In the 1956, the Suez Canal became the center of an international crisis involving Britain, France, Egypt, and Israel. The canal links the Mediterranean and Red sea, thus creating a key strategic point for the world's oil supply transport. The Suez Canal was opened in 1869, after ten years of construction financed mostly by the French and Egyptian government. Under normal circumstances, free passage was granted to all who used the canal. But Great Britain and France desired to control it for commercial shipping and to strengthen colonial interests in the region. When Egyptian President Nasser nationalized the area, a real international crisis ensued. Unable to reach an agreement with Egypt, Britain and France formed an alliance with Israel as well as a strategy to overthrow President Nasser. Read how the Suez Canal crisis unfolded here.