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What are the five longest rivers?

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Quick Answer

The five longest rivers on Earth are the Nile, the Amazon, the Yangtze, the combined Mississippi and Missouri rivers and the Ob-Irtysh rivers. The Nile river is 4,258 miles long and flows northward through northeastern Africa.

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The Nile begins in Lake Victoria in Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya and empties into the Mediterranean Sea. Eleven countries share its waters. Sudan and Egypt are especially dependent upon it and have been so for millennia. The Nile has two major tributaries, the Blue Nile and the White Nile. The White Nile is the dominant stream, but it's the Blue Nile that brings water and rich, arable soil to the countries that depend on it. Most of the largest cities in Egypt are located along the Nile river.

The Amazon River Basin flows through Colombia, Brazil and Peru and is about 4,195 miles long. It was given its name by the explorer Fransisco de Orellana in honor of the women warriors he met in the region. The river's headwaters are in the Andean mountains of Peru, at Lake Lauricocha. It finally empties into the Atlantic Ocean.

The Yangtze simply means "long river" in Chinese and at 3,915 miles, it is the longest river in Asia. It is the longest river to be contained entirely in one country.

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