The Suez Canal, constructed in 1869, proved to be of tremendous benefit to Britain. With the world’s largest merchant marine, and the largest share of European trade with Asia, the canal provided an economic boom. Why is this outcome, however, somewhat ironic?

Answer: The British Government had spent years delaying the project, trying to ensure it was not built. It was worried that the canal would benefit French and other Mediterranean powers’ shipping, at the expense of its own.

Source: A History of Africa by J.D. Fage

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