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The longest rivers in the world

longest river in the world

Rivers are one of the most important tools in shaping world history. It was along their shores that most of the ancient civilizations grew and grew in strength, it was their waters that witnessed the times of glory and fall of great empires, and in their currents, countless battles, victorious and lost, were fought. Although the longest rivers in the world have been flowing around our globe almost since the dawn of time, scientists and geologists have not been able to clearly determine the exact length of many of them. The ranking below was created based on data accepted by the majority of scientists and thus cited by the most popular sources of knowledge.

Here are the ten longest rivers in the world:

noRiver NameRiver Length (km)Length (miles)Continent
1Nile River6,6504,130
Africa
2Amazon River6,5753,976
South America
3Yangtze River6,3003,917
Asia
4Mississippi River6,2753,902North America
5Yenisei River5,5393,445Asia
6Yellow River5,4643,395Asia
7Ob-Irtysh River5,4103,364Asia
8Rio de la Plata4,8803,030South America
9Congo River4,7002,922Africa
10Amur4,4442,763Asia
11Lena4,4002,736
12Mekong4,3502,705
13Mackenzie4,2412,637
14Niger4,2002,611
15Brahmaputra River3,9692,466
16Murray River3,6722,282
17Araguaia River3,6502,270
18Volga3,6452,266
19Indus3,6102,250
20Euphrates3,5962,236
noContinentRiver Length (km)Length (miles)Continent

Nile – 6,650 km

This is undoubtedly the longest river in the world. The source of the Nile’s waters is the Kagera, a river originating in Rwanda, which, flowing into Lake Victoria in the East African Highlands, flows out of it as the Victoria Nile (also known as the White Nile). After traveling as much as 6,650 km, the Nile flows into the Mediterranean Sea by a vast delta off the coast of Egypt. The Nile is a life-giving river – most Egyptians have settled along its banks since ancient times. Today, the Nile delta, stretching from the suburbs of Cairo, is fully populated and developed. Other large population centers around the longest rivers of the world are Luxor, Aswan and Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, located where the waters of the White and Blue Nile meet. Nile is the only river which flows through Sahara

river system
The longest river in the world – Nile River

Amazon River – 6400 km

It is not only the second longest river in the world but also one of the widest – its width in the lower course during the rainy season reaches even 100 km. Its mighty waters make it impossible to build any bridge connecting both banks – therefore the river can only be crossed by boat. Since Amazon has more than 200 tributaries, the sources of the Amazon are often located in areas still inaccessible to humans in South America, it is difficult to determine its exact length. The most common value is 6,400 km, but some scientists believe that it measures 7,040 km and thus it is called the longest river in the world.

The 2nd longest river in the world – The Amazon River

Yangtze River – 6300 km

It is the third longest river in Asia and the largest river in the world. The long river, as its name is translated from Chinese, flows out of the mountains of the Tibetan Plateau, and after traveling 6,300 km (according to some sources, even 5,520 km), it flows into the East China Sea off the shores of Shanghai. The Yangtze River (Chang Jiang) basin is home to as much as 40% of the entire Chinese population, and the areas near the river are very conducive to rice cultivation – as much as 75% of the national harvest comes from these regions.

river systems  largest rivers
The third longest river of the world – The Yangtze River known in China as Chang Jiang River

Mississippi – 6275 km

It is the fourth longest river in the world, after the Nile, the Amazon and the Yangtze. The Mississippi River flows from Lake Itasca in the north of the United States, near the Canadian border, flows through the country and after 6275 km travels into the Gulf of Mexico off the southern coast of the USA. The area known as the Mississippi Valley, which extends from central Louisiana to the southern tip of Missouri, is one of the poorest areas in the United States. The Mississippi River runs through a total of 10 US states, and the largest cities on its banks are Minneapolis, Memphis, and New Orleans

The 4th longest river in the world – Mississippi River

Yenisei – 5539 km

It is the longest river flowing into the Arctic Ocean. The Yenisei comes from the Russian city of Kuzil, which is the geographical center of Asia. The length of the river measured from this point is 5,539 km and it is almost entirely navigable. The enormous water resources of the river create enormous energy potential, which is used by numerous hydropower plants. An interesting fact is that the waters of the Yenisei flow through all climatic zones of Siberia, so both polar bears and camels can live along its shores.

One of the longest rivers in the world – Yenisei River

Huang He- Yellow River – 5464 km

It is the second, after the Yangtze, longest river in China, measuring 5,464 km – it is on its shores that the ancient Chinese civilization was born. The course of the river begins in the Bayan Har Shan mountains in central China and ends in the Yellow Sea Bay on the country’s east coast. Huang He is also known worldwide as the Yellow River – it owes this name to loess silt, which gives it its yellow color. The very rapid accumulation of dusty rock deposits in the river bed causes frequent floods and changes in the course of the river, which often have catastrophic consequences for humans and the economy.

Ob – 5410 km

The length of the Ob River, along with its longest tributary, the Irtysh River, is 5410 km, which places it seventh on the list of the 10 longest rivers in the world. It flows from the glacial slopes of the Altai in China, near the border with Mongolia, and flows into the Karsk Seain the arctic zone of the West Siberian Lowland Russia. In some parts of its course, the Ob River is under the ice for up to 220 days a year

One of the longest rivers in the world – River Ob

Parana – 4880 km

It is the second longest river in South America after the Amazon. It is formed from the connection of the waters of two rivers – Rio Grande and Paranaiba, flowing from the mountains of south-eastern Brazil, which is considered the source river of Parana. This river flows into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Argentina and Uruguay, having previously covered a total of 4,880 km. In a 200 km stretch, Parana forms the natural borderline between Brazil and Paraguay, and as it continues it forms a natural border also between Paraguay and Argentina.

One of the longest river in the world Parana Rio grande

Congo – 4,700 km

This river, also known as Zaire, besides being one of the longest, is also the deepest river in the world – its depths reach up to 220 m. The river begins its course in the mountain foothills in the south of the Democratic Republic of Congo, near the border with Zambia. Its current, 4700 km long, surrounds almost the entire country, and finally it flows into the Atlantic Ocean off its west coast. The Congo current is very stable – this river stretches on both sides of the equator, so one of its sections is always in the rainy season. Dense tropical forests that cover a large part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo make land transport impossible, therefore the Congo River acts as the most important communication artery there.

One of the longest rivers of the world and the deepest River in the world – Congo

Amur – 4444 km

This river has its source in the hills of Manchuria in the northeast of China, from where it flows eastwards, forming a natural borderline between the world’s most populous country, China, and the world’s largest country in terms of territory, i.e. Russia. Continuing on for a total of 4,444 km, it reaches its mouth in the Tatar Strait on the Russian coast of the Pacific Ocean. In Chinese, Amur is called Heilong Jiang, meaning the river of the black dragon. The Amur is an important geopolitical symbol in Sino-Russian relations that played a very significant role during the Soviet-Chinese split more than half a century ago.

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Ania James

photographer, traveller, mother of twin girls, wife, worldschooler, rulebreaker

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