The 10 Longest Rivers in the World

A view of the Nile and west river bank, Luxor

Shanna Baker/Getty Images

This following is a list of the 10 longest rivers in the world, according to the Times Atlas of the World. Only 111 miles apart, the Nile River in Africa is the longest river in the world in comparison to its runner-up, the Amazon River, located in South America. Discover some key facts about each river and their residence country, along with its length in miles and kilometers.

1. Nile River, Africa

  • 4,160 miles; 6,695 km
  • This international river has a drainage basin that extends to 11 countries from Tanzania to Eritrea, proving water as a core resource to countries like Egypt and Sudan.

2. Amazon River, South America

  • 4,049 miles; 6,516 km
  • Known as the second-longest river, The Amazon River starts in North-Eastern Brazil and is the only river with the largest amount of water flowing through it at any moment in time.

3. Yangtze River, Asia

  • 3,964 miles; 6,380 km
  • Recognized as the third-longest river in the world and the longest one in Asia, this river's name translates to "child of the ocean." 

4. Mississippi-Missouri River System, North America

  • 3,709 miles; 5,969 km
  • The Missouri River is, hydrologically, the upstream continuation of the Mississippi River as the Missouri River carries more water than the Mississippi River at the confluence of the two rivers.

5. Ob-Irtysh Rivers, Asia

  • 3,459 miles; 5,568 km
  • This river consists of the Ob, which is the primary river that connects to the Irtysh River and flows through Russia. For half of the year, the river is frozen.

6. Yenisey-Angara-Selenga Rivers, Asia

  • 3,448 miles; 5550 km
  • This is the river of central Russia and one of the several longest rivers in Asia. Despite being short, it has 1.5x more flow than the Mississippi-Missouri river.

7. Huang He (Yellow River), Asia

  • 3,395 miles; 5,464 km
  • Often called "the cradle of Chinese civilization," the Huang He River is China's second-longest river. Unfortunately, the government in China has claimed that the river's water is so polluted and full of waste that people are unable to drink it. In fact, it is believed that at least 30% of fish species have become entirely extinct.

8. Congo River, Africa

  • 2,900 miles; 4,667 km
  • The primary means of transportation in Central Africa, the river creates over 9,000 miles of shipping routes that transport everyday goods. This river is home to the highest amount of unique species in the world and is the deepest river in the world.

9. Rio de la Plata-Parana, South America

  • 2,796 miles; 4,500 km
  • The Rio de la Plata river starts at the beginning of the Uruguay and Panama Rivers. This is a very important economic resource for countries such as Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay, as the estuary is the core fishing ground from the area and acts as the main water resource. 

10. Mekong River, Asia

  • 2,749 miles; 4,425 km
  • Located in Southeast Asia, the Mekong River travels through Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and the South China Sea. It is the main hub for culture and transportation for Vietnamese villagers, as business owners create floating markets where they sell various goods such as fish, candy fruits, and vegetables.
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Rosenberg, Matt. "The 10 Longest Rivers in the World." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, Rosenberg, Matt. (2020, August 27). The 10 Longest Rivers in the World. Retrieved from Rosenberg, Matt. "The 10 Longest Rivers in the World." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 10, 2023).