A list of the 10 longest rivers in the world and their respective lengths

A list of the 10 longest rivers in the world and their respective lengths

Water is a natural resource, and its importance to man cannot be overemphasised. Over the years, it has been proven that most water bodies are longer, wider, larger, and deeper than others worldwide. The 10 longest rivers in the world have maintained these positions for decades.

Longest rivers in the world
Photo: canva.com (modified by author)
Source: UGC

The exact length of any water body is not easy to find. Still, it is determined by some factors, including identification of the source, that is, where the river starts. The measurement scale is also vital when determining the water length between the source and mouth. Nonetheless, researchers have discovered that the longest rivers' lengths superseded others following these criteria.

10 longest rivers in the world

These water bodies play important roles in human existence. However, their lengths are different; some are longer than others. Below is a list of the ten longest rivers in the world.

1. Nile River

top 20 longest rivers in the world
Felucca sailboats on River Nile, Aswan, Egypt, Africa. Photo: Peter Adams
Source: Getty Images
  • Location: Africa
  • Length in kilometres: 6,695 (4,160 miles)

What is the longest river in the world? The Nile River is the longest in the world, although its actual length is uncertain. It is located in Africa. Its source is Lake Victoria, which drains in the Mediterranean with a drainage area of 3,254,555 square km.

It flows in eleven countries: Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Congo-Kinshasa, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Sudan, and Egypt. It is the primary source for both Egypt and Sudan. The water also has two tributaries: the White Nile, the primary source of the Nile, and the Blue Nile, the primary source of water and silt.

2. Amazon River

10 longest rivers in the world
The Amazon River. Photo: Vittoriano Rastelli
Source: Getty Images
  • Location: South America
  • Length in kilometres: 6,575 (4,086 miles)

It is regarded as the second-longest river in the world. However, this position is arguable as some scientists and researchers disagree and state it is longer than the River Nile. Notwithstanding, it is the longest in South America and the largest in terms of water discharge worldwide.

The sea originates in the Andean Mountains of Peru and drains in the Atlantic Ocean close to Northern Brazil with a drainage area of 7,000,000 square km. It has ocean systems in Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia, Venezuela, and Guyana. It provides 20% of the ocean's fresh water supply.

3. Yangtze River

worlds longest rivers
A container ship is transferred from the wharf of Yangzi Mitsui Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. at Taicang Port Economic and Technological Development Zone in China. Photo: CFOTO/Future Publishing
Source: Getty Images
  • Location: China
  • Length in kilometres: 6,300 (3,917 miles)

This sea is located in China and is the longest to run through an entire country. It is also known as Chang Jiang River (long river) in China and is the longest river in Asia. It is the main waterway in China, and one-third of China's population lives in the Yangtze basin.

The Chinese government regards the Tuotuo tributary in the Tanggula mountain as the source, but other information states otherwise. It drains in the East China sea of Shanghai with an area of 1,800,000 square km. It brought civilisation to China and contributes to 20% of China's GDP growth.

4. Mississippi River

longest river in the us
The mouth of the Mississippi River. Photo: Philip Gould
Source: Getty Images
  • Location: United States
  • Length in kilometres: 6,275 (3,902 miles)

It is the longest river in the US and the fourth in the world. It meets with river Missouri and Jefferson in different parts of the state and is also called river Mississippi-Missouri-Jefferson. It originates in Northern Minnesota, where Lake Itasca is said to be its source, and it drains in the Gulf of Mexico with a drainage area of 2,980,000 square km.

The countries in its drainage basin are USA and Canada. It also has significance to the Native American culture and served as a major means of transportation for the United States in the 19th century.

5. Yenisei Rivers

longest river in the us
Yenisei taiga in May. Photo: Alexander Nikitin
Source: Getty Images
  • Location: Russia
  • Length in kilometres: 5,539 ( 3,445 miles)

It is the fifth-longest river that originates in Mongolia and flows into central Siberia before draining into the Kara sea of the Arctic ocean. It is home to 55 native fish species and the largest to drain into the Arctic Ocean, with a drainage area of 2,580,000 square km.

6. Yellow River

world's longest rivers
Yellow River mouth. Photo: Aldo Pavan
Source: Getty Images
  • Location: China
  • Length in kilometres: 5,464 (3,395 miles)

It is also known as Huang He and remains one of the longest rivers in China and the world. It is called the Yellow River because of its silt. It originates from the Bayan Har mountains in Qinghai province, western China. It drains in the Bohai sea with an area of 745,000 square km.

It aided the Chinese civilisation, yet it was disturbed by floods, which have caused major disasters in China. It is polluted, thereby killing lots of fish species. Some people call it China's Sorrow.

7. Ob-Irtysh River

world's longest rivers
A top view of the bridge over the Irtysh. Photo: Krugloff
Source: Getty Images
  • Location: Russia
  • Length in kilometres: 5,410 (3,364 miles)
  • Length in miles: 3,364

This is the seventh-longest river and is also known as the Ob River. It is among the three greatest Siberian rivers, along with Yenisei and Lena. Its source is Atlas Mountain, which flows into the Gulf of Ob in the Arctic Ocean with a drainage area of 2,990,000 square km.

It is sometimes frozen for half of the year and used as a means of transportation through the remainder of the year. It flows through Russia, Kazakhstan, China, and Mongolia.

8. Rio de la Plata River

10 longest rivers in the world
River Plate basin. Photo: ElOjoTorpe
Source: Getty Images
  • Location: South America
  • Length in kilometres: 4,880 (3,030)

This is one of the world's longest and widest rivers. It flows through Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Bolivia. It serves as a place for fishing and provides water supply to various countries. Rio-de-la-Plata, on its own, is only 290 kilometres long, but it joins River Parana and the Rio Grande to make up 4,880 km. Then, it has a drainage area of 2,582,672 square km.

9. Congo River

second longest river in the world
Congo River is the second largest river in Africa. Photo: Dave G. Houser
Source: Getty Images
  • Location: Central Africa
  • Length in kilometres: 4,700 (2,900 miles)

This is the second-longest river in Africa and one of the world's longest. It is the deepest river in the world, exceeding 220m (720 feet). It is also called the Zaire river and originates from the Lualaba river. It drains into the Atlantic ocean with 3,680,000 square km. It is the only one to cross the equator twice and has diverse species.

It flows through the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, Angola, Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Cameron, Zambia, Burundi, and Rwanda.

10. Amur River

second longest river in the world
Untouched, primaeval nature in the Amur river valley. Photo: bksrus
Source: Getty Images
  • Location: Russia
  • Length in kilometres: 4,444 (2,800 miles)

Also known as Heilong Jiang, the river extends between Northern China and Russia and drains in the sea of Okhotsk with an area of 1,855,000 square km. The Chinese interpret it as the Black Dragon River, fed by the Monsoon rain that falls in Autumn and summer, causing an annual flood.

Is an African river one of the 10 longest rivers in the world?

Yes, River Nile and Congo are the longest rivers in Africa and among the top 10 in the world. But then, River Niger, another African river, makes it to the list of the top 20 longest rivers in the world.

Is the Nile the longest river in the world?

Yes, for ages, it has been the longest. However, in 2007, Brazilian scientists suggested that the Amazon River is the longest based on their findings. According to them, their 14th-day expedition extended the length of the Amazon to 4,225 miles and 6,800 kilometres. Regardless, there have been other speculations, but it has not been confirmed and published, so the Nile remains the longest.

The 10 longest rivers in the world retained these positions for years, though the rivers sometimes extend, and calculations may not be accurate. However, they have been a major help to the overall sustenance of human growth.

As published on Yen.com.gh, recent renovations in some of the stadiums in the world have positioned them to be larger than others. But then, most of these biggest ones are in the United States for college and university football leagues.

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