Lesseps, Ferdinand Marie, vicomte de

(redirected from Ferdinand de Lesseps)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.
Related to Ferdinand de Lesseps: Ferdinand de Saussure

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.
..... Click the link for more information.
, 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).
..... Click the link for more information.
, 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.
In the late 1800s, the Frenchman who had built the Suez Canal, Ferdinand de Lesseps, had hoped to become an even greater hero of the times by connecting the Atlantic with the Pacific through what was then Colombia.
Ferdinand de Lesseps presided over inauguration of the statue, the occasion of an enormous celebration in the summer of 1879.
He also advised on the Suez Canal project, supporting Ferdinand de Lesseps when other British engineers opposed the project, and he subsequently took part in work to widen and deepen the canal.
So said the Frenchman Count Ferdinand de Lesseps at the dedication ceremonies of the Statue of Liberty on October 28, 1886.
CAIRO: In the middle of the Sinai desert on April 25, 1859, Ferdinand de Lesseps, a French vice-consul in Egypt, told Egyptian peasants, "You will dig with your pickaxes, and you will bring prosperity to your families and your country.
The nation that bred Ferdinand de Lesseps (then abandoned ownership of his Suez Canal when it went bust) holds civil engineers in huge regard and thrills routinely to 'grands projets'.
Ferdinand De Lesseps was a French diplomat who developed the Suez Canal and had a concrete-based statue built in his honor on the Corniche.
Today he is best known for granting a concession to the French engineer Ferdinand de Lesseps to start building the Suez canal.
I spent some leave at Port Said and I used to walk along the breakwater and gaze in admiration at the port's signature landmark - the colossal statue of Ferdinand de Lesseps the French architect of the canal.
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.