Egypt's ambition: The Suez Canal, then and now

Published 0700 GMT (1500 HKT) July 28, 2015
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Boats, including a container ship, cross the new waterway of the Suez Canal on July 25, 2015, in the Egyptian port city of Ismailia, east of Cairo. Egypt started the first trial run of its "new Suez canal," officials said, ahead of the new shipping route's formal inauguration on August 6, 2015 -- a year after construction began. AFP/Getty Images
A fleet of ships enter the Suez Canal at its inauguration on November 17, 1869. Egypt was the first recorded country to dig a man-made canal across its land for international trade. Connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea via the Nile, the Suez Canal is the shortest route between the east and the west. Otto Herschan/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
A dredger is seen at work on the new waterway of the Suez Canal on June 13, 2015, in the port city of Ismailia, east of Cairo. Dubbed the Suez Canal Axis, the new 72-kilometer project is aimed at speeding up traffic along the existing waterway and boosting revenues for Egypt. 41,000 people have been working since construction began last August, moving a total of half a trillion cubic meters of earth -- equivalent to moving 200 Great Pyramids. KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images
Workers construct the Suez Canal, circa 1860, stretching some 190-kilometers long. Fotosearch/Getty Images)
A cargo ship navigates past the Suez Canal Authority Building in Port Said, 180 kilometers northeast of Cairo, on November 24, 2008. CRIS BOURONCLE/AFP/Getty Images
The French Empress Eugenie officially opens the Suez Canal at Port Said in Egypt, on board the imperial yacht 'Aigle,' on November 17, 1869. Hulton Archive/Getty Images
An aerial view taken on December 31, 2007 shows the southern entrance of the Suez Canal. JACK GUEZ/AFP/GettyImages
A 1921 map of the Suez Canal, running south from Port Said on the Mediterranean, through Ismailia and the Great Bitter Lake, to the Gulf of Suez on the Red Sea. Hulton Archive/Getty Images
An Egyptian army helicopter flies over a dredger at work on the new waterway of the Suez Canal on June 13, 2015, in the port city of Ismailia, east of Cairo. The government hopes the ambitious industrial project will generate $100 billion in revenue and create 1 million jobs. KHALED DESOUKI/AFP/Getty Images