Rivers are the source of nourishment and the elixirs of life. River valleys have been cradles of civilization and support major life forms, flora and fauna. While serving as primary sources of food, vegetation, and many other purposes, they are the source of it all, and the end of it all too.People have worshipped rivers since time immemorial due to their bounty, and the paramount importance of water for supporting life.
Today, water has shaped every major activity in our lives. Earlier, it was used for drinking and cleaning, but today water is used in literally every sphere of our lives. From the Indus Valley Civilization to the Egyptian Civilization, every major step towards the advancement of humankind commenced on the banks of the rivers. From animals to plants to every single living being on the planet, every single organism survives on rivers. Let us look at the 10 longest rivers in the world which have shaped lives and carried civilizations forward.
- Top 10 Longest Rivers In The World
- 10. Lena – Siberian, Arctic Ocean – 4,472km (2779 miles)
- 9. Congo – Chambeshi, Africa – 4,700km (2,922 miles)
- 8. Paraná – Río de la Plata, South America – 4,880km (3,030 miles)
- 7. Ob – Irtysh, Asia – 5,410km (3,364 miles)
- 6. Yellow River, China – 5,464km (3,395 miles)
- 5. Yenisei – Angara – Selenge, Asia – 5,539km (3,445 miles)
- 4. Mississippi – Missouri – Jefferson, North America – 6,275 km (3,902 miles)
- 3. Yangtze River, China – 6,300 km (3,917 miles)
- 2. Amazon River, South America – 6,400 km (3,976 miles)
- 1. Nile River, North-East Africa – 6,650 km (4,132 miles)
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Top 10 Longest Rivers In The World
10. Lena – Siberian, Arctic Ocean – 4,472km (2779 miles)
Lena forms the network of the 3 Siberian rivers merging into the Arctic Ocean which includes Ob and Yenisei. This river is the 3rd largest in Asia and has the 9th largest catchment area in the world. It originates in the Baikal mountains and flows almost entirely in Russia while moving through Yakutsk, Verkhoyansk Range and ultimately terminating in the Lena Delta.
9. Congo – Chambeshi, Africa – 4,700km (2,922 miles)
The Congo River is ranked as the world’s deepest river with a depth of of 220 m (720 ft). it is ranked as the second longest river in Africa and covers almost 13% of Africa’s landmass. The Congo basin has the most distinct flora and fauna in the world.
8. Paraná – Río de la Plata, South America – 4,880km (3,030 miles)
The Parana river flows through Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay and merges into the Atlantic Ocean. Apart from providing a source of livelihood to fishermen, this river also is a prominent shipping route and also generates hydroelectric power.
7. Ob – Irtysh, Asia – 5,410km (3,364 miles)
This river drains the countries of China, Russia, Mongolia and Kazakhstan. The Ob river forms the three river network merging into the Arctic Ocean including the river Lena and Yenisei. From agriculture to electricity, daily consumption to food, the residents surrounding the basin are dependent on Ob for everything. Ob houses more than 50 species of fish and also provides hydroelectric power to the area.
6. Yellow River, China – 5,464km (3,395 miles)
The third longest river in Asia and the 5th longest river in the world, the Yellow River is also addressed as Huang He. This river is also known as China’s Sorrow and Scourge of the Han People due to perpetual flooding, changed courses leading to devastation in its basin. It once had one of the most fertile and prosperous basins in the world. This river passes through China and some regions in Mongolia. The river basin is known for crystal clear lakes.
5. Yenisei – Angara – Selenge, Asia – 5,539km (3,445 miles)
The Yenisei river flows from Russia towards Mongolia and empties itself into the Arctic Ocean. It drains a major portion of Siberia and forms a network of three major river merging with the Arctic Ocean which includes rivers Ob and Lena. The major portion of the river is based in Mongolia and also drains the Yenisei Gulf in the Kara Sea. This river houses an abundance of flora and fauna including 55 species of native fish and exotic flora including Siberian larch and Siberian pine, as well as the Scots pine. The Taimyr reindeer is an exclusive reindeer found mainly in the basin of this river.
4. Mississippi – Missouri – Jefferson, North America – 6,275 km (3,902 miles)
The Mississippi river forms core of the largest drainage network of North America covering a major portion United States and 2 states in Canada. Originating in Minnesota, the Mississippi river moves towards the Mississippi River Delta to terminate at the Gulf of Mexico. This river covers mostly all the states in the US and is ranked as the 15th largest river and 4th longest river in the world. It drains a major portion of US states including Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana. It also traverses through the Rocky and Appalachian mountains in Canada. The Mississippi river has been witness to the development of trade and commerce from Europe to the US serving as the cradle of the emergence of the United States as a global superpower.
3. Yangtze River, China – 6,300 km (3,917 miles)
The third largest river in the world and the largest river in Asia, the Yangtze River extends to over one fifth of the land area China and its river basin houses more than one third of China’s population. The Yangtze River contributes to more than 20% of China’s GDP thus playing a significant role in the country’s economy. The river isn’t alien to disputes over the past century including countries like Hong Kong, USA to name a few. Yangtze river basin is also home to unique species of flora and fauna. Noteworthy to mention are Chinese alligator, the finless porpoise, the Chinese paddlefish, Yangtze River dolphin, and the Yangtze sturgeon.
2. Amazon River, South America – 6,400 km (3,976 miles)
This river is the second on the list and flows through South America including Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Guyana. The Amazon river is the largest river in the world in terms of discharge volume while the Amazon river basin is one of the most fertile river basins in the world. This river also traverses the largest distance thus providing drainage to 7 countries. This river merges with the Atlantic Ocean to contribute to around 20% of the global riverine discharge to the ocean. The Amazon river has a wealth of flora and fauna including exotic species like Orinoco, anaconda to name a few. The Amazon river also houses the Amazon rainforest home to the world’s largest reserves of flora and fauna.
1. Nile River, North-East Africa – 6,650 km (4,132 miles)
Nile River is the longest in the world. Housed in Africa, it passes through 11 nations, supporting their lives and housing living beings. These countries include Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Sudan and Egypt. With 2 main tributaries, namely the White Nile and the Blue Nile, the Nile is the sole water source for Egypt and Sudan. While this river has shaped the lives, kingdoms and civilizations in Egypt and Sudan, the Nile flows further to merge with the Mediterranean sea. Despite being the longest river in the world, countries have forever landed themselves into disputes over water sharing and many agreements had to be formulated.