A river is a substantial natural stream of water that flows via a channel and into the sea. This freshwater flow eventually empties into another body of water downstream, such as a lake, ocean, or larger river.
Rivers have traditionally been vital to nature and human civilization because they allow people to live away from the sea. Even today, most communities on the coast or in the ocean are constructed around or near a river.
All ten of the world’s longest rivers are over 4,000 kilometers / 2,500 miles in length. So let us know the top 10 longest rivers in the world.
1. Nile – (6,650 km)
Streaming via Egypt, Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Congo, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda & Burundi
The Nile is the world’s longest river. It runs from the highlands to the Mediterranean Sea, just off the coast of Egypt, from south to north.
The Nile’s origins are debatable. Lake Victoria, Africa’s biggest and third-largest lake, is said to be the Nile’s source by some. However, Lake Victoria includes several feeder rivers that may have been the Nile’s source, making the world’s longest River even longer.
The term “Nile” is assumed to come from the Greek word “neilos” or the Latin word “Nilus,” which means “valley.” Nilus was described as one of the river gods by the ancient Greek poet Hesiod.
The Nile’s main tributaries are color-coded. Uganda’s Lake Victoria is where the White Nile originates. From Ethiopia’s Lake Tana, the Blue Nile emerges. Further north, the Red Nile appears. Finally, the Yellow Nile began in Chad and is a former tributary.
John Goddard and two French colleagues were the first to cross the River from Burundi to the Mediterranean Sea in 1951. It took nine months to finish the 6,650-kilometer trip.
2. Amazon – (6,575km)
Streaming via Peru, Colombia, Brazil
The Amazon River, located in South America, is the world’s second-longest river. While the Amazon River’s source is still a point of contention, it is now widely recognized as the Mantaro River in Central Peru’s Junin Department.
The River is well-known for several reasons, including its fantastic length, flow velocity, and abundance of life. However, the Amazon River has recently been in the news due to the devastation of the Amazon Forest.
The Amazon River dumps 6,591 cubic kilometers of freshwater into the sea every year. That equates to 209,000 cubic meters per second of discharge. Over 20% of worldwide River flow into oceans is accounted for by this method.
The Amazon River is a real biodiversity hotspot. It is, in reality, the world’s most biodiverse zone. There are an estimated 360 billion trees in the Amazon river basin, representing roughly 16,000 different species.
In the Amazon River Delta, a whole coral reef system exists. The reef is 1,000 kilometers long, encompasses 9,500 square kilometers, and is home to a diverse array of unique aquatic creatures.
There are 1,100 tributaries to the Amazon River. Some of these tributaries stretch for more than 1,497 kilometers. In addition, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, and Brazil have arms.
The Amazon’s depth varies by 15 meters in various areas depending on the season. For example, the Amazon River is over 100 meters deep at its deepest point, yet it is just 20 to 50 meters deep on average.
The biggest species of river dolphin may be found in the Amazon River. The Sahara desert is critical to the Amazon River Ecosystem. Sand and dust from the Sahara are frequently carried by the winds into the Amazon, carrying phosphorus and other essential nutrients.
3. The Yangtze – (6,300km)
China’s most well-known and respected River is the Yangtze. It’s also the country’s main waterway, producing around 20% of GDP. Moreover, it’s Asia’s and the world’s longest river.
The Yangtze River runs into the East China Sea between Shanghai, the world’s most populated city, and Jiangsu, a Chinese province.
In addition, the Yangtze is the world’s busiest river. It’s utilized to carry people, animals, and goods across China by barges, ferries, and cruise ships. Many of these items are sold in other countries.
The Yangtze River has a dramatic drop in height, making it excellent for hydroelectric power generation. The Jinsha River segment has the highest elevation decrease, roughly 3,280 meters.
There are nearly 700 tributaries to the Yangtze, but only eight are considered significant, with annual discharges of greater than 50 cubic kilometers. Over 4,300 different creatures live in the River. Fish account for around 400 of the total.
4. Mississippi – (6,275km)
In terms of size, ecological production, and habitat variety, the Mississippi-Missouri River is among the world’s greatest rivers. The average surface speed of the Mississippi-Missouri River in its headwaters is 1.2 miles per hour, while the river flow in New Orleans is different, at 3 miles per hour.
The Mississippi-Missouri River provides millions of people with daily water. But, in reality, the River provides freshwater to nearly 50 cities.
The Mississippi-Missouri River is home to over 260 fish species, accounting for nearly a quarter of all fish species in North America.
Two persons swam the whole length of the Mississippi River in 68 days and 181 days, respectively, at the Mississippi-Missouri River. Between 2002 and 2015, all of this occurred.
5. The Yenisei – (5,539km)
Streaming via Mongolia, Russia
In central Russia, the Yenisey River is located. The River’s mouth is in Mongolia, and it flows over a vast area with a variety of scenery before reaching the Kara Sea. Yenisey is also called Yenisei or Enisei. “Mother River” is the meaning of the word Yenisey.
It has a significant impact on the traditional occupations of those close to it, particularly in northern villages.
Snow, rains, and groundwater all contribute to Yenisey’s supply. Rain is responsible for around 33% of the River’s water supply.
The River discharges alluvium into the Kara Sea, making it an essential source of alluvium. Around 10.5 million tons of this material are projected to be shipped to the Arctic.
Various fish species, including sturgeon, trout, and salmon, may be found in Yenisey’s abundant waterways. In addition, Grayling, dace, and trout may all be found in the mountains’ headwaters.
The Yenisey River is known as the Life River. That is because many facets of human existence in the region are dependent on it, including jobs, transportation, food, water, and culture.
The Yenisey is around 500 to 700 meters wide on average.
In Russia, the Yenisey is a well-liked river. In the spring, the winter-frozen river begins to thaw and push massive pieces of ice down the stream to the Kara Sea. The scene is breathtaking, and residents and visitors alike are looking forward to it.
6. Yellow River – (5,464km)
The Yellow River is China’s second-longest River starting in the Bayan Har Mountains and draining into the Bohai Sea. The hue of the Yellow River’s lower course inspired its name. The murky appearance of the River is caused by sediments transported downstream after passing over the Loess Plateau.
Confucius, a well-known philosopher, was born in Shandong, near the Yellow River. “The Ungovernable” and “China’s Sorrow” are two of the River’s nicknames.
Over 160 native fish species live in the basin, including paradise fish, carp, stone loaches, gobies, and catfish. Unfortunately, overfishing, pollution, habitat degradation, and invasive species have contributed to a decrease in fish caught.
The ancient Chinese thought that the Yellow River flowed from Heaven, continuing the Milky Way galaxy down on Earth.
7. Ob-Irtysh – (5,410km)
Streaming via Mongolia and China
The Ob-Irtysh rivers join to form one of the world’s greatest river basins. The Ob-Irtysh rivers travel from Central Asia’s mountain ranges across sparsely populated Western Siberia to the Kara Sea, a branch of the Arctic Ocean.
The River originates in Asia’s Altai Mountains and runs 3,362 km into the Arctic Ocean.
The Ob-Irtysh River is frozen for half of the year and intensively used for transportation during the other half. The Ob-Irtysh River is named after its primary tributary, the Irtysh River.
The Ob-Irtysh River is an essential element of the freshwater ecosystem in Russia and Kazakhstan’s arctic regions.
China’s ever-increasing population, along with the country’s high industrial water demand, has steadily depleted the Ob-Irtysh River’s water supply. As a result, water shortages have resulted in Russia and Kazakhstan due to excessive water extraction.
8. Rio de la Plata – (4,880km)
Straming via-uruguay, argentina
The Rio de la Plata begins at the confluence of the Uruguay and Panama rivers. The estuary is a vital economic resource for nations like Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay, since it is the area’s primary fishing ground and a significant supply of water.
9. Congo – (4,700km)
Streaming via -The Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, western Zambia, northern Angola, and Cameroon and Tanzania.
The Congo River is not just a well-known African river, but it’s also a legendary one. In terms of length on the African continent, it is only second to the Nile, but it is as beautiful.
The Congo is the world’s deepest river. A depth of 220 meters has been observed. It does, however, include areas that are far deeper – so deep that light cannot penetrate the sea.
The Congo River is said to have its origins in Zambia’s Chambeshi River.
The River is the world’s second-most voluminous watercourse.
Many poets and authors find inspiration in the Congo River. It was dubbed the “heart of darkness” by novelist Joseph Conrad. The Congo River area was thought to be inhabited by pygmies, mythological animals, and even cannibals due to the mainly unexplored jungle at the time.
10. Amur – (4,444km)
Streaming via Russia and China
The Amur River serves as a natural boundary between Russia and China, both superpowers. “Amur” comes from ancient Asiatic languages that imply “water.” Khar moron, Mongolian for “Black River,” is its name. Heilong Jiang (Black Dragon River) is the Chinese name for it.
The River has over 125 fish species, the most of any Russian river. Northern snakehead, a yellow cheek, taimen, Amur catfish, Amur pike, and predatory carp are just a few of these predatory fish.
Russia’s the Far East, located north of the River, with a population of just 6.3 million people and a population density of one person per square kilometer.
The Bottom Line
The lifeblood of any civilization is rivers. They are essential to the planet’s survival. But, on the other hand, our perennial rivers have recently lost their uniqueness. Some have even dried up, putting them at risk of extinction. Right now, they’re going through a rough patch.
The riverbeds are progressively drying up. Global warming is a significant contributor. Rivers have dried up due to the abrupt shift in the climate.
Rivers can only be saved if we all work together to do so. It’s time to repair the harm that’s already been done. We must unite and fight for the safety of our rivers at this crucial juncture.