Rivers have been instrumental in shaping the world’s history. Most ancient civilizations have sprung up and flourished along the largest rivers on earth. Apart from this, these rivers have seen empires rise and fall, and many battles won and lost. Thousands of gallons of water piercing through the land and rushing towards the sea make up one of Nature’s most amazing creations. Below are listed the largest rivers of the world, by:
- drainage area
- the river’s average discharge
This is the world’s longest river. It spans a mammoth journey of 4,132 miles before the mouth meets the Mediterranean Sea in the form of a vast delta in Egypt. The Nile drains about 10 % of the entire Africa. Nile has only two tributaries; White Nile that originates in Rwanda and Blue Nile from Ethiopia. Both tributaries meet at Sudan. From Sudan, the river flows through Sahara desert and discharges into Mediterranean Sea. This river is the lifeblood of most Egyptians and majority of them live on or near the river. Major settlements on this river include Cairo, Luxor, Aswan, and Khartoum.
Amazon boasts being the 2nd longest river on earth at 3,976 miles. Apart from being one amongst the biggest rivers on earth, it’s also one of the widest rivers in the world measuring seven miles at various places along its course. During the wet season, this river has a width of up to 25 miles at some places. The river has its source in South America and mouth in the Atlantic Ocean. Because of its enormous size, it can count at least 1/5 of the world’s complete flow. This river is so powerful and so big that there aren’t any points along the river that can be crossed by a bridge. Amazon has a very powerful discharge at the mouth which can release as much as 8 trillion gallons of water every day. This river is about 150 deep!
3. Yangtze River
Also known as Chang Jiang or Yangzi, this is the longest river in Asia and the third-longest in the world. The river flows for 3,915 miles from Tibet Plateau in eastward across the southwest, central and eastern China before emptying into East China at Shanghai. It is also one amongst the biggest rivers by discharge volume in the world. This river drains 1/5 of the land of the China, and its river basin is home to 1/3 of China’s population.
This is the chief of the largest drainage system in North America. The river flows in the US; it rises in the northern Minnesota and Meanders slowly southwards for 2,340 miles to Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. The river has numerous tributaries and ranks as the 4th longest and 10th largest river in the world. This river passes and borders through Minnesota, Lowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas.
This is largest river system flowing to the Arctic Ocean. It has a length of 3,445 miles. It is the most famous of three great Siberian rivers that flow into the Arctic Ocean. Rising in Mongolia, the river follows a northerly course to the Yenisei Gulf in Kara Sea, draining a huge part of the central Siberia, the longest stream following the Yenisei-Angara-Selenga-Ider River system.
6. Yellow River
The Yellow River is the 3rd longest river in Asia and world’s 6th longest river at the estimated length of 3,395 miles. The river originates in the Bayan Har Mountain in Western China. The river flows through 9 provinces nine provinces, and empties into Bohai Sea near the city of Dongying in Shandong province. The river basin has an east-west extent of about 1,180 miles and north-south extent of about 680 miles. Its total basin area is approximately 742,442 square kilometers.
7. Ob River
This is a major river in western Siberia, Russia, and the World’s 7th longest river. This river is 3,395 miles long, with a drainage area of 2,990,000 square kilometers and an average discharge of 12,475 cubic meters’ per-second. The Ob forms 16 miles southwest of Biysk in Altai Krai at the confluence of the Katun and Biya rivers.
8. Parana River
This is found in south Central South America with a length of 3,030 miles. The river runs through Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina. It’s the second in length only to Amazon River among South American rivers. It’s also one of the biggest rivers on earth with a drainage area of 2,582,672 Square kilometers and an average discharge of 17,290 cubic meters per-second.
9. Congo River
Previously known as Zaire, this is the world’s deepest river and its found in Africa. It’s the 2nd largest river on earth by volume discharged. It has a length of 2,920 miles making it the 9th longest river on earth. The Congo’s drainage basin is about 4,014,500 square kilometers. This river together with its tributaries flow via Congo rainforest, the 2nd biggest rainforest in the world after Amazon Rainforest.
10. Amur River
The Amur River is the world’s 10th longest river. This river is 2,763 miles long. Amur rises in the hills of Western Manchuria at the confluence of its two major affluents, Shilka River and Eugene River, at an elevation of 994 ft. It flows east forming a border between Russia and China, and slowly makes a great arc to the southeast for about 250 miles, receiving several tributaries and passing many small towns.