Want to know which is the world’s longest river? Here’s a list of the 15 longest rivers in the world by their total length. 

Measuring the total length of a river can be somewhat challenging since there isn’t always a clear start and finish since many rivers are connected to larger and smaller tributaries.

Therefore, there is an ongoing debate on whether the Nile or the Amazon River is the longest river in the world. New findings have led most experts to agree that the Nile is slightly longer than the Amazon River, making it the world’s longest river. 

Amur River

The Amur River (Chinese: Heilong Jiang) forms the natural border of far East Russia and China with a total length of 4444 kilometers, making it the 10th longest river in the world. 

It has two tributaries, Argun and Kherlen and flows in a northeastern direction until it empties in the Pacific Ocean.

Total Length: 4,444 km (2,763 miles)

Amur River

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The Great Congo River

The Congo River flows through a total of 9 countries and covers a length of 4700 kilometers, making it the second-longest river in Africa.

It was previously known as the Zaire River, and it still holds the record as the deepest river in the world with the deepest point going down to 220 meters (720 ft) below the surface.

Total Length: 4,700 km (2,922 miles)

Congo River

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The Paraná River

The Paraná River is the second-longest river in South America and flows primarily through Brazil and Argentina. The river also flows through some parts of Paraguay.

If you include all its tributaries it forms a massive drainage basin that also flows through Uruguay and Bolivia. 

Total Length: 4,880 km (3,030 miles)

Parana River

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Ob–Irtysh

Ob-Irtysh is the second-longest river in Russia with a total length of 5464 kilometers. It flows through 4 countries (Russia, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia).

The Irtysh has three major tributaries which are Tobol River, Demyanka River, and the Ishim River, together they form a major drainage basin. In history, the river banks of Irtysh were occupied by Mongols and Turkic peoples for many centuries. 

Total Length: 5,410 km (3,364 miles)

Ob–Irtysh

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Yellow River

The Yellow River, also known as Huang He is the second largest lake in China with a total length of 5464 kilometers. Just like the Yangtze, the Yellow River flows entirely within China. 

Total Length: 5,464 km (3,395 miles)

Yellow River

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The Yenisei

Yenisey is the fifth largest river in the world with a total length of 5539 kilometers. It has a drainage area of 2,580,000 square kilometers and mostly flows through Russia with a smaller part flowing into Mongolia as well. 

Total Length: 5,539 km (3,445 miles) 

The Yenisei

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Mississipi

The Mississippi River is part of a river system of several rivers known independently as Mississippi, Missouri, Jefferson, Beaverhead, Red Rock, and Hell Roaring. Together, they form the longest river in North America with a total length of 6275 kilometers.

The Mississippi River system provides water for 31 states in the U.S as well as 2 Canadian provinces.

Total Length: 6,275 km (3,902 miles)

Mississipi

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Yangtze

The Yangtze River is the longest river in Asia with a total length of 6378 kilometers. It’s an important source of water for about one-third of China’s population. The Yangtze River is also the longest river in the world which flows entirely within one single country. 

Total Length: 6,300 km (3,917 miles)

Yangtze River

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Amazon

The Amazon River is massive and holds a huge quantity of the world’s freshwater, but in terms of length, it only ranks as the second-longest river in the world with a total length of 6436 kilometers.

There are many interesting facts about the Amazon River, which is considered an important source of water for millions of peoples as well as plants and animals. The Amazon River flows through Peru, Bolivia, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, and Brazil. 

Total Length: 6,400 km (3,976 miles)

Amazon

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The Nile

The Nile is often mentioned when talking about Ancient Egypt, and many associates it with Egypt even today. However, the Nile spans across 11 countries in Africa, although the major parts of the river are located in Egypt and Sudan.

The Nile River is the longest river in the world with a total length of 6,693 kilometers with two primary sources, the Blue and White Nile tributaries.

Total Length: 6,650 km (4,132 miles)

Longest river in the world

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More about the longest river in the world

The longest rivers in the world are primarily located in Africa and Asia as well as South America. They form some of the largest drainage basins in the world and support millions of peoples and animals worldwide. 

They are very important for the surrounding ecosystems and throughout history, they have played a vital role for the humans living in these areas as well, and continue to be important even in modern times. 

Another thing worth mentioning is that the total length of the world’s longest rivers can differ depending on if you include its tributaries or not. It’s also important to determine the source of the river to know where it begins as well as where it empties.

There are a total of 14 river systems in the world with a length of 4000 kilometers (2485 miles) or more. And a total of 184 rivers around the world which are longer than 1000 kilometers (621 miles).

Information about the longest rivers in the world

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Which is longer the Nile or the Amazon River?

The Amazon River is the largest river in the world in terms of volume, however, the Nile is around 250 kilometers longer than the Amazon River. 

Which is the longest river in the world?

The Nile is the longest river in the world with a total length of 6,650 kilometers (2567 square miles).

Which is the longest river in India?

The Ganges is the longest river that flows entirely within India with a total length of 2,525 km (1,569 miles). However, both Brahmaputra and Indus are longer in total, although large parts of those rivers flow outside of India. 

List of the longest rivers in the world

Rank River Length in Kilometers Length in Miles
1 The Nile 6,650 4,132
2 Amazon River 6,400 3,976
3 Yangtze River 6,300 3,917
4 Mississippi-Missouri 6,275 3,902
5 Yenisey 5,539 3,445
6 The Yellow River 5,464 3,395
7 Ob–Irtysh 5,410 3,364
8 Río de la Plata-Paraná 4,880 3,030
9 Congo 4,700 2,922
10 Amur-Argu-Kherlen 4,444 2,763
11 Lena 4,400 2,736
12 The Mekong River 4,350 2,705
13 Mackenzie–Slave–Peace–Finlay 4,241 2,637
14 Niger 4,200 2,611
15 Brahmaputra River 3,848 2,391
 
Brahmaputra River

Photo: Shutterstock


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