Suez Canal, canal in Egypt linking the Gulf of Suez (an arm of the Red Sea) to the eastern Mediterranean. About 100 mi (160 km) long, the canal cut over 4,000 mi (6,400 km) from the route from Britain to India and has been a major commercial waterway since its opening in 1869. It has a minimum width of 179 ft (54 m), a dredged depth of almost 40 ft (12 m), and no locks. Work began in 1859 under Ferdinand de Lesseps. In 1875 Britain acquired the canal from the Ottoman ruler of Egypt. In 1956 it was nationalized by President Gamal Abdel Nasser, prompting an invasion by Britain, France, and Israel. After UN intervention, the canal reopened in 1957 under Egyptian control. It was closed again by the Arab-Israeli War of 1967, but cleared of wreckage in 1974 and reopened in 1975. The canal was deepened (1976–80) to permit the passage of oil tankers up to 500,000 tons (453,600 metric tons) and 53 ft (16 m) in draft.