The 10 Longest Rivers in the World

 

You know, taking measurements correctly is never easy since it always happens that you accidentally add or remove a few centimeters. Seems like a daunting task, right?

Now imagine if you need to calculate the exact length of a river… trust us – it’s mission impossible! No wonder there has always been a dispute over whether Nile and Amazon is the longest river in the world.

What makes measuring a river so difficult is that there are many uncertainties regarding what needs to be measured. Namely, it’s not clear whether the length of the river crossing a lake should be measured or not. Also, it’s not always possible to establish the source and mouth of the river with certainty as a river often has many tributaries or it may have a particularly large estuary. And, while measuring a river’s size is almost impossible, some recent studies have allowed for the creation of a rather accurate ranking, according to which these are the 10 longest rivers in the world.

10. Lena

10. Lena

Length: 4.400 km
Spring: Baikal Mountains
Countries crossed by the river: Russia
Flows into: the Laptev Sea

We start our ranking with Lena. Born in the Baikal Mountains, it flows through Russian territory for 4,400 km until it flows into the Laptev Sea.

9. Amur

9. Amur

Credit: User:Vmenkov

Length: 4.444 km
Spring: Hėntij Province (Mongolia)
Countries crossed by the river: Russia, China
Flows into: Nikolaevsk-na-Amure (Strait of Tartars)

Amur, or Heilong Jiang, is the 9th longest river on the planet, with 4,444 km. It forms the border between the Russian east and north-east China.

8. The Mekong

8. The Mekong

Length: 4,880 kilometers
Spring: Tibet Plateau
Countries crossed by the river: China, Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam
Flows into: South China Sea

Higher up is the Mekong, with a length of 4,880 km. It flows through six countries and into the South China Sea.

7. Ob

7. Ob

Length: 5.410 kilometers
Spring: Altai Mountains
Countries crossed by the river: Russia
Flows into: Kara Sea

Ob and its major tributary Irtysh are placed in seventh place with an overall length of 5,410 km.

6. Yellow River

6. Yellow River

Length: 5,464 kilometers
Spring: Bayan Har Mountains (Yushu Prefecture)
Countries crossed by the river: China
Flows into: Bo Hai (Kenli County)

The Yellow River, or Huang He, is the second-longest river in China, after the Yangtze River, and the 6th longest in the world. Its estimated length is 5,464 kilometers.

5. Enisej

5. Enisej

Credit: Ninaras

Length: 5.550 kilometers
Spring: Altai Mountains
Countries crossed by the river: Russia
Flows into: Kara Sea (Arctic Ocean)

Together with its tributaries, it forms the Enisej-Angara-Selenga river system. It’s the largest river that flows into the Arctic Ocean.

4. Yangtze River

4. Yangtze River

Length: 5,797 kilometers
Spring: Qinghai
Countries crossed by the river: China
Flows into: East China Sea

The Yangtze River, or Chang Jiang, is the longest river in Asia, and the fourth-longest in the world. It starts from the glaciers of Qinghai-Tibet and runs for 5,797 kilometers.

3. Mississippi

3. Mississippi

Length: 5,970 kilometers
Spring: Lake Itasca
Countries crossed by the river: USA
Flows into: Gulf of Mexico

Mississippi flows entirely in the United States. It rises in the north of Minnesota and goes south for 5,970 kilometers.

2. Amazon

2. Amazon

Credit: lubasi

 

Length: 6,400 kilometers
Spring: Nevado Mismi
Countries crossed by the river: Peru, Colombia, Brazil
Flows into: Atlantic Ocean

Amazon is the second-longest river in the world as well as the one with the largest water flow.

1. The Nile

1. The Nile

Length: 6,650 kilometers
Spring: Mount Kikizi (Rutovu)
Countries crossed by the river: Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, Republic of Congo, Uganda, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Sudan, Egypt
Flows into: Mediterranean Sea

The Nile is the longest river in the world and the most important one in history. It flows in north-eastern Africa and crosses ten countries.

Fun Facts About Rivers in the World

How many rivers are there in the world? There are around 773,000 square kilometers of rivers and streams.

Which are the shortest rivers in the world? Tamborasi in Indonesia (20 meters long), Kovasselva in Norway (20 meters long), Reprua in Georgia (about 27 meters), and Roe in Montana, USA (61 meters).

Which country has the most rivers? Russia, with 36 rivers.

What are Naga fireballs? The Mekong River in Thailand is famous for some fireballs emerging from the water, which have inspired many legends. It is assumed that they are the result of methane gas leaks.

Who is Fabio Arcella? He is an Italian-Slovenian swimmer, better known by the name of Martin Strel, who swam the entire length of Mississippi, Amazon, Danube, and Yangtze rivers, thus setting several world records.

Can the river flow be reversed? Yes, it happened on the Mississippi River during the New Madrid earthquakes (some of the most powerful in US history).

Which is the most polluted river? Some recent studies have shown that it’s the Yangtze River, in China.