The Amazon river flows across the northern area of South America and drains one of the largest rain catchment areas on Earth. What is commonly called "the Amazon" is a river network that consists of multiple rivers and streams spread across hundreds of thousands of square miles of rain forest.
Depending on the way its length is measured, the Amazon river stretches between 6,200 and 6,700 miles long. This makes it arguably the longest river in the world, though by some estimates, the Nile is longer. The Amazon system drains approximately 40 percent of the South American landmass and carries approximately 20 percent of the world's freshwater discharge to the ocean.