World: The Suez Canal's Bleak Centennial

A CENTURY ago this week, the French yacht Aigle, with the Empress Eugenie aboard, led a convoy of 46 vessels south from Port Said to meet Egyptian warships at Ismailia. Fireworks rocketed above the waterway, while 6,000 guests, including the Emperor of Austria and the Crown Prince of Prussia, celebrated the opening of Suez at a huge ball. Said Builder Ferdinand de Lesseps to the Khedive Ismail of Egypt: "Moses ordered the waters of the Red Sea to retire, and they obeyed him. Today, at your command, they return to their former bed."

Neither...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!