The Suez Canal’s History Is Rich with Controversy

Satellite view of the container ship Ever Given in the Suez Canal in Egypt, March 28, 2021. (Maxar Technologies/Handout via Reuters)
The drama of the wedged freighter is just the latest for the critical waterway.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE T he Suez Canal is back in the news, after an enormous container ship got wedged sideways in the canal, blocking all traffic until it was freed, at last, on Monday. Controversy surrounding the canal, which connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Indian Ocean via the Red Sea, is nothing new. It has been part of the canal’s story since before it opened in 1869.

Canals existed as far back as antiquity in Egypt, so the notion of connecting the two seas had been considered since long before it was technologically feasible. China’s Grand Canal, which developed over many centuries, connected the

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