What Are Some Facts About the Huang He River?

The headwaters of the Huang He or Yellow River are on the Plateau of Tibet, from which the river flows 3,395 miles through seven provinces, two autonomous regions and empties into the Yellow Sea. It's called The Ungovernable and China's Sorrow because it often floods the North China Plain.

The Huang He is China's second-longest river, and it drains the third-largest area of Chinese rivers at 290,000 square miles. The lower parts of the river are turbulent, shifting and laden with silt. The name Yellow River refers to the color of the loess river sediments that tinge the water. The river's mouth is at the Gulf of Chihli, also called Bohai Sea.

The river has three distinct parts. The mountainous upper course originates above 15,000 feet. The middle course flows across a plateau, the Ordo Desert and Inner Mongolia. The lower course crosses the densely inhabited North China Plain.

The river basin has a population exceeded by only a few countries. The Huang He and its tributaries flow past or through some of China’s oldest cities, including Baotou, Jinan, Kaifeng, Lanzhou, Luoyang, Taiyuan and Xi'an.

Some people referred to the Huang He as simply "the river" in ancient Chinese. People now call it the Mother River of China and the Cradle of Chinese Civilization. It is the seventh-longest river in the world.