This is kind of what happened in the Suez Canal, where a skyscraper-sized cargo tanker found itself still under siege on Thursday. It essentially choked a narrow artery that saw about one-tenth of global shipments pass. A Dutch rescue company working to free the ship, MV Evergiven, said it could take “weeks” to pull it from its landing on the shore – a blockage unprecedented in recent years. Meanwhile, at least 150 ships trying to cross from Asia to Europe, or vice versa, are facing delays. Those tankers, which carry everything from oil and cement to consumer goods and live animals, are stuck in a traffic jam whose ripple effects can reach every corner of the planet. “The Ever Given, operated by Taiwan-based Evergreen Marine Corp., was bound for the Netherlands on Tuesday when a dust storm hit, creating strong winds and poor visibility in the 120-mile corridor from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean,” Colleagues reported. “It remains unclear what exactly went wrong and pushed the boat to strand.… Both Suez Canal Authority officials and Evergreen Marine have blamed winds of up to 30 mph. But this explanation has raised some suspicion, given that the ship weighs what It reaches 220,000 tons when fully loaded and built to withstand much stronger gusts of wind. ”Whatever the case, the ship’s ordeal has made jokes online, with apparently tickling social media. An unfortunate sight of the local authorities struggling to extract such a huge vessel from its sandy erotic. But “the recent shutdown highlights the risks the shipping industry faces as more and more ships cross sea choke points including the Suez Canal, the Panama Canal, the Strait of Hormuz, and the Strait of Malacca in Southeast Asia,” Bloomberg News reported, referring to how the containers operate. The carrying capacity on ships has doubled over the past decade and is also a reminder of the canal’s deep and vital history. Long before the modern canal was built in the nineteenth century, the region in which it now operates was ready to be crossed across continents. Fernand Braudel, the great French historian of the Mediterranean, noted how “the low isthmus of Suez … [had] The sea has flooded several times, turning Africa into an island. “In ancient times, rulers saw the benefit of building a maritime link for oar boats to move from the Mediterranean, or at least the Nile, to the Red Sea. The first was probably the Egyptian pharaoh Necho II – identified as Necos by the Greek historian The ancient Herodotus – who started a huge project to build a canal in about the late seventh century B.C. “in digging this canal, Necos lost one hundred and twenty thousand books of Herodotus about the Egyptians, who made it clear that” Nikos was stopped due to opposition to the oracle – for intelligence, that he was doing work from Yes, the barbarian who will come after him. ” Other “barbarians” would already come and apparently finish the work, including the Persian emperor Darius I and later Ptolemy of the Macedonian dynasty of kings installed after the death of Alexander the Great. But the Red Sea receded in the centuries that followed, and the ancient canal, clogged with silt, vanished into the desert. From the Middle Ages until the end of the 18th century, planners, from Arab rulers to Venetian merchants to Ottoman pashas, thought, or even tried to launch new canal projects, but their attempts faltered. Napoleon Bonaparte’s fictional invasion of Egypt in 1798. When he dreamed of building a fast passage to India, which was already the jewel of the prosperous British Empire, the French general sent a team of surveyors to chart the course of a canal from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea. But they incorrectly concluded that the latter was 30 feet higher than the previous one (their elevations are relatively similar in fact) and that the canal might be subject to catastrophic flooding in the Nile Delta. Decades later, adventurous ex-French diplomat Ferdinand de Lesseps secured funding from the French government and permission from the Ottoman Viceroy in Egypt for his Suez Canal company to begin building what would become the Suez Canal in 1859. The early years included a massive human project, in which workers removed and bulldozed Millions of cubic feet of Earth. According to one account, more than a million Egyptian farmers were forced to enter the project and tens of thousands perished, and contracted diseases such as cholera in conditions similar to forced labor, and conditions improved after the intervention of the local authorities and the introduction of heavy industrial equipment. In 1869, the canal was inaugurated in a grand ceremony hosted by the Ottoman Khedive Ismail Pasha. Six years later, after Ottoman Egypt was heavily indebted, Ismail sold his shares in the Suez Canal Company to the British government, which shifted from being skeptical of the project to being the biggest beneficiaries of it. The opening of the canal led to the heyday of European empires in Asia and Africa: warships and steam-powered cargo ships skipped the long voyage around the Cape of Good Hope. The cultivation of oil fields along the Persian Gulf in the early twentieth century confirmed the strategic vitality of the canal for European powers, and it is fitting then that the dramatic closure of the canal in 1956 was seen as one of the death rattles of that era of colonialism. The national and charismatic president, Gamal Abdel Nasser, chose to nationalize the properties of the Suez Canal Company and the Egyptian forces took over its facilities. This led to an invasion of a joint campaign by British, French and Israeli forces in an attempt to topple Nasser. But it turned into a humiliating catastrophe, with the United States withholding support and world public opinion turning decisively against the British and their allies, for others, such as the Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis – who happened to have empty tankers completely sitting in Saudi ports. The crisis hit, then imposed huge prices as they sailed around Africa with oil for the West – it boosted fortune. The canal reopened in 1957 but closed again a decade later after the Arab-Israeli war. This shutdown lasted eight years. In 1975, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat announced the resumption of shipping activities in the canal with the release of a herd of pigeons.