What Are Some Facts About the Indus River?

indus-river Credit: Getty Images Europe/Getty Images News/Getty Images

The Indus River originates in the Tibetan plateau and is the longest river in Pakistan. Many residents of Pakistan consider the river to be the lifeline of their country.

The river runs for a total length of 1,976 miles and has a drainage area of around 450,000 square miles. It serves as the key water resource for the economy of Pakistan. The river supports industry in the country and provides the main source of potable water. It also provides water to Punjab province, which is considered the breadbasket of Pakistan.

The Indus Valley civilization arose because of the river. Major cities began to form on the Indus in around 3,300 B.C. Cities such as Harappa and Mohenjo-daro are thought to be some of the largest cities in the ancient world. Around 1,052 cities and settlements from the civilization have been discovered, as of 2014.

Indus is a Latinization of Hindu, and the word "India" is a reference to the river. In ancient times, the area in Pakistan along the Indus was referred to as India. Those in the area traded extensively with the rest of ancient world during this time. Alexander the Great and his armies crossed the river and joined the area with the Hellenic Empire. The Indus plains were also been conquered by Persians, Kushans and several Muslim armies.