Suez Canal III

Lead: Facing almost universal skepticism, the Suez Canal Company under Ferdinand de Lesseps raised the money and dug the Canal.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Prime Minister Palmerston of Britain called him a swindler and a fool. Bankers such as Baron de Rothschild rejected his pleas for capital. Yet, de Lesseps succeeded against all odds. Raising money from small investors and operating with a design approved by the International Commission for the Piercing of the Isthmus of Suez, he broke ground in 1859 near the future Port Said. It took ten years to construct the canal. At any given point 30,000 workers were employed often under harsh, forced conditions. More than a million were so engaged and thousands of laborers died on the project. Progress was often delayed by labor disputes and the outbreak of diseases such as cholera, but in the end the canal was completed primarily due to the importation of giant French-designed steam shovels and dredges.

Suez Canal II

Lead: In 1869, finally, the land bridge between Egypt and Suez was pierced with a canal, thanks in large measure to Ferdinand de Lesseps.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: He was no engineer, had no great fortune, had no access to capital, and was in no way an effective administrator, unanimated by tedium. Yet, if anyone might be called the Father of the Suez, it was de Lesseps. Other than his indefatigable energy and dedication to the project, he largely succeeded in building the canal because of his personal connection to two people.

Suez Canal I

Lead: In 1869 French engineers and Egyptian laborers completed work eliminating one of the world’s two great blocks to navigation. They opened the canal at Suez.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Until the 19th and 20th centuries there were two significant places in the world where the passage of oceangoing commerce and transportation were impeded by relatively short land bridges. The Isthmus of Panama fell before the assaults of U.S. doctors and engineers in 1914. Creating a passage between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea was much longer in coming. It had attracted the attention of rulers such as Ramesses II of the 12th Egyptian dynasty in the 2nd Millennium BCE and Persian conqueror Darius I. They built narrow canals from the Nile to the Red Sea but these soon fell into disuse.

Discovery of the Rosetta Stone

Lead: Napoleon's Egyptian fiasco resulted in one of the most important archeological finds in history.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: One of the few disasters of Napoleon Bonaparte's career was the invasion of Egypt. This
attempt to turn Egypt into a French colony came to grief when the British sent a fleet under Admiral
Nelson defeated the French at the Battle of the Nile. He took 50,000 soldiers and sailors and marines to Egypt and returned with little over 23,000 of which there were 3,000 invalids.

 

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The Great Sphinx of Giza

Lead: In recent decades the Great Sphinx of Gaza has shown signs of advanced deterioration. It may actually be older than was once thought.

Tag: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The Sphinx has fired the imagination of poets, scholars, and tourists for generations. Recently stones have begun falling off this massive statue, masonry veneer from the left hind paw in 1981, and a huge piece of bedrock from the right shoulder in 1988. This has led to speculation that the giant lion-shaped figure is actually much older than had been estimated. Heretofore, archeologists have dated the Sphinx as originating in the Old Kingdom about 2500 years B.C.E. The recent decay has led some scholars to assert that the monument is more like 5000 to 7000 years B.C.E. However this dispute is resolved, it has led to heightened interest in the origins of the statue and to what use it was put in the cultic life of the ancient Egyptian religion. The Sphinx sits within a cluster of burial monuments and temples near Giza just south of the Nile Delta. The three giant pyramids of Pharaohs Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure dominate the skyline. Each of the giant structures had a long causeway or narrow ceremonial boulevard that ran from a temple beside the pyramid down to another temple close to the River itself. This last was called the Valley Temple and served as an entrance to each pyramid complex.

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