Lesseps, Ferdinand-Marie, viscount de


Lesseps, Ferdinand-Marie, viscount de
(1805-1894)
   diplomat, administrator
   Born in Versailles, the son of a diplomat, Ferdinand-Marie, viscount de Lesseps, entered the consular service in 1825 and held many diplomatic posts. While assistant vice consul in Cairo and Alexandria, Egypt (1833-38), he began an association with the crown prince Said and became interested in a project of the Saint-Simonians (see henri de saint-simon) regarding the building of a canal between the Mediterranean and Red Seas. Lesseps subsequently served as minister plenipotentiary in Spain, (1848-49) then was put in charge of negotiations between the papacy and the Roman Republic (1849) by the commander of the French forces in Rome, General nicolas oudinot. He was recalled to Egypt in 1854 when Said came to power and began plans for the canal in earnest. Lesseps founded, despite the opposition of the British, the Compagnie universelle du canal maritime de Suez for that purpose. Work began on the Suez Canal on April 25, 1859, and the canal was formally opened on November 17, 1869, in the presence of the Empress Eugénie. Lesseps, who because of this achievement was named to the Academy of Sciences (1873) and the Académie Française (1884), in 1880 became the president of a company that planned to build a canal across the Isthmus of Panama. The project was given up for political and financial reasons, however, and Lesseps and his son were tried for mismanagement and misappropriation of the company funds. They were fined and sentenced to prison, but the sentences were never served.
   See also panama affair.

France. A reference guide from Renaissance to the Present . 1884.

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  • Lesseps, Ferdinand (-Marie), viscount de — born Nov. 19, 1805, Versailles, France died Dec. 7, 1894, La Chenaie, near Guilly French diplomat, builder of the Suez Canal. A career diplomat, he held posts in Egypt and elsewhere until 1849. In 1854 he was authorized by the viceroy of Egypt to …   Universalium

  • viscount — /vuy kownt /, n. 1. a nobleman next below an earl or count and next above a baron. 2. Hist. a deputy of a count or earl. 3. (in England) a sheriff. [1350 1400; ME viscounte < AF; OF visconte (F vicomte), equiv. to vis VICE3 + counte COUNT2, trans …   Universalium

  • Marie — /meuh ree /; for 2 also Fr. /mann rddee /, n. 1. (Marie Alexandra Victoria of Saxe Coburg) 1875 1938, queen of Rumania 1914 27. 2. a female given name, French form of Mary. * * * (as used in expressions) Marie Josèphe Rose Tascher de la Pagerie… …   Universalium

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