Lesseps, Ferdinand Marie, vicomte de

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Lesseps, Ferdinand Marie, vicomte de

(fĕrdēnäN` märē` vēkôNt` də lĕsĕps`), 1805–94, French diplomat and engineer. He entered the consular service in 1825 and was minister to Spain (1848–49). Later, while serving in Egypt, he conceived the idea of a Suez CanalSuez Canal,
Arab. Qanat as Suways, waterway of Egypt extending from Port Said to Port Tawfiq (near Suez) and connecting the Mediterranean Sea with the Gulf of Suez and thence with the Red Sea. The canal is somewhat more than 100 mi (160 km) long.
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, and in 1854 he obtained from Said Pasha, viceroy of Egypt, the concession for opening a passage through the Isthmus of Suez. He was the chief figure in organizing the canal company and raised, by popular subscription in France, over half the capital needed. He supervised the actual construction (1859–69) and achieved world renown when the venture proved successful. In 1878 he assumed the presidency of a French company formed to construct the Panama CanalPanama Canal,
waterway across the Isthmus of Panama, connecting the Atlantic (by way of the Caribbean Sea) and Pacific oceans, built by the United States (1904–14, on territory leased from the republic of Panama) and expanded by Pamana (2007–16).
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, and work was begun in 1881. Lack of funds forced the project into bankruptcy seven years later, amid charges of corruption. Lesseps was brought to trial for misappropriation of funds and, together with his son, was sentenced to prison by the French government. The sentence, however, was not carried out, and most objective observers, then and since, have held Lesseps to have been guilty only of negligence.


See biography by C. R. L. Beatty (1956); study by J. Pudney (1969); Z. Karabell, Parting the Desert: The Creation of the Suez Canal (2003).

References in periodicals archive ?
1859: The construction of the Suez Canal got under way supervised by French engineer Ferdinand de Lesseps who designed it.
and the waterway in its present form was completed by Ferdinand de Lesseps in 1893 after he had completed the Suez Canal.
In the hope of clawing back some of the disappearing revenues the SCA is embarking on an ambitious plan, scheduled for completion by 2010, to deepen the canal from its current 58 feet to 72 feet, nearly triple the 26-foot depth that Ferdinand de Lesseps, the French engineer who designed the canal in the mid-19th century, deemed appropriate.
Direction de l~administration generale, quai Ferdinand de Lesseps, BP 485
Planned by the French engineer Ferdinand de Lesseps, it took a decade to build and by 1875 Great Britain was the largest shareholder in the enterprise.
Swiss driver Ferdinand de Lesseps joins this winning trio in their GTS-2 class car.
Address : Direction Pole des Operations Quai Ferdinand de Lesseps B.
Ferdinand de Lesseps, who, in the name of the Franco-American Union, presented the statue to Mr Mor-tonthe representative of the United States in Paris.
Today he is best known for granting a concession to the French engineer Ferdinand de Lesseps to start building the Suez canal.
Architectural competition for the design and implementation of a new television station France 3 Haute Normandie in Rouen Built on a plot located quai Ferdinand de Lesseps in Rouen, the future construction, designed for about 100 workstations develop approximately 2120 m2 of net floor space.
At the heart of the dispute was the Suez Canal, a 105-mile stretch of water linking the Mediterranean at Port Said with the Red Sea, built between 1860 and 1869 by Egyptian labour, under the supervision of the French diplomat Ferdinand de Lesseps.
Contractor address : 40 avenue Ferdinand de Lesseps