Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
"The Suez Canal has been a blessing and a curse. Perhaps since the digging of the Canal began in 1859 and after its completion in 1869, it has been subjected to more controversies than any other construction project in history".1
The Suez Canal, in Egyptian territory between the Arabian Desert and the Siani peninsula, is an artificial waterway 103 miles long, between Port Said on the Mediterranean and Suez on the Red Sea. "Crossing the isthmus between Asia and Africa, the Canal's geographic location has made its strategic value in international affairs greater than that of any other maritime passage in the world."2
Construction work, directed by the French engineer Ferdinand de Lesseps, began on April 25, 1859 and the Canal opened on November 17, 1869. The cost was 432,807,882 francs.3 The construction was completed under a ninety-nine year concession right, granted to de Lesseps by the Viceroy of Egypt, who was under the suzerainty of the Sultan of Turkey in the then Ottoman Empire. The construction authorized de Lesseps to form a company, Companie Universelle du Canal Maritime de Suez, to construct, maintain, and operate the Canal. The capital of the company was to be offered for subscription to all the people of the world. The director was to be appointed by the Egyptian Government, from among the company's shareholders. "Ten per cent of the net profits were to go to the founders, 15 per cent to the Egyptian Government and 75 per cent to the shareholders.4 "The company itself was registered in Egypt, with head offices in Egypt and administrative offices in Paris. Throughout its many arrangements with successive Egyptian governments the canal was always acknowledged to be an integral part of Egypt."5
Riley, Thomas M., "American involvement and policy during the Suez crisis - 1956" (1965). Electronic Thesis Collection. 139.