Top five longest rivers in the world

  • Category
    Geography
  • Published
    22nd Oct, 2019

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Following are the top five longest rivers in the world:

  • Nile river
  • Amazon river
  • Yangtze river
  • Mississippi river
  • Yenisei river

Nile river:

Continent

Africa

Countries it flows through

Egypt, Ethiopia, Sudan, Burundi

Length

6,695 kilometres

Source

Burundi, central Africa

Mouth

Egypt into the Mediterranean Sea

  • The River Nile is in Africa. It originates in Burundi, south of the equator, and flows northward through northeastern Africa, eventually flowing through Egypt and finally draining into the Mediterranean Sea.
  • It is the main source of water in two countries: Egypt and Sudan.
  • The Blue and the White Nile are the two tributaries of the river with the latter having a greater length than the former.
  • The source of the White Nile is not yet fully determined but is believed to be somewhere in Burundi or Rwanda. According to some reports, Lake Victoria is considered to be the source of the White Nile which is, in turn, fed by the Kagera River whose two major tributaries are the Ruvyironza and the Nyabarongo rivers of Burundi and Rwanda, respectively.
  • The Kagera is formed at the confluence of these two rivers near the Tanzania-Rwanda border.
  • The Blue Nile has a more defined origin in Lake Tana in Ethiopia. The two tributaries meet near the Sudanese capital of Khartoum.
  • The Nile River’s final course is through Egypt before it forms a delta and drains into the Mediterranean Sea.
  • The Nile basin is huge and includes parts of Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, Congo (Kinshasa), Kenya.

Continent

South America

Countries it flows through

Peru, Brazil, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia, Guyana

Length

6400 kilometres

Number of tributaries

Over 200

Source

Lago Villafro in the Andes Mountains, Peru

Mouth

Brazil into the Atlantic Ocean (delta)

  • Amazon River:
  • The Amazon River runs 4,000 miles from the Andes to the sea, and is the second longest river in the world.
  • It is also the largest in terms of the size of its watershed, the number of tributaries, and the volume of water discharged into the sea.
  • The headwaters of the Apurímac River were considered to be the origin of the Amazon River. However, a recent 2014 study claims that the origin of the Amazon can be traced to the Cordillera Rumi Cruz from where Peru’s Mantaro River originates.
  • This river then confluences with the Apurímac River (whose headwaters were earlier regarded as the source of the Amazon) and then other tributaries join the river downstream to form the Ucayali River which finally confluences with the Marañón River to form the main stem of the Amazon River.

Yangtze river:

Continent

Asia

Countries it flows through

China

Length

6,378 kilometres

Source

Kulun mountains

Mouth

Yellow Sea at the port of Shanghai

  • The Yangtze River is the world’s third longest river and the longest to flow entirely within one country.
  • It is also Asia’s longest river.
  • The river basin of the Yangtze houses one-third of the population of China.
  • Two origins of the Yangtze River have been suggested. Traditionally, the government of China recognizes the Tuotuo tributary located in the Tanggula Mountains as the source of the river.
  • According to new data, however, the source of the Yangtze River is located in the Jari Hill from where the headwaters of the Dam Qu tributary originate. These tributaries and more join to form the mighty Yangtze River which finally drains into the East China Sea at Shanghai.
  • The Yangze River has over 700 tributaries but the principal tributaries are the Hun, Yalong, Jialing, Min, Tuo Jiang, and Wu Jiang.

Mississippi river:

Country

USA

Length

 6,274 km

Source

Lake Itasca in Minnesota

Mouth

Louisiana into the Gulf of Mexico

  • The river system comprising of the Mississippi, Missouri, and Jefferson rivers, is regarded as the world’s fourth longest river system.
  • The Mississippi River begins in northern Minnesota where Lake Itasca is believed to be the origin of the river and drains into the Gulf of Mexico.
  • When we regard the Jefferson River as the furthest source of the Mississippi River, then we get the Mississippi–Missouri–Jefferson river system.

Continent

Asia

Countries it flows through

Mongolia, China

Length

5,539 km

Source

Mungaragiyn-Gol ridge, Mongolia

Mouth

Kara sea, Central Siberia

  • Yenisei river:
    • This is the world’s fifth-longest river system and the largest draining into the Arctic Ocean.
    • The source of the river is Mungaragiyn-Gol, which is located at the ridge of Dod-Taygasyn-Noor, Mongolia. The Selenge River is regarded as the headwaters of this river system. The Selenge River is 992 km long and drains into Lake Baikal.
    • The Angara River rises from Lake Baikal near Listvyanka and flows through the Irkutsk Oblast of Russia and finally joins the Yenisei River near Strelka.
    • The Yenisei finally drains into the Kara Sea, Arctic Ocean.
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