In Europe, the main impetus to the development of transport had been given by the Industrial Revolution to bring together two physically separated components: the industrial centres and the natural resources. The changes in transport affected relations between Europe and the Arab and Ottoman world. In general, innovations in transportation were celebrated with a deep trust in the triumph of progress. Contacts, travelling and trade became easier. However, both local policy and the international context also affected transport. Concessions were a way for European powers to enter Arab and Ottoman regions; the concessions’ controversial presence was either accepted, as a way to speed up modernisation, or refused, as an obstacle to independence. Transport improved communication but at the same time it was a means to control and penetrate entire regions. The introduction of steamships and railways and the building of a network of roads vastly accelerated communication both outside and within the region.
Panoramic view of the Isthmus of the Suez, tracing the canal between the two seas
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National Library of France , Paris, France
Louis Maurice Adolphe Linant de Bellefonds
Louis Maurice Adolphe Linant de Bellefonds, also known as Linant Bey, was a French painter, traveller and explorer. In Egypt, he collaborated with Muhammad ‘Ali Pasha and Sa‘id Pasha and was appointed as director of the public works. He was one of the experts the governors hired in order to acquire technical know-how.