It's anecdotes like this that fascinate me:
The biggest impact of the Civil War was on the Middle East rather than the Middle East on the Civil War. The biggest impact was cotton. When the North blockaded Southern cotton the textile mills of Europe went dry. So they turned to the only other place in the world that had cotton of a similar quality and that was in Egypt. The price of Egyptian cotton went up about 800 times. Egypt made a lot of money. And with that money they built wonderful buildings and palaces, they built the opera house where Verdi used to perform, and they also built the Suez Canal which completely changed the face of the Middle East.
In 1869 the cotton market in the South came back and the Egyptian cotton market went bankrupt. Egypt went bankrupt and that led to the British occupation of Egypt that lasted for 70 years. There was actually a direct line between the Civil War and the Suez crisis of 1956 during which the Egyptians tried to nationalize the Suez Canal. Britain and France invaded. And so, really, the reverberations from the American Civil War in certain ways continue to course across the Middle East.
I've read a lot about the Civil War, and a fair amount about European history - and there's a connection that I had never seen before. History continues to echo back at us, with current events being influenced by things long forgotten - and many times, things that are seemingly unrelated.