Top 50 Longest Rivers of the World

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A river is defined as a massive natural watercourse flowing in a channel to the sea, a lake, or another river. The beginning point of the river is called a headwater.

The endpoint of the river where the land flattens out and the water loses its speed is called its mouth or delta. There are majorly 3 phases of a river- youthful stage, mature stage, and old stage.

The various structures formed by a river include potholes, v-shaped valleys, waterfalls, meanders, ox-bow lakes, fan-shaped plains, flood plains, levees, deltas, glaciers, cirques, u-shaped valleys, hanging valleys, fjords, moraines, etc.

Until now there are 76 discovered rivers in the world. There are 9 types of rivers in the world:

  • Ephemeral Rivers
  • Episodic Rivers
  • Exotic Rivers
  • Intermittent Rivers
  • Mature Rivers
  • Old Rivers
  • Periodic Rivers
  • Permanent Rivers
  • Youthful Rivers

List of Longest Rivers of the World

Longest Rivers In The World

Nile

The longest river in the world – river Nile has 2 main tributaries- the White Nile which is the source of the river and originates from the Kagera river at the lake headwaters in Burundi, Central Africa, and the Blue Nile.

It is 6695 Kms long and drains into the Mediterranean sea. Nile crosses the countries of Uganda, Ethiopia, Sudan, Burundi, and Egypt. It has a discharge of about 3.1 million litres per second.

It is a haven for wildlife, 300 different kinds of birds, and for the cultivation of various crops on its banks. 25 hydro-electricity dams have been built across the river over the past 50 years.

Amazon

The second largest river in the world- the Amazon river has 1100 tributaries and covers 40% of South America – Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil. Its source is the Peruvian rivers in the high Andes mountains. It is 6575 Kms long and drains into the Atlantic ocean.

It has a discharge of about 209 million litres per second. 20% of the freshwater that enters the oceans comes from here. There are no bridges built across the Amazon river, however, the tributaries of Amazon have 412 dams built across them.

Yangtze

The third largest river in the world – the Yangtze river has 8 principle tributaries and more than 700 minor tributaries covering 20% of China – crossing 9 provinces of the people’s republic.

Its source is the Wulan Mulun river from the Tanggula Mountains near the southern Qinghai province in the Tibet Autonomous Region. It is 6300 Kms long and drains into the East China Sea near Shanghai. There has been the construction of 50000 dams across the river.

The ‘Three Gorges Dam’ on the Yangtze River is the biggest Hydro-electric Dam in the world. It has over 50 bridges and is the busiest river in the world with cruise ships, ferries and transport barges crisscrossing the river.

Mississippi

The fourth-largest river in the world – the Mississippi river has 250 tributaries, covering 10 states of the United States. Its source is Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota. It is 3778 Kms long and drains into the Gulf of Mexico.

There is a system of 29 locks and dams across the river. The river houses 360 species of fish, 326 species of birds, 145 species of amphibians, and 50 species of mammals within its banks.

Yenisei-Angara-Selenga-Ider

The fifth-largest river in the world – it originates from the headwaters of the Selenga River near western Mongolia close to the Khangai mountains.

It is 3487 Kms long and drains into the Yenisei Gulf after passing through Russia and Mongolia. The middle section of the river system is controlled by a series of large hydro-electric dams. The dams were built to supply a major Russian primary industry.

Yellow

The sixth-largest river in the world – river Yellow has about 30 large tributaries. It originates from the Bayan Har Mountains, the Bayankala mountains near the Qinghai province, and passes through 9 provinces of China.

It has a length of 5464 Kms and drains into the Bohai sea near the Shandong province. 20 dams have been constructed on the river and another 18 are to be installed by 2030.

It is called the Yellow River because huge amounts of loose sediment turn the water that color. It gets nearly 45% of its water from glaciers and vast underground springs of the Tibetan Plateau.

Ob-Irtysh

The seventh-largest river in the world – it originates from the Asian Altai Mountains containing the Biya river and the Katun river. It passes through Russia, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia. Its length is 5410 Kms and it drains into the Gulf of Ob in the Arctic ocean.

There are presently 6 dams in the Irtysh river with several more under construction. The combined Ob-Irtysh is so long that the land it drains incorporates many different ecosystems including desert, temperate grasslands, taiga forests, and swampy tundra.

Río De La Plata- Paraná-Río Grande

The eighth-largest river in the world – it originates from Paranaíba –Grande and passes through Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, Uruguay. Its length is 4880 Kms and drains in Rio de la Plata of the Atlantic Ocean. It is the widest river in the world, with a maximum width of 220 Kms.

Congo- Chambeshi

The ninth-largest river in the world – originates from Lake Mweru near the East African Rift and the Chambeshi River from Lake Tanganyika.

It passes through the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, Angola, Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Cameroon, Zambia, Burundi, Rwanda. This river has a length of 4700 Kms and drains into the Atlantic ocean.

It is the deepest river in the world. The Congo River is believed to have formed approximately 1.5 to 2 million years ago and got approximately 90 inches of rainfall each year.

Amur – Argun – Kherlen

The tenth largest river in the world –it has 15 major tributaries and originates from Reka Argun, Onon river, Shilka river, and the Kherlen River. It crosses Russia, China, and Mongolia. It is 4444 Kms long and drains into the sea of Okhotsk. There are around 123 species of fish from 23 families inhabiting the Amur.

Lena

It originates from the Baikal Mountains of the Central Siberian Plateau and passes through Russia. It is 4400 Kms long and drains into the Laptev sea. There is a dam on the Viluy River- which is one of Lena’s main tributaries.

The river is home to many kinds of animals and plants but only for a few months in a year when it remains ice-free. It is one of the cleanest freshwater sources on Earth. It has the ninth largest watershed in the world.

Mekong

It originates from the Lasagongma Spring of the plateaus of Tibet and passes through China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Its length is 4350 Kms and drains into the South China Sea.

11 major dams before it leaves China and flows further. It contains 16 WWF “Global 200” ecoregions. It is known for having a bio-diverse ecology.

Maxkenzie–Slave-Peace–Finlay

It originates from the Thutade Lake of Northern Interior of BC and passes through Canada. Its length is 4241 Kms and it drains into the Beaufort sea. 54 species of fish are found in the river.

Migratory birds spend the summer months along the river. The river delta is home to a thriving muskrat population that has long sustained a fur-harvesting industry.

Niger

It originates from the Guinea Highlands of southeastern Guinea and passes through Nigeria, Mali, Niger, Algeria, Guinea, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Benin, Chad. Its length is 4200 Kms and it drains into the Gulf of Guinea.

It has 3 major dams and a fourth dam is under construction. The Niger River floods each year from September to May. The river has thirty-six families of freshwater fish and nearly 250 species, 20 of which are found nowhere else on Earth but the Niger.

Brahmaputra–Tsangpo

It originates in the Himalayas and passes through India, China, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Bhutan. It has a length of 3848 Kms and drains into the Ganges. This river is considered the fifth strongest river in the world in terms of flow rate.

It is navigable for most of its length. This river provides several opportunities to people across the world for a livelihood.

List of Longest Rivers in the World:

Name Of RiverDescription
NileSource: Kagera – Ruvubu,in Burundi.

Mouth: Egypt – Mediterranean Sea.

Length: 6695 Kms.

Countries Crossed: Uganda, Ethiopia, Sudan, Burundi, Egypt.

AmazonSource: Peruvian rivers in the high Andes mountains- Marañón – Apurímac – Mantaro.

Mouth: Atlantic ocean.

Length: 6575 Kms.

Countries Crossed: Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Brazil.

YangtzeSource: Wulan Mulun river – Tanggula Mountains – southern Qinghai province -Tibet Autonomous Region.

Mouth: East China Sea- near Shanghai.

Length: 6300 Kms.

Countries Crossed: 9 provinces of China.

MississippiSource: Lake Itasca – Northern Minnesota.

Mouth: Gulf Of Mexico.

Length: 3778 Kms.

Countries Crossed: 10 states of the U.S.

Yenisei-Angara-Selenge-IderSource: The headwaters of the Selenga River – western Mongolia – Khangai mountains.

Mouth: Yenisey Gulf – Arctic ocean – Russia.

Length: 3,487 Kms.

Countries Crossed: Russia, Mongolia.

YellowSource: Bayan Har Mountains – Bayankala mountains – Qinghai province.

Mouth: Bohai sea – Dongying – Shandong province.

Length: 5464 Kms.

Countries Crossed: 9 provinces of China.

Ob-IrtyshSource: Asian Altai Mountains- Biya river- Katun river.

Mouth: Gulf of Ob- Arctic ocean.

Length: 5410 Kms.

Countries Crossed: Russia, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia.

Río De La Plata – Paraná-Río GrandeSource:Paranaíba -Grande.

Mouth: Rio de la Plata – Atlantic Ocean.

Length: 4880 Kms.

Countries Crossed: Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, Uruguay.

Congo- ChambeshiSource: Lake Mweru – East African Rift – Chambeshi River – Lake Tanganyika.

Mouth: Atlantic Ocean.

Length: 4700 Kms.

Countries Crossed: The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, Angola, Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Cameroon, Zambia, Burundi, Rwanda.

Amur – Argun -KherlenSource: Reka Argun – Onon river – Shilka river – Kherlen river.

Mouth: Sea of Okhotsk.

Length: 4444 Kms.

Countries Crossed: Russia, China, Mongolia.

LenaSource: Baikal Mountains – Central Siberian Plateau.

Mouth: Laptev Sea.

Length: 4400 Kms.

Countries Crossed: Russia.

MekongSource: Lasagongma Spring – plateaus of Tibet.

Mouth: South China Sea.

Length: 4350 Kms.

Countries Crossed: China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam.

Mackenzie–Slave-Peace-FIinlaySource: Thutade Lake – Northern Interior of BC.

Mouth: Beaufort Sea.

Length: 4241 Kms.

Countries Crossed: Canada.

Niger Source: Guinea Highlands – southeastern Guinea.

Mouth: Gulf of Guinea.

Length: 4200 Kms.

Countries Crossed: Nigeria, Mali, Niger, Algeria, Guinea, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Benin, Chad.

Brahmaputra–TsangpoSource: Himalayas.

Mouth: Ganges.

Length: 3848 Kms.

CountriesCrossed: India, China, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan.

Murray–Darling–Culgoa- Balonne-CondamineSource: Darling Downs – Queensland.

Mouth: Southern Ocean.

Length: 3672 Kms.

Countries Crossed: Australia.

Tocantins–AraguaiaSource: Brazilian Highlands – Alto Araguaia – Mato Grosso Estado.

Mouth: Atlantic Ocean – Amazon

Length: 3650 Kms.

Countries Crossed: Brazil.

VolgaSource: Valdai Hills – northwest Moscow

Mouth: Caspian Sea.

Length: 3645 Kms.

Countries Crossed: Russia.

Indus–Sênggê- ZangboSource: Gêgyai County -Ngari Prefecture – near Mount Kailash.

Mouth: Arabian Sea.

Length: 3610 Kms.

Countries Crossed: Pakistan, India, China.

 

Shatt-Al–Arab-Euphrates–MuratSource: Tigris- Euphrates confluence – Al- Qurnah – Karun river – Iran – Mount Ararat – Lake Van – Armenian Highlands- Turkey.

Mouth: Persian Gulf.

Length: 3596 Kms.

Countries Crossed: Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Syria.

Madeira–Mamoré–Grande–Caine- RochaSource: Madre de Dois- Mamoré rivers confluence.

Mouth: Amazon.

Length: 3380 Kms.

Countries Crossed: Brazil, Bolivia, Peru.

PurúsSource: Southern Ucayali headwaters.

Mouth: Amazon.

Length: 3211 Kms.

Countries Crossed: Brazil, Peru.

YukonSource: Llewellyn glacier – southern end – Atlin lake.

Mouth: Bering Sea.

Length: 3185 Kms.

Countries Crossed: U.S.A, Canada.

São FranciscoSource: Canastra mountains – state – Minas Gerais.

Mouth: Atlantic Ocean.

Length: 3180 Kms.

Countries Crossed: Brazil.

Syr Darya – NarynSource: Tian Shen mountains – Kyrgyzstan – Uzbekistan.

Mouth: Aral Sea.

Length: 3078 Kms.

Countries Crossed: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan.

SalweenSource: Tanggula mountains – Tibetan plateau – Mekong and Yangtze headwaters.

Mouth: Andaman Sea.

Length: 3060 Kms.

COUNTRIES CROSSED: China, Myanmar, Thailand.

Saint Lawrence–Niagara–Detro–Saint- Clair- Saint Marys–Saint Louis–NorthSource: Lake Ontario – Lake Erie – Lake Saint Clair – Okefenokee swamp – Hoyt Lakes – Saint Louis river.

Mouth: Gulf of Saint Lawrence.

Length: 3058 Kms.

Countries Crossed: Canada, U.S.A.

Rio GrandeSource: Main Canby mountain.

Mouth: Gulf of Mexico.

Length: 3057 Kms.

Countries Crossed: U.S.A, Mexico

Lower TunguskaSource: Central Siberian Plateau.

Mouth: Yenisei.

Length: 2989 Kms.

Countries Crossed: Russia.

Danube-Breg (Donau, Dunăre, Duna, Dunav, Dunaj)Source: Furtwangen –  river Brigach – river Breg.

Mouth: Black Sea.

Length: 2888 Kms.

Countries Crossed: Romania, Hungary, Austria, Serbia, Germany, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Ukraine.

Irrawaddy River–N’Mai

River–Dulong

River–Kelaoluo–Gada Qu

Source: MaliKha river – Chayu river Tibet – Zhuxian river.

Mouth: Andaman Sea.

Length: 2727 Kms.

Countries Crossed: China, Myanmar.

ZambeziSource: Mwinilunga District Zambia.

Mouth: Mozambique Channel.

Length: 2693 Kms.

Countries Crossed: Zambia, Angola, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania, Namibia, Botswana.

VilyuySource: Central Siberian Plateau.

Mouth: Lena.

Length: 2650 Kms.

Countries Crossed: Russia.

AraguaiaSource: Nascente do Rio Araguaia.

Mouth: Tocantins.

Length: 2627 Kms.

Countries Crossed: Brazil.

Ganges–Hooghly–Padma(Ganga)Source: Gangotri glacier – Ganges – Himalayas.

Mouth: Bay of Bengal.

Length: 2620 Kms.

Countries Crossed: India, Bangladesh, Nepal.

Amu Darya- PanjSource: Pamir mountains Kush.

Mouth: Aral Sea.

Length: 2620 Kms.

Countries Crossed: Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan.

Japurá-(Rio- Yapurá)Source: Páramo de Las Papas.

Mouth: Amazon.

Length: 2615 Kms.

Countries Crossed: Brazil, Colombia.

Nelson–SaskatchewanSource: Lake Winnipeg – The Rocky Mountain.

Mouth: Hudson Bay.

Length: 2570 Kms.

Countries Crossed: Canada, U.S.A.

Paraguay(Río-Paraguay)Source: The State Of Mato Grosso.

Mouth: Paraná.

Length: 2549 Kms.

Countries Crossed: Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia, Argentina.

 

KolymaSource: Magadan – Okhotsk town.

Mouth: East Siberian Sea.

Length: 2513 Kms.

Countries Crossed: Russia.

PilcomayoSource: Andes mountain range.

Mouth: Paraguay.

Length: 2500 Kms.

Countries Crossed: Paraguay, Argentina, Bolivia.

Upper Ob-KatunSource: Near Biysk.

Mouth: Gulf Of Ob.

Length: 2490 Kms.

Countries Crossed: Russia.

IshimSource: Kazakhstan.

Mouth: Irtysh.

Length: 2490 Kms.

Countries Crossed: Kazakhstan, Russia.

JuruáSource: Ucayali river Peru.

Mouth: Amazon.

Length: 2410 Kms.

Countries Crossed: Peru, Brazil.

UralSource: Southern Ural Mountains, Russia.

Mouth: Caspian Sea.

Length: 2428 Kms.

Countries Crossed: Russia, Kazakhstan.

ArkansasSource: The Rocky Mountains.

Mouth: Mississippi.

Length: 2348 Kms.

Countries Crossed: U.S.A.

Colorado (Western U.S.)Source: La Poudre Pass lake headwaters.

Mouth: Gulf of California.

Length: 2333 Kms.

Countries Crossed: U.S.A, Mexico.

OlenyokSource: Krasnoyarsk Krai – Vilyuy Plateau – Anabar plateau.

Mouth: Laptev Sea.

Length: 2292 Kms.

Countries Crossed: Russia.

DnieperSource: Valdai Hills – Russia.

Mouth: Black Sea.

Length: 2287 Kms.

Countries Crossed: Russia, Belarus, Ukraine.

AldanSource: Stanovoy Range Russia.

Mouth: Lena.

Length: 2273 Kms.

Countries Crossed: Russia.

Conclusion

This is the list of the top 50 longest rivers across the world with their details. It can prove helpful in competitive exams as it boosts general knowledge and geographical skills.

This focuses on the importance of Rivers as a source of livelihood and also the ecological biodiversity balance which they provide. It specifies the river source in different countries across the globe.

This also adds to the knowledge of freshwater sources and the outflow of water in the various oceans across the world.

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2 Responses

  1. Dr Krishna G.Parajulj says:

    Different sources give different data Which to believe?

  2. Muhammad Akhtar Hussain says:

    Very Informative but more input is needed. 👍

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