The Suez Route is a shipping route from the Mediterranean Sea to the Indian Ocean, including the Suez Canal and the Red Sea.
Ancient Egypt had a Canal of the Pharaohs, between the Nile Delta and the Lacs Amers, said to have been completed around AD 500, under the rule of Persian king Darius I. It is unknown whether this canal was ever operational. A similar canal existed from the 9th to 11th century.
As the Suez Canal opened in 1869, it changed commerce and transportation on a global scale.
The flat landscape allows the canal to be at sea level, without locks.
The Suez Canal disrupted the Cape Route around Africa, which had been an important sailing route since discovered in 1498. While sails are of little use in the canal, steam ships could easily get through, giving them the upper hand on the new route. The Age of Sail continued on other routes, well into the 20th century, with increasingly larger ships.
The 19th century also saw expansion of railways around the world. These feats inspired Jules Verne's 1873 book Around the World in Eighty Days, and real-life voyages, such as Nellie Bly's 72-day circumnavigation completed in 1890.
The Suez Canal was expanded in 2016, allowing even larger vessels.
Today, the Suez Route is mostly used by freighters.
Around year 2000, piracy in the Gulf of Aden became an international concern. Since 2014, piracy has virtually disappeared.