Top 12 Longest Rivers in the World

Isn’t it ironic that even though Earth is called the “blue planet” due to abundance of water on its surface, there is actually a huge scarcity of potable water in the world? With nearly 70% of its surface covered in water, did you know that only 1% of its 70% is actually fit for human use? Just imagine a huge bucket of water that is out there and in it, only one drop is available for your survival. Here comes the important part, nearly 80% of the 1% potable water actually comes from rivers and glaciers. Now, as you have understood the importance of rivers, you might have also noticed that they are the biggest source of fresh water as well as important for survival. There are many major rivers spread throughout the world, but there are some which are so massive and long that the whole ecosystem of multiple countries depends on them. Read on to know about the top 12 longest rivers in the world which change the world everyday!

12. Mekong River


The Mekong is a major river in the Southeast Asia which runs through Tibet, China’s Yunnan province, Burma, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. It is the 4th longest river in Asia and is 12th on our list in the world. It is one of the leading hydro-power generating river with over 20 dams built throughout its course. It also houses one of the most rare species of turtles called cantor’s giant soft-shell turtle which has no solid exoskeleton.

Length: 4,350 Km

Upper basin: Yunnan province

Lower basin: Thailand

Drainage: South China Sea

11. Lena River


The Lena is one of the three major rivers that drains into the Arctic sea and it is also the 3rd longest river in Asia. Moreover, its basin lies entirely inside Russia an has one of the largest watersheds in the world. It has many bio-reserves which are totally dependent on it for irrigation and water demand. It originates from the Baikal mountains in the Siberian plateau.

Length: 4,400 Km

Upper basin: Siberian plateau

Lower basin: Laptev Sea

Drainage: Arctic Ocean

10. Amur River


The Amur aka “Black dragon river”, is the world’s 10th longest river in the world which runs from Far-eastern Russia to Northeastern China. It originates in Mongolia and runs through several cities before making it to the Strait of Tartary in Russia. The best thing about this river is that it houses the largest of the Kaluga fish species in its fresh waters.

Length: 4,444 Km

Upper basin: Khentii province

Lower basin: Strait of Tartary

Drainage: The mouth, Russia

9. Congo-Chambeshi River


It is the second largest river in the world by discharge and is the deepest river in the world with depths exceeding 220 m. Moreover, it is one of the most important rivers in Africa due to extreme dependency on it for survival. It runs through 11 central African countries and is very crucial for transportation and trade between these countries.

Length: 4,700 Km

Upper basin: Kisangani

Lower basin: Muanda

Drainage: Atlantic Ocean

8. Parana River


The Parana river runs through countries in the South American continent namely; Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. It is the second longest river in the South American continent behind the Amazon. It is crucial for fishermen and also house many fisheries along the course. It is mainly used as waterways between major cities and it directly affects the people living along the coast.

Length: 4,880 Km

Upper basin: Rio Paranaiba

Lower basin: Rio de la Plata

Drainage: Atlantic Ocean

7. Ob-Irtysh System


Ob-Irtysh system is the combined river system of Ob river and Irtysh river. The Irtysh river originates in Russia and later joins Ob river which flows through Russia, China, Kazakhstan and Mongolia. The water from this system is mainly used for irrigation, hydroelectricity and drinking water. Moreover, it contains over 50 different species of fish.

Length: 5,410 Km

Upper basin: Altai mountains

Lower basin: Gulf of Ob

Drainage: Arctic Ocean

6. Huang He River


Huang He is more famously known as the ‘Yellow river’. It is the 2nd longest river in Asia and is sixth longest in the world. It originates in Bayan Har mountains in Qinghai province in China and empties into Bohai Sea. It was the birthplace of the ancient Chinese civilization and due to frequent floods it is also known as the “China’s sorrow”.

Length: 5,464 Km

Upper basin: Qinghai

Lower basin: Shandong

Drainage: Bohai Sea

5. Yenisei River System


The Yenisei river is the largest river system flowing into the Arctic Ocean, which runs through Mongolia and Russia. The river originates in Mongolia and flows into the Kara Sea in Russia. This river system is home to 55 different varieties of fish and many unique trees like Siberian pine an Siberian larch.

Length: 5,539 Km

Upper basin: Dod-Targasyn-Noor

Lower basin: Yenisei Gulf

Drainage: Arctic Ocean.

4. Mississippi River System


The Mississippi river is the chief river of this system which passes through 31 US states and 2 Canadian provinces. It originates and drains in the Gulf of Mexico. Native Americans used to live along this river and were mainly hunters and gatherers, which later transitioned into a prolific agricultural society.

Length: 6,275 Km

Upper basin: Lake Itaska

Lower basin: Louisiana

Drainage: Gulf of Mexico

3. Yangtze River


Yangtze is the longest river in Asia and is the third longest in the world. It lies entirely in China and runs through many major cities along the way. Many rain forests, bio reserves, deserts, valleys,etc. are situated on the banks of this river. It is undeniably the most important river for the Chinese economy and has been a life support for the people living alongside it.

Length: 6,300 Km

Upper basin: Qinghai

Lower basin: Shanghai

Drainage: East China Sea

2. Amazon River


The Amazon river is undoubtedly the most most popular river in the world. The river runs through Brazil, Colombia and Peru; and is the largest and longest river in the South America. It has over 1,100 tributaries and has a massive drainage basin. The place of legends and myths, it is home to varieties of flora and fauna which include over 1200 different species of animals. Moreover, it has been called the ‘Lungs of the Earth’ due to its humongous rain forests which renew nearly half of the oxygen of the world.

Length: 6,400 Km

Upper basin: Peru

Lower basin: Amazon Basin

drainage: Atlantic Ocean

1. Nile River


The Nile river is the longest river in world which runs through 11 different countries spread over the African continent. Many civilizations like Egyptians and Sudanese have been totally dependent on this river for water source and transportation since ancient times. The ancient Egyptians cultivated and traded papyrus, flax and wheat all around Nile. It is a major source of survival for the people and is a primary source of water. Moreover, it was considered to be holy by the Egyptians and was thought to be the path to the afterlife.

length: 6,650 km

Upper basin: White Nile, Blue Nile

Lower basin: Egypt

Drainage: Mediterranean Sea


These rivers are not only the longest but are also a primary source of food, transportation and development. The countries they flow through are highly dependent on them for economic growth and survival. Moreover, these rivers house exotic flora and fauna and dense rain forests. These rivers are nothing but a boon for mankind and it is our duty to keep them from dying.

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