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Geography
Rivers: Longest

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Continents
The British Isles
Overseas

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Rivers: Longest

See also Rivers.

The World's longest rivers

When listing the world's longest rivers, most sources (including Wikipedia) consider complete river systems – in other words, the longest distance to the sea from any source.

RiverCountries Miles
1 Click to show or hide the answer Sudan, South Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, DR Congo, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Egypt4,135
2 Click to show or hide the answer Peru, Colombia, Brazil3,980
3 Click to show or hide the answer China3,917
4 Click to show or hide the answer USA3,902
5 Click to show or hide the answer Russia3,445
6 Click to show or hide the answer China3,398
7 Click to show or hide the answer Russia3,364

Some sources choose not to recognise this definition, and consider each named river separately. In other words, when it comes to fourth place they consider the Mississippi and Missouri as two separate rivers (and the same for the Yenisei, Angara and Selenge, and so on). On this principle, the Yellow River is the fourth longest and it's followed by the Congo, Lena, Amur, Irtysh and Mekong.

One such source is i before e (except after c) (see my Quiz Books page), which of course gives us a mnemonic: NAYY CLAIM. I think this is more memorable if you misread it as NAVY CLAIM - but then of course you have to remember that the V is really a Y!

Notes:

The Amazon doesn't flow through Colombia, but it forms part of the border between Peru and Colombia (immediately before entering Brazil)
The Yangtze and the Yellow River both rise in Tibet
The Yenisei is one of the three major Siberian rivers that flow into the Arctic Ocean.  (The others are the Ob – see below – and the Lena).  The Selenge is the main supply to Lake Baikal; the Angara drains Lake Baikal and flows into the Yenisei approximately one third of the distance along the length of the latter.  The Selenge is 616 miles long and the Angara is 1,105 miles long – making the length of the Yenisei below the confluence about 1,725 miles (almost exactly equal to the combined length of the Selenge and the Angara)
The Ob, as well as being the world's seventh longest river, has the world's longest estuary and one of the shortest names! The Irtysh is its longest tributary

Continents

Africa Click to show or hide the answer
Asia (China) Click to show or hide the answer
Australia Click for more information Click to show or hide the answer
Europe (Russia) Click for more information Click to show or hide the answer
North America (USA) Click for more information Click to show or hide the answer
South America (Peru, Brazil; tributaries rise in Bolivia and Colombia) Click to show or hide the answer

The British Isles

British Isles (Republic of Ireland) Click to show or hide the answer
Great Britain Click to show or hide the answer
England (entirely) Click to show or hide the answer
Scotland (entirely) Click to show or hide the answer
Wales (entirely) Click to show or hide the answer
Northern Ireland (80 miles) Click to show or hide the answer
The second longest river that's entirely in England Click to show or hide the answer

You may notice that the names of the longest rivers in both of the main islands in the British Isles start with an S. You may also notice that in Great Britain, the longest rivers that are entirely within each of the three countries all start with a T – and so does England's second longest.

Overseas

Canada Click for more information Click to show or hide the answer
France Click to show or hide the answer
The Iberian peninsula – 645 miles (1038 km); 716 km in Spain, 47 km along the border, 275 km in Portugal Click to show or hide the answer
Italy Click to show or hide the answer
New Zealand Click to show or hide the answer
South Africa Click to show or hide the answer
Spain (entirely) Click to show or hide the answer
Switzerland (entirely – a tributary of the Rhine) Click to show or hide the answer

© Haydn Thompson 2017