In 1869 AD, a French company constructed a canal through the northern part of Egypt with the help of Egyptian government. It is called the Suez Canal. The canal connected the Mediterranean sea to the Red sea through the gulf of Suez. It soon became very important, to ships traveling from Europe to South Asia or the Far East which includes the Southeast Asia, as they could now save thousands of miles on their journey so this was truly a shortcut for all European ships sailing towards the East. A few year later, the British government purchased parts of the Suez Canal.
At the time of the construction of the Suez Canal, the British and the other European nations were ruling over the world. However, most countries became independent by the 1950’s. Egypt also became a strong modern nation. The Suez Canal, now a part of Egypt was so important for the European countries that their soldiers were always guarding it. Egypt asked them to leave the Suez area and although they agreed at first it later developed into a conflict in which Egypt had to fight the combined forces of the British, French and Israel in 1956. This conflict is called the Suez Crisis. The canal still remains the important shortcut from Europe to the Far East, especially as the European countries use this route for importing natural oil from Indonesia and other Southeast Asian countries.