We have selected Tour Egypt as the world's very best website on the Suez Canal.
The Tour Egypt website is published by InterCity Oz Inc., which has offices in Lubbock, Texas and Panama City, Florida. The design, layout and graphic art is by Jimmy Dunn. The Tour Egypt website contains a detailed illustrated article on the Suez Canal.
The first Suez canal is thought to have been built by the Persian ruler Darius I, (522-486 BC). According to Herodotus, his canal was wide enough for two triremes to pass with their oars extended, and it took four days to navigate. His canal can still be seen along the Wadi Tumilat. The canal is said to have been extended to the Red Sea by Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285-246 BC). The first efforts to build the modern Suez Canal came from the Egypt expedition of Napoleon Bonaparte, who hoped the canal would create a catastrophic trade problem for the English. But although a project was started it was abandoned when it was discovered (erroneously) that there was a ten metre difference in level between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. The modern canal was eventually built by Ferdinand Marie de Lesseps, who founded the Universal Company of the Maritime Suez Canal in 1858.