Rivers have been a source of water for human lives. The first human civilizations were all near a river as these provided humans with water. With the advent of technology, the water transport systems have developed and we no longer need to settle on the river banks. Rivers have now become a lot more than just sources of water. They have become recreational spots, being hosts to many activities such as kayaking, boating, and fishing.
The topic of the longest river in the world has been a much-debated issue for the past two decades. The technique of the length measurements vary from one group to another, and therefore we have a range of lengths in which the river’s length lies. Also taken into consideration is the furthest water source which drains into the river. Therefore, it is a much-debated topic. In 2007, scientists on an expedition discovered that Amazon was much longer than the Nile, which made Amazon the longest river in the world. In 2009, a study published in the International Journal of Digital Earth showed that the Nile is much longer than the length it was previously measured, and if this length is taken into account, Nile remains the longest.
In this list of rivers, we have taken the longest lengths of the rivers from all the lengths provided. Happy Reading and Discovering some facts about the longest water bodies in the world.
Longest rivers in the world
|Nile River||7,088 km|
|Amazon River||6,992 km|
|Yangtze River||6,418 km|
|Yenisei River||5,539 km|
|Yellow River||5,464 km|
|Ob River||5,410 km|
|Río de la Plata||4,880 km|
|Congo River||4,700 km|
|Amur River||4,444 km|
|Lena River||4,400 km|
|Mekong River||4,350 km|
1. Nile River (7,088 km)
This African wonder travels through eleven countries, which include Ethiopia, Eretria, Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Egypt, Congo, and South Sudan. The river is the lifeline of South Sudan and Egypt. There are mainly two tributaries of this mighty river- the Blue Nile, which starts in Ethiopia and the White Nile, which starts on South Sudan. The tributaries merge together in the Sudanese city of Khartoum and flow north into the Mediterranean Sea. More than 95% of the Egyptian population lives within a few miles of the banks of Nile. It is also home to wonderful wildlife, and the cause of the annual two-week holiday in Egypt called the ‘Wafaa an-Nil’.
2. Amazon River (6,992 km)
This Central American river is the second largest and runs through Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, and Guyana. The river originates from various tributaries and ends in the Atlantic Ocean. During the monsoon, the width of this river with absolutely no bridges can reach up to 190 kilometers. There are over 3000 species of fish (including piranhas) found in the waters of this river, along with the giant anacondas.
3. Yangtze River (6,418 km)
This river flows through China into the East China Sea. Many iconic bridges have been built on this river. The Yangtze is also the longest river in Asia and the longest in the world to flow entirely within one country. The Three Gorges Dam on the river is the biggest hydroelectric dam in the world. It houses various animal, fish and plant species, some of which, including the Chinese Alligator, the Finless Porpoise and the Chinese Paddlefish are endangered.
4. Mississippi-Missouri (6,275 km)
Ending in the Gulf of Mexico, this river flows mainly through the United States, (97%) and the rest through Canada (1.5%). The Mississippi- Missouri river system is the largest in the USA and North America. This River also has the world’s fourth largest drainage basin, which covers more than 3,220,000 square kilometers. In and around the river, more than 260 fish species, 325 bird species, 59 mammal species, and 145 amphibian species have been found.
5. Yenisei River (5,539 km)
This major part of this river flows through Russia (97%) and the remaining through Mongolia (2.9%). This river is a great source of hydroelectric power. Not only this, an oil refinery lies on one of its tributaries. Salmon and Sturgeon are amongst the most found fish in the river, which makes a brilliant spot for fishing. In the winters, the river sometimes freezes and floods can be a result. To shatter ice, explosives are used and icebreaker boats are also used to keep the shipping lanes open.
6. Yellow River (5,464 km)
The Yellow River or the Huang He is a Chinese river that ends in the Bohai Sea. It is called the Yellow River because the color of the river turns yellow to the presence of less sediment. It has a very slow flow and is one of the muddiest major rivers in the world. The Hukou Waterfall that originates from his river is the second largest waterfall in China.
7. Ob River (5,410 km)
This river runs through Russia, Kazakhstan, China, and Mongolia before draining into the Gulf of Ob. This river is an inexhaustible water resource of great importance to the Russian Federation. And, interestingly, this river flows from the South to the North, unlike most Russian Rivers. This river is home to almost fifty kinds of fish.
8. Río de la Plata (4,880 km)
This approximately five thousand kilometers long river runs through five countries- Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, and Uruguay. This water body may be considered a river, an estuary, a gulf or a marginal sea. If considered a river, it is the widest river in the world with a width of about 2,000 kilometers. It is also known as River Plate or La Plata River.
9. Congo River (4,700 km)
The ninth longest river ending in the Atlantic Ocean travels through Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Angola, Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Cameroon, Zambia, Burundi, and Rwanda.
10. Amur River (4,444 km)
The Amur or Heilong Jiang (as it is known in Chinese) is the tenth longest river and it flows through the nations of Russia, China, and Mongolia. This river is called “Beige” by the Chinese, which means the black river. Along with salmon and Sturgeon, there are about 140 different types of fish found in the waters of Amur, which is more than any Russian River. The water does not enter the river’s through the glaciers but through the monsoon. Also, the river has breathtaking views and floods annually, like many other Russian Rivers.
11. Lena River (4,400 km)
This Russian River is the eleventh in the list, and it outflows into the Laptev Sea. It is also the longest river to flow inside Russia. The river is situated in areas that experience harsh cold is ice-free for only 130 days a year. Flooding occurs annually as a result of the melting of ice in spring. When it isn’t frozen, it is home to various fish and migratory birds.
12. Mekong River (4,350 km)
Traveling through China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam to the South China Sea, this river is sure to surprise you. This river is addressed by different names in each country and contains 16 WWF ecoregions of the ‘Global 200’.
The list of the longest rivers ends here and you can now decide which picturesque river bank is the next in your visit list. You can either take in the amazing scenery at the Amur River or become a part of the two-week-long Egyptian celebrations of the Nile and make memories worth a lifetime with your loved ones.