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Profitable Quarantine

In 1832, French engineer Ferdin and Marie Lesseps were traveling in the Mediterranean when one of the passengers became sick and the ship was quarantined. Lesseps was an active man, so the confinement was terribly frustrating for him. The many long hours aboard that isolated vessel, however, gave him time to read the memoirs of Charles le Pere, a man who had studied the feasibility of building a canal from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean. That volume prompted Lesseps to devise in his own mind a detailed plan for the construction of the Suez Canal. When it was finally built under his leadership some 30 years later, it brought invaluable service to the world. That quarantine had proven to be immensely profitable.

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