The Great Amazon River

The Great Amazon River


The Amazon River: the largest and longest in the world

The great Amazon river is a South American river, which is born in the snow-capped mountain Mismi, Arequipa in Peru. Its hydrographic basin crosses the countries of Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, French Guyana, Suriname and Brazil. The river is so big, that it has the amount of water of three huge rivers of the Asian, African and American continent; we are talking about: the Yangtze River, the Nile and the Mississippi.

This River is 7062 kilometers long. Its width is between 1.6 and 10 km in its low stage, but it expands during the rainy season to 48 km or more. The river enters the Atlantic Ocean in a wide estuary 240 km wide. Due to its vast dimensions, it is sometimes called the river sea.

The Amazon is fed, by about 1,100 tributaries along its entire course; Some of the main ones are the rivers: Napo, Pastaza, Caquetá, Chambira, Tapajós, Nanay and Huallaga. Its longest tributary is the Madeira River in Brazil.


the great amazon river


The Amazon River Generalities

  1. The word Amazonas, comes from “river of the Amazons”, name given to the Marañón river by Francisco de Orellana; after facing a local ethnic group in which men and women defended themselves equally. Orellana derived the name from the Greek myth of the “Amazon warriors” of Asia and Africa, narrated by Herodotus and Diodorus. However before the conquest, the river did not have a unique name; on the contrary, the natives indistinctly named the different sections with voices such as Paraná Guazú (great relative of the sea), Guyerma; Solimões, etc.
  2. It contains a fifth of the freshwater of the entire planet, about 7.05 million square kilometers.
  3. For about 2.5 kilometers, a clear differentiation of color can be distinguished, because the fresh water dilutes the salinity of the Atlantic Ocean.
  4. A NASA satellite tracked how throughout the year, the wind carried sands from the Sahara, that end up in both the great Amazon River and the neighboring Amazon rainforest, providing valuable minerals and nutrients.
  5. There are around 3,000 species of fish identified in the River.
  6. There are such exotic animals as: piranhas, pink dolphins, black sharks, giant tortoises, electric eels and the manatee of the Amazon river.


Economic importance

The natives of the Amazon have fished, hunted and used the river for different needs since time immemorial; The great Amazon River and its tributaries have played a determining factor in the flourishing of great civilizations such as: the Incas, the Chachapoyas, the Chancas, the Wari, etc.

At present the Amazonian peoples continue to fish in its waters; which is also used for drinking and the trade in agricultural products, gold and wood.


The great Amazon river threats

The contamination of its waters becomes more and more frequent; due to the use of mercury from the illegal gold mines, drains and the excessive increase in the population.

Overfishing and intensive fishing is another great threat that can end up, destroying the natural chain of many common and exotic species.

Despite its global importance, the Amazon rainforest adjacent to the river is experiencing a huge decline due to deforestation. According to the World Wide Fund for Nature; During the last 50 years the Amazon has lost 17 percent of its forest cover.


the great amazon river


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