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Ferdinand de Lesseps (1805-1894). French engineer and diplomat Ferdinand Marie, Vicomte de Lesseps. De lesseps is best known as the developer of the Suez Canal, a waterway that connects the Mediterranean and Red Sea. Construction work began in April 1859 and de Lesseps oversaw the digging until its completion in November 1869. As a result, he received many honours. He then began work on the Panama Canal between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Work on the sea-level scheme began in 1881 but was stopped in 1888 amid financial, engineering and political problems. De Lesseps was later charged with embezzlement.
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