Longest Rivers of the World


Priyanka Sarang takes a trip around the world to find out more about the 10 longest rivers.


The Nile is the world�s longest river and is 6,654kms long. The Nile has two main tributaries,namely the White Nile and the Blue Nile. The word �Nile� was derived from the Greek word �Neilos�. In the olden days, the Nile was known as Epi or iteru, which means �great river�. Most of the Nile�s water and fertile soil is found in the Blue Nile. Ten different African nations are connected to the Nile including Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, Uganda, Tanzania,  Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Egypt and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.



The Amazon is the largest and second longest river in the world. It is 6,405kms long. The river has the world�s largest drainage basin. During the rainy season the Amazon nearly triples in total width and the flow of water into the Atlantic Ocean is so large that for kilometres out into the ocean, one cannot taste salt in the water. The Amazon Rainforest holds over one-third of the world�s species and accounts for more than 3,000 recognised fish species. The largest species of river dolphin, called �boto� or Amazon River Dolphin, lives here. The Amazon Rainforest is home to over 300 mammal species including the Jaguar. The flesh-eating piranha is yet another species that is exclusive to the Amazon.



The Yangtze River, also known as Chang Jiang, is Asia�s longest river and is 6,303kms long. The river runs from Qinghai Province to the East China Sea. The Yangtze is of historic, cultural and economic significance to China. The river has the world�s largest hydro-electric power station called the Three Gorges Dam. The river houses two critically endangered species, the Chinese Alligator and Chinese Paddlefish, and one rare species, the Finless Porpoise. The Baiji or Chinese River Dolphin once announced as extinct, has also been spotted here.



The Mississippi River is the fourth longest river in the world and the largest river in the United States. It is about 6,228kms long and starts at Lake Itasca in Minnesota. The river flows southwards towards New Orleans in Louisiana and then to the Gulf of Mexico. The current form of the Mississippi River basin was largely shaped by the Cordilleran Ice Sheet of the most recent Ice Age. The Mississippi has always been a major navigation route through the centre of North America.



The Yenisei River is the greatest river system that flows to the Arctic Ocean. The river is 5,526kms long and around 80ft in depth at its origin in Mongolia. One of the main feeders to this river is the Angara river, which originates at Lake Baikal. The Yenisei River valley is home to a variety of flora and fauna and holds some of the most remarkable tree species including the Siberian pine and the Siberian larch. It is also home to many bird species like the Hooded Crow and the Corvus Cornix. The Ket and Yugh tribes are the earliest nomadic residents along the banks of this river. This river is navigable to ships for most of its course but it does freeze up for almost half of each year.



The Yellow River, which is also popularly as Huang He, is not only the secondlongest river in China but also the sixthlongest river in the world. It is 5,463kms in length and rises in the Bayan Har Mountains located in the Qinghai Province of western China. It is called the Yellow River because of the yellow silt known as �loess� that it accumulates as it flows. However, the upper part of the river is known for its clear water. Chinese civilisation began in the Yellow River basin and the river is thus also known as �the cradle of Chinese civilisation�. The Yellow River is a major source of power for China with at least 12 hydroelectric power stations along its path.



The Ob-Irtysh is the seventhlongest river in the world and runs for about 5,397kms. This river is frozen through six months of the year. There are many canals that connect Ob-Irtysh with the Yenisei River. The main uses of the Ob-Irtysh River are for irrigation, drinking water,  hydroelectric energy and fishing. The river is home to more than 50 species of fish. Grapes, melons and watermelons are grown along some parts of the river. Wildlife spotted here includes giant sea eagles and many different varieties of gulls, ducks and other waterfowl.



The Congo River, also known as the Zaire River, is 4,689kms long. This river is considered to be the largest river in Western- Central Africa as well as the second Longest river in Africa.  The river is the deepest river in the world and has a depth of 23mts. Huge sections of the Congo river fall above and below the Equator. The upper portion of the Congo is known for its 150km-long canyon of rapids often referred to as the �Gates of Hell�. It then flows through the Lualaba Rainforest. The upper Congo abruptly ends with a 120km stretch of rapids called Stanley Falls. Over 200 species of fish live in the Congo. The rainforests around it also house many animals.



The Amur River,  also known as Heilong Jiang or Sahaliyan Ula, is the ninth longest river in the world. It is 4,416kms long and originates from the hills of western Manchuria at the meeting of two rivers, Shilka and Argun. The river flows to the east dividing China and Russia. The river drains into incredibly diverse landscapes of desert, steppe, tundra and taiga. It supports diverse economic activities that include manufacturing, metallurgy, iron mining, non-ferrous metals, gold, coal, hydroelectricity, wheat, millet, soybeans, fishing, timber and Chinese-Russian trade. The world�s fourth-largest oilfield, the Daqing oilfield, is located near Daqing City in Heilongjiang, a few hundred kilometres from the river.



Lena is the world�s tenth longest river measuring 4,399kms and has the ninth largest water shed. This river has been explored since the 1600s largely due to the rich mineral deposits, especially gold, which are found in the areas around it. For around seven months of the year, the delta is frozen. The river is home to diverse marine mammals. Mammoth tusks have also been dug out of the Lena Delta.