Suez Canal And The British Empire, Old Photo 1880

A rare old 1880 photo of the Suez Canal and its impact on the British Empire. A clear view of the Suez Canal in the 19th century with a dredger, a steamship, and other boats is also visible. There is a caption in French near the bottom edge “Croisement d’une drague marin” which translates to “Crossing of a marine dredger”.

Once the Suez Canal opened, it was one of the biggest windfalls for the empire. Since their colonies lay mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere. From the Middle East to India to Malaysia, Singapore up to Australia and New Zealand. Not forgetting the eastern parts of Africa.

The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 was one of the prime reasons for Bombay becoming prosperous. Since the exports chiefly of cotton shot up and the migration from Europe and the Middle East to the city increased. Travelling to India from England was a long, tedious, and often dangerous task.

Before the 1869 opening of the Suez Canal, most people sailed around Africa’s Cape of Good Hope. A voyage that took around six months. Whereas, via the Suez, it took just three to four weeks to reach the ports of Bombay (Mumbai), Madras (Chennai), or Calcutta (Kolkata). There was also an overland route before 1869.

Travellers trekked overland through Austria to Iraq on the Persian Gulf then boarded a ship for India. Another alternative was travelling to the Red Sea, either sailing around Spain or journeying overland to Alexandria, Egypt. From Egypt, they crossed the desert by camel to the Red Sea port of Suez, then continued on by ship.

Arriving on the sub-continent, Britons found a vast land, extending from the Himalayas in the north to the Deccan plateau in the south. British trading centers proliferated along the west and east coasts. But Calcutta (Kolkata) became the center of colonial power till 1911. Consequently, Delhi became the capital of British India. Click on the photo for better view.

Did you know- the Suez Canal was built by a French diplomat Ferdinand De Lesseps. 

From the collection- Drawing Hiding The Taj Mahal WW2., Prince of Berar Hyderabad Nizam’s Son, Old Photo PC., Indian & African Rhinoceros Antique 1790 Print By Berthault., The City Of Old Delhi Map 1877.

The images are of the actual items from my collection. And Not a photocopy, pirated, reproduced, stock photos, or taken from other sources.



Photo Details

Year -


Photograph Size -

11½ x 9 inch

Photographer -

Egyptian photographer Zangaki