvious problems that we can identify and fix? ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:27, 6 November 2008 (UTC)

Needs clarification of obviously untrue assertions about the Constantinople Convention and rights of free passage. Since the policy has been violated on several occasions, the article needs explanations of the justifications used to blockade the canal or to bar passage. -LlywelynII (talk) 22:28, 29 January 2011 (UTC)


Extraordinary claims like [slave rape] need a citation.

When you see something like that, it's likely to be vandalism. In this case, it was added just hours before you spotted it. Good catch. ·:· Will Beback ·:· 21:03, 17 November 2008 (UTC)

Passage time[edit]

A snippet of information in an obituary yesterday [10] that possibly could be used somewhere. It says that he heard that was unofficial competition between the pilots to set the fastest passage through the canal. So he took MTB261 through the canal at 47 knots setting a record time of 2 hours 18 minutes which is believed to stand to this day. --jmb (talk) 10:24, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

Map of Gulf of Suez of 1856[edit]

The German map shows a road or path to Cairo ("Weg"), but not a canal, if you do not assume that the "Reservoir" north of Suez is meant to indicate a part of a canal. Although it is a nice old map, it contributes little to the article and might be deleted. --AHert (talk) 13:03, 1 May 2009 (UTC)

Nicely put, but...
Issue: "Weg von Cairo"?
Refute: Let us assume that this is a road. Then...
(1) Why would a cartographer drawing a topographic map draw only 1 road? Why did he not include any other roads nearby? Surely he must have had a reason.
(2) Why is your "road" drawn out of scale? At the very top lefthand corner, the originating cartographer drew very meticulously the scale of his map. So, why would he make your "road" about 30 feet wide? It would have been very easy for him to have drawn your "road" with a thinner line. Surely he must have had a reason.
(3) Topographic maps are not drawn with roads ... so prominently labeled as this cartographer does. So, why is this map an exception to the rule? Surely there must be a reason.
(4) "Weg" means land road? No, not necessarily. Venice, for example, has lots of what we could label with the same word, but they are not land roads. "Weg" could be interpreted as "route," and any route can be traveled by either land or water.
Notice too that this is a map of water depth (typically plumbed from a ship or large boat, using a sounding line). The German cartographer who created this map probably rowed his way, from Cairo, down the canal, and into the Gulf of Suez.
But, as stated in the article itself, the canal had previously been closed for political reasons. So, our German cartographer had to have a way to carry his boat over land in some spots along the way.
Consequently, the cartographer uses the word "Weg" to describe the route, rather than "Straße" or "Kanal," because the route is neither a complete "road" nor a complete "canal."
Kelvin Case (talk) 23:58, 5 May 2009 (UTC)
In those days, in Suez, there appears to have been no other destination than Cairo. The "Weg von Cairo" is rather exactly on the same line than the present Cairo - Suez Road and/or the 23 July Road. --AHert (talk) 15:29, 13 June 2009 (UTC)
"No destination other than Cairo?" My dear friend, without a doubt, you are not Muslim, and probably neither Egyptian.
Muslims have occupied both Egypt and Cairo for almost 1 1/2 millennia (please refer to Egypt#Religion). Numerous mosques were built throughout Egypt, including Cairo, since around AD 600. Cairo has a proud nickname: the "city of a thousand minarets!"
The people of the city of Suez proudly boast that they are "a way station for Muslim pilgrims traveling to and from Mecca" (please refer to the top of the Suez web page, because that very proud distinction has entered into even the web pages of Wikipedia!).
So, may I ask, where is the road from Cairo through Suez and to Mecca? Mecca, even "in those days," was a much more popular and important destination than Cairo could ever pretend to be — and ever since around AD 600!
If your line actually is a "road" from Cairo to Suez, then there also should be another line denoting the same "road" continuing away from Suez in a southeasterly direction along to Mecca!
But there is no such road drawn there, despite its immense popularity and importance. Consequently I again cannot agree with your argument.
Sorry. Kelvin Case (talk) 09:45, 17 June 2009 (UTC)
Maps distinguished between roads (whatever that may have meant) and caravan routes. Petermann's map does not show caravan routes, and the way from Suez to Mecca was either by ship or via a caravan route. The maps drawn by Jacques-Marie Le Père of Napoleons's crew show both, the road to Cairo and the caravan trails to Syria and to Arabia.

Various Details and Modifications[edit]

I made quite a number of modifications in the article and would mention only a few: Lesseps obtained licences (firman) from Said Pascha on 30 November 1854 and (in more detail) on 5 January 1856. Negrelli died on 1 October 1858. The Suez Canal Company was established only on 15 December 1858 and work started only on 25 April 1859. Thus, Negrelli had no position whatsoever in the company. He was a member of the Société d'Études and their surveying expedition in 1847 and he was a member in the international commission called by Lesseps to produce an opinion on the idea to dig the canal in general and on Linant's and Mougel's plans elaborated so far in Egypt. The first President of the company was Lesseps, the first director of works (or whatever his title may have been) was Mougel, later replace by Voisin. I have never heard about Mr. Butterworth in this connection.

Ismailia is only the capital of Ismailia district which I think is not worth to be mentioned in the intro.

Under today's rules, there is only Ballah-Bypass and Great Bitter Lake where ships may pass each other (and in the double canal entry in Port Said).

There appears to be quite a lot of mythology about the ancient canal and about the extension of the Red Sea. The Hatshepsut relief appears to be the only (!) hint of an early canal to be found in Egypt. Herodot does not mention any earlier canal, but later, Diodor, Strabo, and Plinius do, so the case seems to be settled for many writers.

There is a lot of talk about a canal further north, but so far I have not seen anything about its exact location. J.M. Le Père's report and drawings show remnants of the old canal almost all the way from Bilbeis through the Wadi Tumilat passing the Timsah swamp (with no traces in the Bitter Lake area) and all the way down to "Soueys". In some parts, the Wadi seems so small that there really is not much room for two really different canals. Of course, Nile floods and time may have damaged parts of a canal, but then, it re-construction was more or less exactly on the same line as before. There appear to be theories about a canal from Daphne (further down the Pelusiac river) to Suez, leaving Timsah and the Bitter Lakes on the right side, but apparently there are no facts. I have not found out who started the talk (and why) of the Red Sea extending into the Bitter Lake and even to Timsah Lake. Napoleon himself (so they say) and his group found the relics of the old canal near Suez, where they would not have been if there would have been an extension of the Red Sea. Du Bois-Aymé, a colleague of Le Père, in his "Appendice au Mémoire sur les anciennes limites de la mer Rouge" is clear in saying that the Bitter Lakes were not part of the sea and the shells found there were sweet water shells. Historians seem to disregard geology. Ruins of Alexandria have been found under 6 m of sea water, and Le Père & Co. report traces of ancient ruins in Lake Menzaleh. So the whole delta appears to have subsided. In contrast, some historians believe that the Suez area has gone up. So far, I have not seen any geological view on that (except the article on Kafr Hassan Dawood saying that Wadi Tumilat has not changed during the last 3,000 years. I overlooked the granite stelae "on the Nile bank" which were of course on the canal between Pithom/Heroopolis and a point less than 10 km/7 mi north of Suez. Kabret is south of the Great Bitter Lake. The difference between the canals by Necho/Darius and by Ptolemy/Trajan appears to be that Ptolemy/Trajan started immediately below Cairo, since the Pelusiac river had been silted/displaced, and joined the old Bubastis canal or its alignment near Bilbeis. The Trajan part has, of course, been named amnis Trajanus.

Quite some mythology is surrounding the construction of the new canal (which was not a re-construction, because there was never ever a canal on this line). Negrelli's plans (see above). Present day people (correctly) imagine plans to be a heap of very technical and complex drawings. In contrast, I believe that in those days, the plan (plans??) of the canal dealt with the right alignment, i.e. at best showed a profile of the country and a map with the alignment. The cross-section of the canal was not a technical matter, but a purely commercial or political question: larger vessels = more draught = deeper canal = larger cross-section. The poor workers: they were very poor indeed and, according to Wilson, got a tiny little bit richer during the forced labour (corvée) which the British gov. called slavery, just to continue their pressures against the canal. After the corvée was stopped, the company did not find sufficent labour (because cotton prices had gone up after the US civil war), and Europeans from all over the Med had to be employed. At least, the article does not repeat the tale of thousands of people having died from cholera or during the work. So far. --AHert (talk) 15:22, 5 July 2009 (UTC)

free use / Constantinople Convention obviously untrue[edit]

The line in the beginning that goes "The canal may be used in time of war as in time of peace, by every vessel of commerce or of war, without distinction of flag." is not really true despite being in a treaty as this neutrality has been violated several times. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:30, 27 August 2009 (UTC)

Yeah. Current footnote claims Constantinople Convention is still in force, but obviously that doesn't square with Nasser's blocking the route generally or specifically against Israel. Article could definitely use more discussion of the violations and various justifications involved. -LlywelynII (talk) 22:25, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

further modifications[edit]

Napoleon and his expert crew discovered only one canal beginning right at Suez and later going through Wadi Toumilat. Herodot's tale of 120,000 perished: I lifted the exaggeration from the footnote to the text of the article for better NPOV (everybody keeps on quoting Herodot without any comment). Necho's oracle: again, everybody quotes it without reference to his battel with his colleague from Mesopotamia. I deleted Mehemet Ali having ordered the ancient canal closed: Some years prior to 1811, Napoleon's crew discovered traces, but not a canal which could be closed. If some spots of water were existing up to Kassassin, it would be difficult to consider them a canal. I put the Corvée in the text and tried to clarify the political context. I inserted the 1873 Constantinople Protocol on tonnage. --AHert (talk) 17:08, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

NPOV: French deserve more credit[edit]

once again something that is totally a french initiative and that the hole world is enjoying today, is being presented as a fake point of view, why lying ? does the egyptian are not making billions right now ? so tell the truth, the suez canal existed from the start to the end because of the french, of course lots of people participated but why can't you say that is mainly french —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:03, 10 November 2009 (UTC)

It was definitely not a French initiative, but very much the initiative of a single parson, namely Lesseps.
The article does not cover the period between Napoléon and the start of construction, when the idea of the canal was discussed by many persons, e.g. by a group consisting of Robert Stephenson, Paulin Talabot, Alois Negrelli (all of them mainly railway engineers) and other persons from across Europe. Robert Stephenson was against the canal, because he was interested in the railway Alexandria-Cairo-Suez. The British government was against the canal since Napoléon tried to interfere with the British trade with India and continued to be against it thereafter, also because of Stephenson's railway and because they were afraid that the route through the canal and the narrow Red Sea (not so easy for sailing ships) would interfere with their established sailing trade around the Cape (steamships just started in those days). The British opposition to the construction because of slavery was mere propaganda. The French government(s) stayed away from the project, having a sufficient amount of problems to deal with (e.g. 1848 Revolution, Crimean War etc.) and had no interest in creating difficulties with Britain.
Lesseps was French, but what mattered was his diplomatic experience in Egypt and above all his friendship with Sa'id Pasha and his determination to grasp the once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity and to push the project through a number of difficulties. Linant de Bellefonds happened to be French, but what mattered was his interest in the idea of a canal and his high level position in the Egyptian administration of canals, bridges and roads. The shareholders of the Suez Canal Company were mainly French, but only because investors from other countries were reluctant. Napoléon III of France only stepped in (reluctantly), because Lesseps had asked him and his wife Eugénie who was related to Lesseps. The canal was very much a one man show and again, the British government did not like the idea of being dependent on the behaviour of a single man. --AHert (talk) 09:31, 7 December 2009 (UTC)

Stray comment should be deleted from the article[edit]

At the end of the first paragraph in the section titled "Environmental Impact" a comment has been inserted into the article and should be deleted. Here is the last sentence of the paragraph followed by the comment: "This provided less natural dilution of Mediterranean salinity and ended the higher levels of natural turbidity, additionally making conditions more like those in the Red Sea. this is not correct." The words "this is not correct" do not belong in the article. If someone feels that the last sentence in the paragraph is incorrect, they should make that comment in the discussion page, not within the article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Chezchas (talkcontribs) 02:07, 9 October 2011 (UTC)

I agree and I removed it. Carmaskid (talk) 04:38, 17 October 2011 (UTC)
Well, someone reverted it with no explanation given, here. It would certainly have been more helpful to understand their reasoning. It seems to me that if the info is not correct, then they should fix it instead of adding a comment of that nature. I prefer to avoid an editing battle, so it would be helpful if an administrator took a look at this item.Carmaskid (talk) 02:24, 18 October 2011 (UTC)
I inquired about the reason to the person who did the revert, and learned that it was a simple mistake that happened while he was trying to fix something else. I believe the comment has been removed again.Carmaskid (talk) 01:05, 19 October 2011 (UTC)

Distance saving[edit]

Surely a key point about the Suez Canal is the distance saving made in various ocean passages. The only mention of this is the increase in Saudi Arabia to the USA (going round the southern end of Africa), derived from a study of piracy, giving a figure that is different to that on the Suez website. In the context of world trade, journeys like Shanghai to Rotterdam would be appropriate - there could be a modest list of such trade routes - but I guess the problem is finding a reliable source for this information. (Note that the distance saving varies depending on the departure point and destination - and the percentage saving also varies substantially.)ThoughtIdRetired (talk) 22:44, 11 May 2014 (UTC)


"... traffic was below expectations in the first two years ... "
"The canal had an immediate and dramatic effect on world trade."

These two statements do not seem very compatible. (talk) 20:05, 2 January 2015 (UTC)

The problem was that the canal could only really be exploited by steamships and those ships needed to be built before the traffic in the canal could get to its full potential. In 1871, 45 steamers were built in Clyde shipyards alone for Far Eastern trade - others would have been built in similar numbers in shipbuilding areas like Sunderland. In 1870, tea clippers in China were getting reduced freights (the price paid to transport a cargo) compared to the steamships that were available - and the steamships went through the Suez canal (which the sailing ships, in practical terms, could not do.).
This section probably needs a bit of polishing, but the basic facts are correct - as demonstrated by the desperate race by shipowners to add steamships to their fleet as soon as the canal had been opened. Something on the simple maths of a quicker passage could be included - a steamship could make more than one trip to China in a year. The only thing that is missing is a good explanation of how the opening of the canal coincided with a quantum leap in steamship efficiency - largely due to the Board of Trade allowing higher boiler pressures from about 1865, so making compound engines worthwhile.ThoughtIdRetired (talk) 23:52, 2 January 2015 (UTC)

Ballah by-pass / By-pass / Bypass / El Ballah[edit]

This article uses "Ballah by-pass", "Ballah By-pass", "Ballah Bypass", and "El Ballah" interchangeably. Which one should it be? Regards, Orange Suede Sofa (talk) 04:16, 5 March 2015 (UTC)

Factual Challenge.[edit]

The lede claims the width of the canal is 205 meters. This is wrong. The width of the canal varies. Obviously. I looked on Google Maps and find typical widths of 180 - 190 meters. My opinion is that the minimum width is the only applicable one. (A large average width doesn't do a ship any good if at some point the width is zero, for instance.) Also, a lot of the references, especially the ones to the 1911 Encycl. Britanica, are broken. (Not to mention citing the EB for anything other than historical interest). (talk) 15:11, 29 May 2015 (UTC)

Minimum width is indeed 205, mostly at least 225 but sometimes much more. Measured at 11 m depth. For the details see . But is not it obvious that "minimum" or "at worst" is meant when summarizing the parameters? (talk) 02:25, 15 August 2015 (UTC)

New Canal claims vs facts[edit]

So on 6 August 2015 the New Suez Canal was "opened". Let me say: Wikipedia must keep split the PR-humbug from the facts. To me, it reads like an advertising campaign (Egypt actually bought the cover of The Economist last week).

First of all, it is not a "new" canal. It's just that 13 of the Suez Canal now has a second lane. Distrust any outlet that says "new" in lowercase. "New" is the name, not the description.

Second, yes we can assume the 2nd lane is a waterway, by now. It is wet. However, it is not navigable. The Suez Canal Authority does not allow commercial (toll paying) shipping.

Third, the Egypt captain is Sisi. That is a dictator, and so WP should be sensitive to note dictatorial handling of the project.

Fourth. The story about being financed "by Egypt investors" to the sum of US$,00 requires more critical sources (for example, which Egypt investors have that amount?). Why not looked for foreign banks? (Where is Goldman Sacks?) How is that a smart financing setup at all?

In general, this "New Suez Canal" should be treated as a PR stunt, except for details critically sourced. -DePiep (talk) 18:17, 9 August 2015 (UTC)

I am not very optimistic, too, but internet-wise, there is new traffic system that "shall takes effect as of 06/08/2015" (sic), see Why do you think that "2nd lane [...] is not navigable [...and...] does not allow commercial (toll paying) shipping?" Any source? Today they say they have 56 ships meaning they were able to squeeze in more then 49 which was the old capacity according to wiki (and 49.5, the June average). Maybe they got small ships today, maybe they could use new canal some other way (park ships for bypass waiting) but it looks to me they are serious about using it. (talk) 03:47, 15 August 2015 (UTC)
Actually, I did not find plans and rules for the new lane in (the internet version of the (inserted by myself137.205.1.60 (talk) 23:33, 17 August 2015 (UTC)) ) "Rules of Navigation". (talk) 03:47, 15 August 2015 (UTC)
So we agree. No toll-paying ships use the new lane today. It is not in use. -DePiep (talk) 08:50, 15 August 2015 (UTC)
I do not agree. Still I see no document sayng it is not in use. And it is in use just now, four ships northbound are going in the new lane. [11] (Since google maps are outdated, the ships seems to go on dry.). Perhaps you can try any day about this time, it is 10:15 of London DST time, which I think is 9:15 GMT. (talk) 09:14, 19 August 2015 (UTC)
And I see no document sayng it even existsa. Only by govt bragging. -DePiep (talk) 22:32, 19 August 2015 (UTC)
It is well documented in [12] (where from one can see its width, length and depth) which is attachment to the Circular No 5. There exists also a video of Danish ship going through. And I have seen ships going through on (see above). Since you have no documents saying it would not be functional, I suppose it is, and I do not need to continue the discussion. Thank you. (talk) 14:56, 22 August 2015 (UTC)
That's reversing the source-it base. But I admit, I found circulaire 5/2015 that defines the navigation rules so it is formal. I have adjusted the scheme (map). -DePiep (talk) 12:38, 1 September 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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