Rivers are one of the greatest gifts from the mother nature. They offer stunning views, support rich ecosystems, and enable efficient transportation. Almost all of the greatest civilizations throughout human history have flourished on the banks of rivers. Here we take a look at the top 10 longest rivers in the world. Experts define a river as a natural watercourse flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river.
Top 10 longest rivers in the world
It’s not always easy to determine the length of a river. Sometimes it’s difficult to identify or define the place of origin, the number of channels, and whether you are measuring the center or the edge of the river. Seasonal changes, floods, erosion, dams, and other factors could also alter the length of a river. There is a debate among experts on whether the Nile River in Africa or the Amazon River in South America is the longest river in the world. Most studies have declared the Nile to be longer than its South American counterpart. The Guinness World Record also belongs to the Nile.
These are the top 10 longest rivers in the world and their length:
10- The Amur-Argun River
This 2,763 miles long river forms the border between Northeastern China and the Russian Far East. The term amur means water. In China, the river is called Heilong Jiang, which translates to “black dragon river.” The Amur is formed by the junction of the Argun and Shilka rivers.
9- Congo River, Africa
The Congo River is not only one of the top 10 longest rivers in the world but also holds the crown of being the deepest river with measured depths of 720 feet in some places. This 2,922 miles long river is also the third largest on the planet by the volume of water discharged. It also happens to be the only river in the world to cross the equator twice. It was previously known as the Zaire River.
8- Rio de la Plata-Parana, South America
The Paran River is the second longest river in South America. It is 3,030 miles long and flows through Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Bolivia. It’s an important economic resource for these nations. It joins the Uruguay River to form the Río de la Plata estuary that serves as the core fishing ground. The upper course of the river has three tributaries – the Iguacu, the Tiete, and the Paranapanema.
7- The Ob-Irtysh River, Russia
The 3,364 miles long Ob River in Russia is frozen for half of the year. It is one of the three great Siberian rivers – the other two being the Lena and the Yenisei. The Ob River connects to the Irtysh tributary and flows through Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and China. The Ob is also the junction of Biya and Katun rivers.
6- The Yellow River, China
The Yellow River, also known as Huang He, is one of the longest rivers in China. It is often described as “the cradle of Chinese civilization” because its basin is the birthplace of the ancient Chinese civilization. According to experts, its water is so polluted that it’s unhealthy for people to drink. About a third of the fish species in the river are estimated to have gone extinct. The Huang He is 3,395 miles long. It originates in the Bayankala Mountains in Qinghai province and drains into the Bohai Sea.
5- Yenisei River, Russia
Measuring 3,445 miles in length, the Yenisei is the longest river in Russia. A small part of it also flows in Mongolia. It flows towards the Arctic Ocean and drains into the Kara Sea. Its tributaries are the Angara River, the Lower Tunguska, and the Tunguska River. A lot of ancient Siberian nomadic tribes lived on the banks of the Yenisei river.
4- Mississippi-Missouri River system, North America
The Missouri River is the upstream continuation of the Mississippi River. The Mississippi-Missouri River system is 3,902 miles long, making it one of the world’s top 10 longest rivers. It flows towards the Gulf of Mexico, though a small part of it also flows through Canadian territory. At its widest point, the Mississippi River is roughly 7 miles in width.
3- Yangtze River, China
The Yangtze River, also known as Chang Jiang, is the longest river in Asia at 3,917 miles. It originates in the Tibetan Plateau and drains into the East China Sea. Yangtze translates to “child of the ocean.” It is the longest river on the planet to flow entirely through only one country.
2- The Amazon River, South America
The 3,976 miles long Amazon River flows through Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, Guyana, and Venezuela before pouring itself into the Atlantic Ocean. It is considered smaller than the Nile because of the way it is defined, and the Para River is technically not a part of it. Anyway, it has the title of holding the largest amount of water at any given point of time. Its average water discharge is higher than the next seven longest rivers combined.
1- The Nile River, Africa
The ancient Egyptian civilization flourished on the banks of the Nile River, which is 4,132 miles long. Though most people associate it with Egypt, the river passes through 11 countries including Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Eritrea, Rwanda, Burundi, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is a critical source of water for several African nations. It pours itself into the Mediterranean Sea.