Louis Maurice Adolphe Linant de Bellefonds (November 23, 1799 - July 9, 1883) was a French engineer and explorer. He was a principal engineer of the Suez Canal, and is listed as a founder of the Suez Canal Company. Born in the port city of Lorient, Linant was educated with an emphasis on mathematics, drawing and painting. His father Antoine-Marie, a naval officer, had charted the coastal waters of Newfoundland in 1814 and it is thought that Bellefonds assisted his father. He joined the navy as a cadet, and served aboard the frigate Cléopâtre, engaged on a mission to Greece, Syria, Palestine, and Egypt. On this voyage, he made drawings and relief maps. One of the expedition's artists died on the voyage, and Linant was on hand to be commissioned as his replacement. Thus, the expedition saw Linant drawing ancient sites and ruins in Athens, Constantinople, Ephesus, Akka and Jerusalem.

The voyage continued from Jaffa to Damietta by camel, then up the Nile to Cairo. Upon arrival, Linant chose not to return to France but to remain in Egypt. This was only the first in a wild array of African and Middle Eastern explorations that would occupy him until 1830, and which he would describe later in his Mémoires. During the course of his expeditions, he studied ancient canal works; his exploration of the Suez in 1827 and 1828 led him to consider the possibilities of a canal connecting the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. According to his own account, he then spent a year in the study of engineering in order 'to acquire what I lacked in scientific understanding to take up service with the Egyptian government in the character of an engineer'. Indeed, upon his return to Cairo he would be named chief engineer of the public works of Upper Egypt. While engaged in what would prove a long career modernizing Egypt's system of irrigation canals and Nile levees, he did not neglect his notion of a communication between the Mediterranean and the Red Seas. He submitted an early plan to the Compagnie Péninsulaire et Orientale in 1841, and in 1844, a set of complete plans. When in 1854 the Compagnie universelle du canal maritime de Suez gained the concession for the canal, Linant was named chief engineer. He retired in 1869 to write his memoir, the best and most flamboyant account of his own deeds.

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