Ismailia ĭzmāəlē´ə [key] or Al Ismailiyahäl ĭsmăĭlē´yə [key], city (1986 est. pop. 212,759), capital of Ismailia governorate, NE Egypt. It is the seat of the Suez Canal administration. Extensive irrigation is used for growing fruits and vegetables; livestock is raised. Ismailia was founded in 1863 by Ferdinand de Lesseps, who used it as his base of operations during the construction of the canal. The city was named after Ismail, a khedive of Egypt. A nearby military base established by the British in World War I is now under Egyptian control. After Israeli forces shelled Ismailia in the wake of the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, part of the city's civilian population was evacuated. In the 1973 war Israeli ground forces pushed to within the city's outskirts.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2023, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Egyptian Political Geography