The Suez Canal, which connects the Mediterranean and Red Seas through Egypt and thus provides a quicker shipping route from west to east, was inaugurated in an elaborate, weeks-long ceremony in November of 1869. It was promoted not only as an engineering wonder, but as a means by which permanent international peace and harmony would be achieved. Less than a year later, many of the countries whose monarchs had attended the opening ceremonies would be at war with each other. And Egypt would be completely broke and debt-ridden. And Great Britain would be angling for control of the canal over the French. International peace and harmony, indeed.