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The suez canal is of the most important manmade waterways in the world. Crossing the isthmus that connects Africa and Asia, the Suez joins the Mediterranean and Red Seas, providing the shortest maritime route, 105 miles, between Europe and the Indian Ocean, Far East, and western Pacific. The canal diverts from the shortest route to include Lake Timsah and the Bitter Lakes. Traversing parts of the desert, the canal is lined with stone revetments and sheet-piles to prevent erosion. Along the canal are many settlements, including the major port cities of Port Said, Suez, and Ismailia, most of which arose with the canal's construction.

President Sa'id ordered the creation the canal in 1854, commissioning its construction and management to the French. Instead of helping Egypt modernize, ...

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