RIVER SYSTEMS OF THE WORLD

Here are statistics on river systems of the world.

Individual rivers are listed only as tributaries.

(Rivers are often used as boundaries.)

Although an ample source of breaking news, the World Wide Web has its limitations when it comes to natural history, except pertaining to tourism. That is the reason we started this page. We're still looking for links, so make suggestions to the Webmaster. We prefer linking to nonprofit sites with pictures, maps, and further links.

Here's what we've found so far:

RIVER SYSTEM CONTINENT OR ISLAND LENGTH (miles, approx.) LENGTH (km, approx.) DRAINAGE AREA (sq. miles) DRAINAGE AREA (1,000 sq. km) DISCHARGE AT MOUTH (cu. meters per second) DISTINCTION NOTABLE TRIBUTARIES CITIES
Nile Africa 4,180 6,484 1,170,000 2,881 1,584 Egyptian agriculture depended on seasonal flooding. White Nile
Blue Nile
Alexandria
Cairo
Luxor
Khartoum
Amazon South America 3,920 6,516 2,270,000 7,180 180,000 the greatest flow

navigable for 2,000 miles

Negro
Tocantins
Belém
Manaus
Yangtze (Chang Jiang) Asia 3,900 5,800 698,000 1,970 35,000 the lifeline of China Shanghai
Nanking
Wuhan
Chonquing
Mississippi- -Missouri North America 3,870 6,019 1,247,000 3,221 17,545 the longest river flowing southward Yellowstone
Platte
Ohio
Wabash
Cumberland
Tennessee
Arkansas
Canadian
Red
New Orleans
Baton Rouge
Memphis
St. Louis
St. Paul
Minneapolis
Kansas City
Omaha
Billings
Denver
Louisville
Cincinnati
Pittsburgh
Nashville
Chattanooga
Knoxville
Little Rock
Oklahoma City
Tulsa
Wichita
Shreveport
Wichita Falls
Ob' Asia 3,459 5,570 1,154,000 2,975 12,600 25 miles wide at mouth Irtysh
Tom
Novosibirsk
Yenisei- -Angara Asia 3,440 5,550 996,000 2,605 19,600 drains Lake Baikal Irkutsk
Yellow (Huang He) Asia 3,400 4,845 290,000 745 1,365 Silt deposits have raised portions of river bed 70 ft. (20m) above surrounding land. Chengchow
Congo (Zaire) Africa 2,900 4,700 1,440,000 3,822 42,000 the longest river flowing westward Leopoldville
Brazzaville
Stanleyville
Amur Asia 2,800 4,510 730,000 1,855 12,500 Sungari Khabarovsk
Harbin
Río de la Plata

Paraná

Uruguay

South America 2,795 4,700 1,197,000 2,650 19,500 Paraguay
Pilcomayo
Montevideo
Buenos Aires
Lena Asia 2,700 4,270 961,000 2,490 16,400
Mackenzie North America 2,640 4,250 697,000 1,805 7,500 9,856
Niger Africa 2,600 4,030 850,000 2,092 5,700 Niamey
Timbuktu
Mekong Asia 2,500 4,500 795 15,900 Phnom Penh
Vientiane
Luang Prabang
Saint Lawrence North America 2,350 3,100 1,030 10,400 follows straight fault line

drains Great Lakes

Rainy
Maumee
Niagara
Ottawa
Richelieu
Saguenay
Quebec
Montreal
Rochester
Toronto
Hamilton
Buffalo
Cleveland
Detroit
Chicago
Thunder Bay
Duluth
Ottawa
Volga Europe 2,300 3,688 533,000 1,380 8,000 flows to landlocked Caspian Sea Kama
Vyatkai
Oka
Moskva
Astrakhan
Volgograd
Saratov
Kuybyshev
Kazan
Gorki
Yaroslavl
Kalinin
Moscow
Kirov
Perm
Murray- -Darling Australia 2,300 2,570 410,000 1,072 391
Yukon North America 2,200 3,185 855 7,000 Tanana Fort Yukon
Dawson
Fairbanks
Zambezi Africa 2,200 2,660 548,000 1,330 2,500 flows over Victoria Falls
Orinoco South America 2,200 2,500 373,000 1,086 28,000 upper river branches to form Casiquiare, to Negro, to Amazon
São Francisco South America 1,900 2,900 610 3,300
Rio Grande (Río Bravo del Norte) North America 1,885 2,870 570 (350-930) 82 waist-deep at mouth Pecos Brownsville
Reynosa
Laredo
Juárez
El Paso
Albuquerque
Indus Asia 1,800 3,180 960 3,850 supported prehistoric civilization Kabul
Ravi
Karachi
Hyderabad
Kabul
Lahore
Shatt el Arab

Euphrates

Tigris

Asia 1,795 2,900 808 856 home of ancient Mesopotamian civilization Abidan
Bosra
Ramadi
Baghdad
Mosul
Salween (Saluen, Chiama Ngu Chu) Asia 1,750 3,200 280 1,500
Danube (Ister, Danarea, Dunav, Duna, Donau) Europe 1,750 2,850 320,000 805 6,450 Drava
Tisa (Theiss)
Sava
Pruth
Inn
Belgrade
Budapest
Bratislava
Vienna
Chernovtsy
Brahmaputra (Tsangpo) Asia 1,700 2,900 938 20,000
Olenek Asia 1,350
Ganges Asia 1,560 2,700 1,073 15,000 sacred river of India Jumna
Brahmaputra
Dacca
Patha
Benares
Kanpur
Agra
Delhi
Amu Darya Asia 1,550 2,620 227 1,300
Ural 1,550 2,534 220 347 forms boundary between Asia and Europe Orenburg
Magnitogorsk
Kolmya Asia 1,500 crosses gold fields
Colorado North America 1,450 3,200 629 168 cuts Grand Canyon Gila
Salt
Phoenix
Dnieper Europe 1,420 2,850 503 1,660 Pripyat
Pina
Desna
Dnepropetrovsk
Kiev
Pinsk
Chernigov
Bryansk
Orange Africa 1,300 2,250 Vaal
Tarim- -Khotan Asia 1,300 2,000 1,000
Columbia North America 1,210 2,250 669 6,650 Snake
Willamette
Portland
Eugene
Don Europe 1,200 1,970 443 930 Rostov
Voronezh
Pechora Europe 1,120 1,809 327 4,060
Indigirka Asia 1,100
Churchill North America 1,000 290
Irrawaddy Asia 1,000 2,150 431 14,000 Mandalay
Magdalena South America 1,000
Senegal Africa 1,000
Volta Africa 1,000
Colorado North America 970 bears same name as larger river to west Austin
Godavari Asia 900
Liao Asia 900
Dniester Europe 875
Fraser North America 850 235 2,938 Vancouver
Prince George
Rhine Europe 820 1,360 224 2,200 commercially most important river of Europe Main Cologne
Bonn
Strasburg
Basel
Frankfurt
Kistna Asia 800
Brazos North America 800 Waco
Lubbock
Narbada Asia 800
Parnaíba South America 800
Red (Song Koi) Asia 750 800 3,900 Black Hanoi
Elbe Europe 725 1,165 144 750 Moldau
Havel
Magdeburg
Dresden
Prague
Potsdam
Berlin
Khatanga Asia 715
Hwai Asia 675
Vistula Europe 663 1,095 194 1,100 Bug Gdansk
Warsaw
Cracow
Daugava (Zapadnaja Dvina, Duena) Europe 635 1,020 84 700 Riga
Daugavpils
Polotsk
Vitebsk
Loire Europe 625 1,020 121 900 Nantes
Tours
Orléans
Tagus Europe 625 Lisbon
Gambia Africa 600
Niemen Europe 580 990 98 690 Viliya Tilsit
Kaunas
Grodno
Vilna
Ebro Europe 575 927 86 600 Saragossa
Oder Europe 562 912 119 580 Neisse Szczecin
Wroclaw
Colorado South America 550
Mezen Europe 565 857 76 840 Mezen
Rhône Europe 505 812 98 1,900 Saone Asignon
Lyons
Geneva
Apalachicola- -Chattahoochee North America 508 Flint Atlanta
Guadiana Europe 500
Trinity North America 500 Galveston
Houston
Dallas
Fort Worth
Yalu Asia 500
Seine Europe 482 776 79 500 Paris
Douro (Duero) Europe 475 776 98 650 Oporto
Valladolid
(Northern) Dvina Europe 465 1,302 360 3,560
Mobile- -Tombigbee North America 454 1,900 Alabama
Susquehanna North America 450 Drowned lower valley became Chesapeake Bay. Harrisburg
Wilkes-Barre
Binghamton
Göta (with Klarälven) Europe 720 50 585
Pee Dee North America 435 Waccamaw
Little Pee Dee
Lynches
Yadkin
Fayetteville
Altamaha North America 419 38 400 Oconee
Ocmulgee
Macon
Po Europe 405 676 70 1,460 Turin
Garonne Europe 400 650 56 680 Bordeaux
Nelson North America 400 1,093 2,633 Saskatchewan
Assinibone
Edmonton
Saskatoon
Regina
Winnipeg
St. John North America 400 largest river of New Brunswick St. John
Fredericton
Connecticut North America 380 Hartford
Springfield
Brattleboro
Roanoke North America 380 Roanoke
Guadalquivir Europe 350 Name from Arabic Wad-al-Kebir, "great river" Seville
Córdoba
Glomma Europe 365 587 42 685
Penobscot North America 350 Bangor
San Joaquin North America 350 Fresno
Kemi Europe 345 494 51 525
James Europe 340 Richmond
Lynchburg
Sacramento North America 320 Sacramento
Delaware North America 315 provides food for migrating birds Lehigh
Schulkill
Wilmington
Philadelphia
Trenton
Easton
Bethlehem
Allentown
Reading
Hudson North America 315 navigable to beyond mountains Mohawk New York
Albany
Utica
Savannah North America 314 29 360 Savannah
Augusta
St. Johns North America 280 largest river of Florida Jacksonville
Lule Europe 275 450 25 510 Dams provide electricity to Sweden
Klamath North America 270
Waikato North Island 264 425 longest river in New Zealand Waipa
Poutu
Hamilton
Onega Europe 250 405 58 575
Ogeechee North America 250
Tiber Europe 251 Rome
Jordan Asia 230
Shannon Ireland 220 Limerick
Thames Great Britain 210 London
Cape Fear North America 202
St. Mary's North America 175 4 20
Androscoggin North America 171
Kennebec North America 164
Santee North America 143 Charlotte
Columbia
Greenville
Spartanburg
Wateree
Catawba
Congaree
Saluda
Broad
Enoree
Tyger
Housatonic North America 130
Merrimack North America 110 Newburyport
Haverhill
Lawrence
Lowell
Nashua
Manchester
Concord
Saco North America 105 Biddeford
Raritan North America 75 Perth Amboy
New Brunswick
Neva Europe 46 74 281 2,530 St. Petersburg
Saltilla North America 9 85
La Grande North America 3,389
RIVER SYSTEM CONTINENT OR ISLAND LENGTH (miles, approx.) LENGTH (km, approx.) DRAINAGE AREA (sq. miles) DRAINAGE AREA (1,000 sq. km) DISCHARGE AT MOUTH (cu. meters per second) DISTINCTION NOTABLE TRIBUTARIES CITIES

From the mouth of the Hudson

Roanoke River Green Page

International Rivers Network

Rivers and Lakes Project

Some reasons rivers are important to civilization:

Water

River water is diverted for agricultural irrigation, industry, hygiene, and related uses. Where possible, diverted water may be returned to the river clean and near the point of diversion; specifically, some municipal water supplies treat their sewage and return fairly clean water to the river. Most rivers are not so lucky: either the water comes back contaminated with pollutants, or not at all.

Because flow is not constant, many rivers produce floods and droughts. Flood control projects attempt to reduce variation in flow, but frequently have negative consequences. Dam failures can create more disastrous flooding than would otherwise be possible.

Carrying mineral and organic matter

Most rivers carry dissolved minerals and organic compounds. Even a slow river can carry small grains of clay. As the strength of flow increases, sand, gravel, and even boulders can be dislodged and moved downstream.

Centuries of erosion can leave dramatic results, including deep canyons and waterfalls.

Minerals drop out of the river when the flow slows. Alluvial deposits can form deltas where the river flows into a lake or ocean. Farms and cities have been developed on large deltas. New Orleans sits on the delta formed where the Mississippi River flows into the Gulf of Mexico. Other heavily-populated deltas include those of the Nile in Egypt and the Mekong in Vietnam.

Food

Some communities depend on the fish that live in or travel along rivers.

Transportation

Navigable waters carry much of the world's heavy trade by ship and barge. The Yangtze, Mississippi, Volga, St. Lawrence, Hudson, Delaware, Rhine, and Thames Rivers are among the most heavily-trafficked, connecting major ports.

Rivers can also be barriers to land transportation. They can be crossed by ferries, bridges, and tunnels. Because of the difficulty of crossing rivers, they have sometimes become territorial boundaries.

Hydroelectric Power

A dam can raise the level of a river to provide pressure for electrical generation.

Recreation

In addition to fishing, swimming and boating are popular activities along rivers.

Aesthetics

Some rivers are known for their beauty. Niagara Falls on the Niagara River (part of the Saint Lawrence system) is a popular backdrop for vacations and honeymoons.


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Last updated: 3 February 2001

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visitors since 11 November 1997