Rivers have enabled civilisations to kickstart and helped them flourish. Cities by rivers are usually thriving, financially and culturally. The longest rivers in the world are difficult to classify because of the many tributaries that emerge from it. The length of a river is also affected by natural and artificial elements. This list classifies the longest rivers in the world based on the World Atlas article published in 2019.

Travel Across The Longest Rivers In The World

1. Serving 11 Countries: Nile River

Aerial of Juba, the capital of South Sudan, with the river Nile running in the middle, longest rivers in the world
Aerial of Juba, the capital of South Sudan, with the river Nile running in the middle.

It is a well known fact that the Nile is the longest river in the world. Stretching to over 6,693 kilometres, the Nile has 11 countries depending on it namely Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Eritrea , Burundi, South Sudan, Sudan, Egypt and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The biggest river in the world, the Nile’s origin point is still unclear, but is thought to be in Burundi or Rwanda. Also called the father of African rivers, the Nile has two tributaries—the Blue and the White Nile. The Nile river basin was home to the beginning and end of ancient world civilisations.

2. Is This The Longest River In The World?: Amazon River

Amazon river in Brazil, longest rivers in the world
Amazon river in Brazil

The largest river in the world by flow and volume, the Amazon is spread over 6,378 kilometres. The Amazon basin is spread over seven million square kilometres and includes different parts of Peru, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador. The length of the river has been subject to discussion, especially in the 20th century. But since the Amazon river is subject to change affected by seasonal and climatic factors, it is difficult to determine its true length. The origin of the river has also been debated over as originally the headwaters of the Apurímac River but new studies found that the Amazon river’s origin can be tracked to Cordillera Rumi Cruz.

3. All The Way From Plateau Of Tibet: Yangtze River

Cruise ship sailing up the Yangtze River on a hazy morning, longest rivers in the world
Cruise ship sailing up the Yangtze River

The banks of China’s Yangtze river is home for one third of the country’s population. The length of the river extends up to 6,378 kilometres. According to Britannica the source of the Yangtze river is the Plateau of Tibet and its main tributaries are Jialing, Yalung, Min, Han, Gan, Yuan, Wu and Xiang. The Yangtze basin receives an average rainfall of 1,100 millimetres every year. The Yangtze delta is made up of different marshes, tributaries, riverbeds, branches and lakes.

4. Across The USA And Canada: Mississippi-Missouri River

Aerial view of confluence of Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, longest rivers in the world
Aerial view of confluence of Mississippi and Missouri Rivers.

The fourth longest river in the world and the longest river of North America, Mississippi river’s length is 5,970 kilometres. Along with its tributaries the river is present in 31 US states and two provinces of Canada. The plant and animal life in the Mississippi is thriving with organisms among its wild-rice marsh, pondweed, sedges and millets. Main types of fish are spotted here like catfish, carp, suckers, walleyes and garfish.

5. The Huge Siberian River: Yenisei River

Yenisei River in Siberia, longest rivers in the world
Yenisei River in Siberia.

Spread across central Siberia, the length of Yenisei river is 5,539 kilometres. The river moves towards the Kara Sea in the Arctic Ocean. The river’s water is a mix of snow, rainwater and groundwater. Also the largest river in Russia, the Yenisei’s vegetation comprises cedar, Siberian spruce and fir. Different types of fish like lenok, grayling, dace and roach can be found here.

6. China’s Sorrow: Yellow River

Yellow river (River Huanghe ) Sichuan province, China.
longest rivers in the world
Yellow river (River Huanghe ) Sichuan province, China.

Another river from China, the Yellow river runs over 5,464 kilometres. The river crosses seven provinces starting from Qinghai province located on the Plateau of Tibet. The Yellow river moves towards the BoHai gulf. It is also called China’s Sorrow because a segment of the river is unsettling and constantly moving causing floods in the Northern China Plain. Among the longest rivers in the world, the Yellow river is made of three segments—a mountainous upper at an elevation above 4,600 metres, the plateau middle course that is spread over 2,900 kilometres, and a lower course across the plains extending up to 700 kilometres.

7. From China To Siberia: Ob-Irtysh River

White mountain river in Altai. Altay where Russia, China, Mongolia, and Kazakhstan come together, and where the rivers Ob and Irtysh have their headwaters, longest rivers in the world
White mountain river in Altai. Altay where Russia, China, Mongolia, and Kazakhstan come together, and where the rivers Ob and Irtysh have their headwaters

Spread across an area of 5,410 kilometres, the Ob-Irtysh stretches across Russia, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia. The Ob river is the longest in Russia and has its origins in the Asian Altai Mountains. The Ob basin covers different types of regions—coniferous forests, deserts, plains and grasslands. One of the longest rivers in Asia, the Irtysh river is spread over 4,248 kilometres. The river starts from the glaciers of the Altai Mountains in Xinjiang, China, flows across Kazakhstan, crosses the West Siberian Plain and moves on to meet Ob River around Khanty-Mansiysk, Siberia. Together both the rivers make for one of the longest rivers in the world. 

Recycle For The Rivers

The other longest rivers in the world include Río de la Plata-Paraná, Congo, and Amur-Argu-Kherlen. Some of these rivers are already suffering from waste being dumped into them. To not further deteriorate the health of these rivers we all need to adopt eco-friendly methods, find ways to reduce plastic waste, and adopt proper waste disposal practices.

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