1869: Suez Canal aided European influence in Pacific: new era of European influence: journey from Asia to Europe reduced by 6,500 km

The Suez Canal was constructed between 1859 and 1869 by French and Egyptians interests with a cost of about 100 million dollars.  It removed the need to go around Africa to get the Asia and the Pacific, The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 brought forward a new era of European influence in Pacific Asia.  The region became commercially accessible and colonial trade expanded as a result of increased interactions because of a reduced friction of distance

6500km cheaper:  The journey from Asia to Europe was considerably reduced by saving 6,500 km from the circum African route.

Geographical Impacts:  Planned by the French but constructed by the British, the Suez Canal opened in 1869. It represents, along with the Panama Canal, one of the most significant maritime “shortcuts” ever built. It brought a new era of European influence in Pacific Asia by reducing the journey (blue line) from Asia to Europe by about 6,000 km.

Great Britain gains: Great Britain, the maritime power of the time, benefited substantially from this improved access. For instance, the Suez Canal shortened the distance on a maritime journey:

–  from London to Bombay by 41%;

 – from London to Shanghai by 32%.

The Panama Canal, completed in 1914, considerably shortens the maritime distances between the American East and West coasts by a factor of 13,000 km. 

– In 1874, Britain bought the shares of the Suez Canal Company and became its sole owner. According to the Convention of Constantinople signed in 1888, the canal was to be open to vessels of all nations in time of peace or in war. However, Great Britain claimed the need to control the area to maintain its maritime power and colonial interests (namely in South Asia). In 1936, it acquired the right to maintain defense forces along the Suez Canal, which turned out to be of strategic importance during World War II to uphold Asia-Europe supply routes for the Allies.


The Strategic Space of International Transportation Author : Dr. Jean-Paul Rodrigue 1. The Geostrategy Of International Transportation ).http://people.hofstra.edu/geotrans/eng/ch5en/conc5en/ch5c1en.html

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