The Amazon basin

Map of the Amazon Basin by Karl Musser

The Amazon River is huge. In fact, it flows more water than the next seven biggest rivers combined! It’s in South America; it’s about 4,000 miles long; and, it runs through through several countries: Guyana, Ecuador, Venezuela, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia and Peru.

The Amazon River is so big because it drains water from an immense area called the Amazon basin (the basin is the yellow portion in the picture you see here). When rain falls in the Amazon basin, some of the water ends up in the Amazon River. And, since the basin also includes the largest rainforest in the world, there’s plenty of water to fill up the river, especially during the rainy season.

As the Amazon flows from west to east, smaller rivers and streams add water along the way. So, when the Amazon finally reaches the Atlantic Ocean, it accounts for about one-fifth of all the river-water in the entire world. That’s a very big river indeed.

Fun Fact: During the rainy season, the Amazon River can grow to a width of over 150 miles as it empties into the Atlantic Ocean.

Fun Fact: The amount of water that flows out of the Amazon River is greater than the total outflow of the the next seven largest rivers in the world combined. The second-largest river in the world is the Congo River in Africa. But the Amazon River is five times larger than the Congo River.

Fun Fact: The Amazon Rain Forest, which sends huge amounts of water into the Amazon River, covers an area of over 2 million square miles! (That’s over 5 million square kilometers.)

Fun Fact: More than 3,000 different kinds of fish have been identified in the Amazon basin, and more are being discovered all the time. For comparison, the Mississippi River, which is the largest river in North America has about 120 different kinds of fish.

Fun Fact: The Amazon rainforest accounts for more than half of the entire world’s remaining rainforests.

Fun Fact: The Amazon rainforest is also referred to as the “Lungs of the Planet” because its trees and plants produce more than 20% of the world’s oxygen.

About South America

It’s a Fact: South America is one of the seven continents. The other continents are: North America, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia-Oceania, and Antarctica.

It’s a Fact: South America has 12 countries. They are: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela.

It’s a Fact: The two languages that are most commonly spoken in South America are Spanish and Portuguese.

It’s a Fact: Brazil is the largest country in South America. In fact, almost half the people who live in South America are Brazilians.

It’s a Fact: South America is bordered by the Pacific Ocean on the west and the Atlantic Ocean on the east. The Amazon River flows into the Atlantic Ocean.