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How the Suez Canal changed the world - Lucia Carminati


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Today, nearly 30% of all global ship traffic passes through the Suez Canal, totaling over 20,000 ships in 2021. The site of the canal had been of interest to rulers as far back as the second millennium BCE, but plans to construct a passageway were obstructed by cost, political strife, and the ever-shifting sands— until the 19th century. Lucia Carminati details the creation of the Suez Canal.

Additional Resources for you to Explore

The History

For a deeper dive into the history of the Suez Canal head over here. This podcast may also help you place the Canal in its deeper historical context. 

The Suez Canal official website provides a lot of information and the official version of this history. For readings that excavate different stories, check out Valeska Huber’s blog entry “Cosmopolitanism on the Move: Port Said around 1900,” Mohamed Gamal-Eldin’s short article “Doing Environmental, Infrastructural, and Urban Histories along the Suez Canal,” and Lucia Carminati’s research on the Canal’s migrant workers

If you look for a reading soundtrack, check out the “Simsimiyya of Port Said by Ensemble Al-Tanburah” relying on Muhammad Fathi Kalfat’s article and Alia Mossallam’s research for context. 

The Ever Given 

The Ever Given was stuck for only one week, but managed to create a global crisis. To learn more about the Ever Given and other big ships head over to this article by the BBC. With the help of diggers, tug boats, and water power, the Ever Given was moved. This is a great explainer video that digs into the physics of how the ship was finally dislodged. Finally, read this article if you want a little more information about why the Suez Canal is so important to global trade. 

The Suez Crisis 

While the Ever Given debacle was the most recent, it is far from being the only example of a time when the Suez Canal was at the center of a crisis. Read about how the Suez Canal Crisis was a pivotal event among Cold War superpowers. You might also want to check out a timeline of the events leading up to the crisis. 

Enjoy learning about canals in general? You might like this Ted-Ed video about the creation of the Panama Canal. You might consider some of the similarities and differences between the two great canals.

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Meet The Creators

  • Educator Lucia Carminati
  • Director Michael Kalopaidis, Zedem Media
  • Narrator Christina Greer
  • Storyboard Artist Alessia Auricchio
  • Animator Maria Savva
  • Compositor Maria Savva
  • Art Director Alessia Auricchio
  • Sound Designer Andreas Trachonitis
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Director Alex Rosenthal
  • Producer Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Editorial Producer Dan Kwartler
  • Script Editor Alex Gendler
  • Fact-Checker Charles Wallace

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