Suez Canal

The development of the Suez Canal did far more than open a trade gateway. Its completion could be regarded as an embodiment of the spirit of the industrial revolution across the world: both a grand triumph of technological advance and a huge exploitation of a Third World nation by the wealthy financiers who backed it.

The chief architect of the Suez Canal, Count Ferdinand de Lesseps, took on the project of a sea passage in 1881. Due to difficult terrain and climates, the canal was only one-third complete after 10 years but by then the company was bankrupt and 20,000 of the Egyptian workers employed to build it were already dead.

The Suez welcomed ships of all nations, but it would be one hundred years before the Egyptian people would see a penny of profit from the lucrative canal and, ultimately, its completion led to 75 years of British rule in Egypt.

From its technical magnificence to its chequered history, this is a comprehensive study of a groundbreaking canal.

Genre: Documentary

Running Time: 60 minutes (approx)