The Suez Canal opened to shipping on 17 November 1869.
Excavation of the Canal had taken ten years, using forced labor and rudimentary mechanical equipment.
Construction had been opposed by British interests, who feared competition in trade with India. Once the Canal opened and proved successful, British interests acquired a majority ownership.
The Canal was closed to shipping during the Suez Crises of 1956-57 and during the Arab-Israeli Wars of 1967 and 1973. In 2008, over 21,000 ships transited the Canal, earning the Government of Egypt over $5 billion in tolls.
Recently, a second lane to the Canal has been completed and placed into service.
See also: Egypt plans to open New Suez Canal on August 6, 2015
And we are very proud to say, that Österreichischer Lloyd Shipping was a shareholder of the
Suez Canal Company at that time and participating with three cruise vessels on the opening.
Capt. Eberhard Koch
Thanks for sharing this interesting detail. !!!