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Emerging Middle East
Lure of the Suez Canal

Map: Suez Canal

Under limited Ottoman control from 1805, Egypt came increasingly under British influence during the nineteenth century as a result of British investment in Egyptian infrastructure.

The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 was instrumental in directing Britain's foreign policy towards Egypt and the Middle East for the next 100 years.

This man-made waterway halved the journey time for ships sailing between Britain and India, vital in times of peace for imperial trade and even more vital in wartime for the movement of troops.

London was determined to control it.


Europe | Ottoman Empire | Egypt | Mecca | Arab Revolt | Palestine | Syria | Modern Middle East

  Suez Canal  
  The Suez Canal was the focus of British foreign policy in the Middle East for many years and they were determined to protect their investment.


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