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The Longest Rivers in the World – Top 5 List

ByDoris Iverson

May 18, 2022
world’s longest rivers2

Rivers are immensely important to the survival of humankind and animals. Throughout the centuries, rivers have continued to play vital economic, social, ecological, and cultural roles. Only 178.6 kilometers apart, the River Nile in Africa and the Amazon River in South America are the two longest rivers in the world. Read on to discover facts about each river, its length in kilometers and miles, and its residence country.


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5 Longest Rivers In The World

RankRiver nameLengthLocation
1River Nile6,853 km (4,159 miles)Egypt
2Amazon River6,400 km (3,976 miles)South America
3The Yangtze6300 km (3915 miles)China
4Jefferson – Mississippi – Missouri river5,969 km (3,709 miles)North America
5Ob Irtysh River5,410 kilometers (2,299 mi)Russia

1. River Nile in Africa

river nile in africa

  • Length: 6,853 km (4,159 miles)
  • Source: Atbarah, White Nile, Blue Nile River
  • Flowing through: Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, Congo, Uganda, Ethiopia, South Sudan, and Egypt

The fascinating Nile is the longest river in the world. With the spectacular pyramids resting at the backdrop in Egypt, the river takes a captivating form in North East Africa. The river Nile is 6,853 km (4,159 miles) long and besides Egypt, the river also runs through Congo, Burundi, Sudan, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Kenya. As you see, it’s an international river with a drainage basin that extends to more than 10 countries.


2. Amazon River In South America

amazon river

  • Length: 6,400 km (3,976 miles)
  • Source: Mantaro River
  • Flowing through: Brazil, Peru, and Colombia

With a length of 6,992 km (4,345 miles), the Amazon River is the second-longest river in the world. It’s a very important water body for Ecuador, Peru, and Colombia. The river runs through French Guiana, Suriname, Guyana, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Brazil.

Although the source of the river remains controversial, scientists believe the Nile originates from the Mantaro River. The Amazon River and the surrounding rainforest are a true biodiversity treasure. It’s without a doubt the most diverse area in the world.


3. The Yangtze in China

the yangtze in china

  • Length: 6300 km (3915 miles)
  • Source: Qinghai Tibet Plateau, China
  • Flowing through: China

Next on our list of the longest rivers in the world is The Yangtze, a great river located in China, where it’s widely known as Chang Jiang River, which translates to ‘a long river’. It’s Asia’s longest river running for at least 6300 km (3915 miles).

The origins of the river can be traced back to the Qinghai Tibet Plateau glaciers. The river flows eastwards through some of the largest cities in China and incredible natural landscapes like The Gorges. Its mouth is located between the Chinese province of Jiangsu and Shanghai, one of the most populated cities across the globe.


4. The Jefferson – Mississippi – Missouri River System In North America

mississippi missouri river

  • Length: 5,969 km (3,709 miles)
  • Source: 3 rivers combine (Jefferson – Mississippi – Missouri River)
  • Flowing through: North America

The fourth-longest river in the world is located in North America. The Mississippi Missouri River is 5,969 km (3,709 miles) long and serves recreation, industry, and transportation as one of the most important inland waterways in the United States.

The Missouri River, The Mississippi River, and the Jefferson River combine to form this huge water body. The main reason these rivers are grouped together as a system is that the Mississippi River meets the Missouri River near St. Louis city and then combines with the Jefferson River to form the system.


5. Ob Irtysh River in Asia

ob irtysh river

  • Length: 5,410 kilometers (2,299 mi)
  • Source: Altai Mountains, Mongolia
  • Flowing through: Mongolia, China, Kazakhstan, and Russia

Our list of the top 5 world longest rivers is completed by Ob Irtysh River. With a length of 5,410 kilometers (2,299 mi), the Ob Irtysh is the longest tributary river across the globe. Rising from the glaciers on the slopes of Altai Mountains, the Irtysh flows via Kazakhstan before it reaches the Russian Ob.

The Ob originates from the border of Russia and Mongolia before it flows to the Arctic Ocean. The Ob Irtysh River serves as a major waterway, facilitating cargo transport from rural areas in Russia to major cities and prime trade centers in the country. Both industrial goods and industrial produce meant for export and import are traded along this navigable waterway.

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