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[Mp4] How the Suez Canal changed the world?

 

In March 2021, fierce winds blew a container ship off course.

 

In most places, this would have caused a minor incident. But in the Suez Canal, it was a global crisis.

 

This vessel wasn’t just blocking other ships. It was obstructing the flow of international trade through one of the world’s most important waterways.

 

The site of the Suez Canal has been of interest to rulers of this region as far back as the second millennium BCE.

 

To move goods between Asia and the Mediterranean basin, traders had to traverse the narrow isthmus separating the Red Sea and the Nile, journeying in camel-bound caravans through the unforgiving desert.

 

A maritime passage between the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea would bypass this trip altogether. And throughout the 16th century, multiple powers attempted to construct such a canal. But their plans were obstructed by cost, political strife, and the ever-shifting sands.

 

In 1798, interest in building a canal was rekindled, this time attracting attention from across Europe.

 

Over the following decades, individuals from Austria, Italy, Britain, and France pitched their plans to Egypt’s rulers.

 

At the time, Egypt was a territory of the Ottoman Empire, which was resistant to these proposals.

 

But Egypt’s political and economic autonomy was gradually increasing, and its government was eager to pursue the project.

 

When Sa’id Pasha came into power in 1854, he approved a plan from the enterprising and manipulative French diplomat Ferdinand de Lesseps.

 

Signed in 1854 and 1856, a pair of concessions gave de Lesseps authority to establish the Suez Canal Company and finance it by selling shares to “capitalists of all nations.”

 

The contracts between Sa’id Pasha and the Canal Company also promised a workforce of hundreds of thousands of Egyptian workers.

 

Beginning in 1862, about 20,000 laborers were forcibly recruited every month, digging the canal in harsh desert conditions without easy access to food or water.

 

Diseases like cholera ran rampant and workers toiled under the threat of whips. The estimates of those who died during construction range into the thousands.

 

In 1864, the new Egyptian ruler, Isma’il Pasha, put an end to the coerced Egyptian labor, but he still pressed forward with construction.

 

Foreign workers from all over Europe and the Middle East labored alongside dredgers and bucket excavators to remove 74 million cubic meters of dirt.

 

This massive population of workers required infrastructure to deliver drinking water and other supplies, giving rise to a flourishing economy of restaurants, brothels, and smuggled goods.

 

Amidst the bustle were born three new cities with multi-ethnic populations: Port Said on the northern Mediterranean shore, Ismailia on the canal’s middle tract, and Port Tewfiq, at the southern edge of the canal.

 

The construction site bypassed the Nile and ran directly from Port Said to Suez. And after years of work, the streams of the two seas finally began merging in the mid-1860s.

 

The finished canal was 164 kilometers long, with a width of 56 meters at the surface, and it was officially inaugurated on November 17th, 1869.

 

While it struggled financially during its first few years, the canal ended up dramatically accelerating global trade. It also facilitated the migration of numerous marine species, dramatically changing local ecosystems and cuisine.

 

Over the decades, traffic through the canal grew. But in 1875, financial issues forced Egypt to sell much of its stock in the Canal Company, allowing Britain to take over.

 

It was only in 1956 that control of the canal fully reverted to Egypt when it was nationalized by President Gamal Abdel Nasser.

 

This move sparked a military standoff between Egypt and Britain, France, and Israel.

 

But once resolved, it transformed the canal into a major source of Egypt’s national revenue and helped redeem the canal’s imperialist legacy.

 

Today, nearly 30% of all global ship traffic passes through the Suez Canal, totaling over 20,000 ships in 2021.

 

However, the incident of the Ever Given is a stark reminder of just how fragile our manmade systems can be.

 

Source: TED-Ed

WORD BANK:

fierce /fɪrs/ [B2[ (adj): lớn, khắc nghiệt

off course (adv): chệch hướng

incident /ˈɪn.sɪ.dənt/ [B2] (n): sự cố

crisis /ˈkraɪ.siːz/ [B2] (n): cuộc khủng hoảng

vessel /ˈves.əl/ (n): tàu lớn

obstruct /əbˈstrʌkt/ (v): cản trở

waterway /ˈwɑː.t̬ɚ.weɪ/ (n): tuyến đường thủy

ruler /ˈruː.lɚ/ [C1] (n): nhà cai trị

millennium /mɪˈlen.i.əm/ [C2] (n): thiên niên kỷ

Mediterranean /ˌmed.ə.tərˈeɪ.ni.ən/ (adj): thuộc về Địa Trung Hải

basin /ˈbeɪ.sən/ (n): lưu vực

traverse /trəˈvɝːs/ (v – formal): băng qua, di chuyển

isthmus /ˈɪs.məs/ (n): eo đất

camel-bound (adj): trên lưng lạc đà

caravan /ˈker.ə.væn/ (n): đoàn lữ hành

unforgiving /ˌʌn.fɚˈɡɪv.ɪŋ/ (adj): khắc nghiệt

passage /ˈpæs.ɪdʒ/ (n): tuyến đường

bypass sth /ˈbaɪ.pæs/ (v): bỏ qua cái gì

strife /straɪf/ (n – formal): xung đột

ever-shifting (adj): liên tục thay đổi

kindle /ˈkɪn.dəl/ (v): nhen nhóm, nhóm lửa

pitch /pɪtʃ/ (v): trình bày (kế hoạch)

territory /ˈter.ə.tɔːr.i/ [B2] (n): lãnh thổ

resistant to sth /rɪˈzɪs.tənt/ (adj): chống lại điều gì

eager to sth /ˈiː.ɡɚ/ [B2] (adj): háo hức làm gì

enterprising /ˈen.t̬ɚ.praɪ.zɪŋ/ (adj): táo bạo, dám nghĩ dám làm

manipulative /məˈnɪp.jə.lə.t̬ɪv/ (adj): có tài thao túng người khác

diplomat /ˈdɪp.lə.mæt/ [B2] (n): nhà ngoại giao

concession /kənˈseʃ.ən/ (n): sự nhượng bộ

authority /əˈθɔːr.ə.t̬i/ [B2] (n): quyền

finance /ˈfaɪ.næns/ [B2] (v): tài trợ

forcibly /ˈfɔːr.sə.bli/ (adv): một cách cưỡng ép

recruit /rɪˈkruːt/ [C1] (v): tuyển dụng

cholera /ˈkɑː.lɚ.ə/ (n): dịch tả

run rampant /ˈræm.pənt/ (v): hoành hành

toil /tɔɪl/ (v): làm việc cực nhọc

whip /wɪp/ (n): roi vọt

put an end to sth [B2] (v): chấm dứt điều gì

coerce /koʊˈɝːs/ (adj – formal): cưỡng bức

dredger /ˈdredʒ.ɚ/ (n): tàu nạo vét

bucket excavator /ˈbʌk.ɪt ˈek.skə.veɪ.t̬ɚ/ (n): máy xúc gầu

flourishing /ˈflɝː.ɪ.ʃɪŋ/ (adj): hưng thịnh

brothel /ˈbrɑː.θəl/ (n): nhà thổ

smuggle /ˈsmʌɡ.əl/ [C2] (v): buôn lậu

bustle /ˈbʌs.əl/ (n): sự nhộn nhịp

multi-ethnic /ˌmʌl.tiˈeθ.nɪk/ (adj): đa sắc tộc

shore /ʃɔːr/ (n): bờ

edge /edʒ/ (n): rìa

stream /striːm/ [B1] (n): dòng nước

merge /mɝːdʒ/ [C2] (v): hòa vào nhau

inaugurate /ɪˈnɑː.ɡjə.reɪt/ (v): khánh thành

struggle /ˈstrʌɡ.əl/ [B2] (v): gặp khó khăn

accelerate sth /ekˈsel.ɚ.eɪt/ [C2] (v): thúc đẩy điều gì

facilitate sth /fəˈsɪl.ə.teɪt/ [C1] (v): tạo điều kiện cho điều gì

migration /maɪˈɡreɪ.ʃən/ (n): sự di cư

take over [B2] (v): tiếp quản

revert /rɪˈvɝːt/ (v): quay lại

nationalize /ˈnæʃ.nəl.aɪz/ (v): quốc hữu hóa

spark /spɑːrk/ [C2] (v): gây ra

standoff /ˈstænd.ɑːf/ (n): sự bế tắc

resolve /rɪˈzɑːlv/ [C1] (v): giải quyết

revenue /ˈrev.ə.nuː/ [C1] (n): thu nhập

redeem /rɪˈdiːm/ (v): chuộc lại

imperialist /ɪmˈpɪər·i·ə·lɪst/ (adj): thuộc về thời đế quốc

legacy /ˈleɡ.ə.si/ [C2] (n): di sản

stark /stɑːrk/ (adj): rõ ràng

fragile /ˈfrædʒ.əl/ [C2] (adj): mong manh


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