Building the World

May 3, 2014
by buildingtheworld
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Horse that Changed History

Kentucky Derby winner, 1912. Image: wikimedia.org.

When friends pitched their tent against a high wall to shelter from winds, during their reunion expedition, campfire conversation soon accelerated to boasts and dares. To prove his point, one of the group jumped upon his steed, prepared for a gallop and jumped the wall. No one else dared attempt such a feat. The party’s organizer offered the horse-rider anything in his power to grant. The answer: permission to build the Suez Canal. It was thus that Mohammed Pasha al-Said of Egypt gave authorization to Ferdinand de Lesseps to build the Suez Canal. Many years later, a very different story resulted in a very different canal, Panama. First envisioned by Sesostris, used by the Egyptians in 1380 BCE, connected to the Red Sea a millennium later by Ptolemy Philadelphus, the Suez Canal opened to great fanfare in 1869. Verdi’s opera “Aida” was commissioned to celebrate the waterway.

Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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May 22, 2013
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Shortcuts in History: Panama Canal

The Panama Canal from Hofstra University at hofstra.edu.

 

The Panama Canal saved 7,872 miles in transit for cargo, and people, when it opened to applause from shippers around the world. No longer was it necessary to sail around South America. Difficult to build, the Panama Canal’s story is a drama involving changes in leadership, tragedies and victories in public health, and perhaps one of the greatest achievements in public relations. The Panama Canal caused a new era in shipbuilding. The new and improved version, technically known as the Third Set of Locks Project ,doubles capacity with new locks on both the Atlantic and Pacific sides, as well as raising Lake Gatun. The reason for the expansion? Accommodation of “Post-Panamax” megaships carrying ever-bigger loads of cargo and ever-more decks of tourists for transit of one of the world’s most famous cruise itineraries. Expansion of the Panama Canal caused ports to enlarge their capacity: Baltimore, Norfolk, and Miami are among United States ports accommodating post-panamax ships in a post-2015 world. Where will the world’s next cut-through be? Cuba? Or will Ernst Frankel’s design for the Bering Strait, delivered in the Annual Frank P. Davidson Lecture in Paris, 2012, be next short-cut to transform world transport?

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Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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April 15, 2013
by buildingtheworld
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Suez Canal: A Vision of Cooperation

Suez Canal Bridge, from Wikimedia Commons, at wikimedia.org.

Opening a waterway for shipping transport from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean through a passage in the Red Sea, the Suez Canal was under one form of construction or another for 3,700 years. Winding 101 miles (163 kilometers) through desert, connecting lakes until reaching the Isthmus of Suez, the canal links Mediterranean Port Said with Suez on the Red Sea. Over 1.5 million people worked on the project, whose ceremonial opening on November 17, 1869, was celebrated by the commissioning of Verdi’s opera, Aida. It’s one of the world’s most important waterways; in just one month (May 2002), 1,135 vessels transited carrying total tonnage exceeding 27.6 million. Significantly, the firman of 1854, granting concession to Ferdinand de Lesseps by Pasha al-Said, mandates the canal be open on equal terms to ships of all nations: “tariffs of dues for passage shall always be equal for all nations, no particular advantage can ever be stipulated for the exclusive benefit of any one country.” Does the Suez Canal set a precedent for the cooperation of nations, especially through international and transnational infrastructure?

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Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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June 26, 2012
by zoequinn001
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Aida

“Aida,” music by Elton John and lyrics by Tim Rice, is based on Giuseppe Verdi’s Italian-language opera that was written to celebrate Egypt and the Suez Canal, also called, “Aida.” It follows the story of the Nubian princess, Aida, the future pharaoh of Egypt, Ramades, and his betrothed,, Amneris. The show debuted on Broadway in March 2000, but the clip below is from the Egyptian opening at the Giza Pyramids.

 

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Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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