Muhammed Ali was forced to withdraw from his move on Constantinople, and give up his claims to Syria, by military pressure from France and Britain (1841). Instead, he and his successors were recognized as the hereditary rulers of Egypt.
Building on the modernization programme of his grandfather, Ismael (reigned 1863-79) has expanded Egypt’s frontiers further into the Sudan.
One of the great engineering works of the 19th century was completed in 1869 with the opening of the Suez Canal. This was dug by French engineers and Egyptian labour over a ten-year period. It was a magnificent achievement. From now on the canal would be the prime route between Europe and the East, greatly shortening the time taken by ships to make the voyage.
Although it was built with French initiative and engineering, the British government has ensured that it is the largest stockholder. This has given it a huge economic stake in the political stability of Egypt.
ORIGINAL SOURCE: timemaps.com