Suez is a ship canal joining the Mediterranean Sea (at Port Said) with the Red Sea (at the Gulf of Suez). It was built to provide a sea route from Europe to Asia that did not involve having to sail all the way round Africa. It was built by French engineer Ferdinand de Lesseps between 1859 and 1869. It is unusual for a canal in that it has no locks, as the two sea levels are almost the same.
The British bought holding shares in the canal in 1875, and the entire Canal Zone was held as a British base from 1882 to 1955. Egypt nationalized the canal company in 1956, which started the Suez War and briefly closed the canal. It was closed again from 1967 to 1975 after the Six-Day and Yom Kippur Wars.