File:Médaille en bronze doré du concours international du commerce de Suez.jpg

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English: Médaille en bronze doré du concours international du commerce de Suez. Le premier canal fut commencé par le pharaon Senousret III (1887-1849 BC) et achevé par Séthi Ier et Ramsès II. Ferdinand de Lesseps (1805-1894), vice-consul de France à Alexandrie, avait convaincu le khédive Mohammed Saïd, dont il était l'ami, de construire un canal reliant la Méditerranée et la mer Rouge. Les firmans de 1854 et de 1856 préparèrent et précisèrent l'acte de concession du 25 novembre 1854 qui permettait à Ferdinand de Lesseps d'entreprendre la construction du canal. Le firman de 1856 prévoyait la libre circulation. Le capital fut souscrit par la France pour plus de la moitié et le vice-roi d'Égypte pour un quart. Les travaux commencèrent en 1859 et durèrent dix ans. Le canal fut inauguré le 17 novembre 1869. Sa longueur était en 1869 de 52 kms et sa largeur de 44 mètres.
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