These great undertakings were not technically possible before the 19th century. People were technically advanced enough to change the face of the Earth.
Technical innovation was also applied to waterways, both as new constructions or through the modernisation of existing waterways. Great undertakings, such as the Suez and Corinthian canals, were commissioned by local governments and achieved through the circulation of ideas and projects and the involvement of technicians of various nationalities. Their story is, nevertheless, somewhat controversial. The 163km-long Suez Canal was built to connect the Red Sea with the Mediterranean Sea to facilitate maritime trade between Europe and the Far East. Its lease to a French company caused the British to intervene in order to control this route to India. This situation and the debts contracted by the Egyptian Khedive Ismail to finance his ambitious programme made Egypt bankrupt and not only caused the loss of the Egyptian shares in the company, but also gave Britain the pretext for military occupation of the country.
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Modern roads
Works for the opening of the Corinth Canal

c. 1885

Benaki Museum, Athens, Greece

Albumen print

The idea of the Corinth Canal was revived after Greece gained independence in 1830 but was soon abandoned for economic reasons. It was formally inaugurated on 23 April 1882. The canal was designed by the Hungarian engineer Béla Gerster with the assistance of the French Vincent Dauzats, a chief engineer of the Suez Canal.

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In this Exhibition
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Innovative technologies
Postal services and telecommunications
Water: The fount of all life