We all know that the Nile is the longest river in the world, no spoilers there. But do you know the top ten longest rivers and river systems in the world? I bet you don’t. Read on to know what they are why they are so important for billions of people around the world.
10- Amur and Argun Rivers in Asia
These two rivers come together to form the tenth longest river in the world. The Argun River has its origin in the Inner Mongolia region of China, where it is also known as the Hailar River. The length of this river is approximately 1,007 miles, of which about 600 miles forms a natural boundary between China and Russia. The Amur River in Russia is 2,744 miles long and meets the Argun river to flow into the Pacific Ocean. The river beds of these rivers were the homes of people from ancient China and Russia. The Amur River derives its name from the Russian word for ‘black water.’
9- Congo – Chambeshi in Africa
The Congo River was previously known as the Zaire River. It also holds the distinction of being the deepest river in the world at a depth of 720 ft. This river flows through the second largest rainforest in the world- the Congo Rainforest. It also has two countries named after it- The Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Congo. Whew, that’s a lot of Congos. The Chambeshi river in northeastern Zambia is considered the source of Congo because of being its main headstream. The Chambeshi Rivers rises on the hills and flows about 480 km downwards. These two rivers are used for production of hydroelectricity. They come together to form the ninth longest river in the world with the length of 4,700 km.
8- Parana- Rio de la Plata in South America
The Parana River in Central South America flows through the countries of Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. Its length is about 4,880 km. In fact, the name ‘Parana’ is derived from the Tupi language phrase for ‘as big as the sea.’ The Parana forms a natural border between Paraguay and Argentina. Rio de la Plata or River Plate (as it is commonly referred to as in most English-speaking countries) is the estuary formed on the border between Argentina and Uruguay. Some people do not even consider it a river! If you do, however, look at it as a river, it would be the widest river in the world. A translation of Rio de la Plata means Silver River.
7- Ob- Irtysh in Asia
The Ob River in Siberia, Russia is the world’s seventh longest river. It is also Russia’s fourth longest river. The length of this river is approximately 2268 miles. The Ob River or the Obi River is mostly used for irrigation, fishing and electricity generation. The Irtysh is a major tributary of the Ob River. The Irtysh is a river in Siberia and Kazakhastan. It has its origin in China and flows for about 4,248 kilometers before merging with the Ob River in western Siberia.
6- Yellow River in Asia
This river flows in China. Besides being the sixth longest river in the world, it is also the second longest in Asia with an approximate length of 5,464 kilometers. In early Chinese history, this river gave sustenance to a lot of civilizations. It is therefore called the cradle of Chinese civilization. The Yellow River, however, is prone to devastating floods that wreck havoc in the country. This fact has also earned it names like China’s Sorrow. The name ‘yellow’ is used because it describes the color of the muddy water of the river. The Tibetan name for the river is the River of Peacock. One of its earlier names was Black River. This certainly is a river with many names! The long river flows through nine provinces before emptying into the Bohai Sea.
5- Yenisei River
Along with the Angara River and the Selenga River, the Yenisei River forms the fifth longest river in the world. It rises in Mongolia and is the central of the three great Siberian rivers that flow into the Arctic Ocean. The Angara River is the headwater tributary of the Yenisei and is about 1,779 kilometers long. The Selenga has a length of about 1024 kilometers. It flows into Lake Baikal, just like Angara. The first complete navigation of Yenisei River, including its violent upper tributary, happened only in 2001. The Angara River has three major hydroelectric plants, but the construction of these dams lead to flooding of numerous small villages.
4- Mississippi- Missouri- Jefferson Rivers in North America
The Mississippi River in USA, along with the Missouri River and the Jefferson River, forms the fourth longest river system in the world. The Missouri River is also the longest river in USA with a length of 3,767 kilometers. It originates in the Rocky Mountains and joins the Mississippi River at St. Louis, Missouri. The Jefferson River is a tributary of the Missouri and is about 134 km long. The Mississippi River flows entirely in USA but drains a part of Canada as well. Its rich silt deposits make the Mississippi River Valley one of the most fertile regions of the world. These rivers are a source of livelihood for many people even today. The total length of the river is about 6,275 kilometers.
3- Yangtze River in Asia
This river is again in China. It is about 6,418 kilometers long, making it the third longest river in the world. It is also holds the distinction of being the longest river in Asia. Arising from the Quinghai- Tibet Plateau, it drains into the East China Sea. The Yangtze river basin is home to one third of the population of China! (and China, as we all know, has a Huge population) After suffering from pollution and contamination in the last few years, a few portions of the river are now preserved as natural reserves. The river has several tributaries and receives water from thousands of lakes.
2- Amazon River in South America
Besides being the second longest river in the world, the Amazon River also has the largest waterflow worldwide. The Ucayali and the Apurimac Rivers form the main headwaters of the Amazon. The length of the Amazon River along with the Ucayali and Apurimac is 6,992 kilometers. The fact whether Amazon is shorter than Nile or not is a topic that remains open to debate. The Nile has a length of about 6,650 kilometers and the Amazon of at least 6,400. The reason for the debate has its root over the dispute of the true origin of the Amazon River, which cannot be agreed upon by different authorities. The Amazon flows into the Atlantic Ocean. It is the breeding ground for many species of unique flora and fauna.
1- Nile River in Africa
The dispute about whether Nile is the longest or Amazon has gone on for decades now. The River Nile, however, is traditionally considered the longest river in the world. Along with the Kagera, its length is a whooping 6,853 kilometers. The Kagera forms the upper headwaters of the Nile and flows into Lake Victoria. The source of the Nile is sometimes considered to be Lake Victoria, but this is a point of ambiguity. The water of River Nile is shared between no less than eleven countries, earning it the reputation of an international river. This has lead to constant water disputes between these countries. For the countries of Egypt and Sudan, especially, Nile is the main source of water and therefore the lifeline of millions. The two major tributaries of the Nile are the White Nile and the Blue Nile. This river drains into the Mediterranean Sea. The Nile River derives its name from the ancient Egyptian language word for ‘great river’, which it certainly is, so the naming is apt. A complete navigation of the whole length of the world’s longest river could only be undertaken in 2004.