Top 10 Longest Rivers In The World

Last updated on April 12th, 2022

10. The Amur – the tenth longest river in the world

The Amur River is a natural border between the superpowers Russia and China. The lands surrounding it were mostly untouched for centuries but lucrative resources are slowly drawing more people. Conflicts have erupted and territories have changed hands several times but economic cooperation is prevailing for now.

1. Name Origin

“Amur” evolved from words that mean “water” from old Asiatic languages. In Mongolia, it is called Khar moron which means Black River. In China, it’s called Heilong Jiang or Black Dragon River.

2. Four Countries

The Amur River’s catchment area surpasses that of the Mekong, Yangtze, and Yellow Rivers. Its watershed covers parts of Russia, China, Mongolia, and North Korea.

3. Multiple Landscape Zones

The basin is so massive that it features multiple landscape zones in every direction. You can find areas that are deciduous forest, steppe, taiga, desert, and mountain tundra.

4. Wealth of Fish Species

According to researchers, there are about 125 species of fish in the river which is the highest number for a Russian river. Many of these are predatory fishes such as the northern snakehead, yellowcheek, taimen, Amur catfish, Amur pike, and predatory carp.

The Amur River panorama
The Amur River panorama. The world’s tenth longest river. Image credit – Raita Futo

5. Largest Freshwater Fish

The largest species of fish here is the kaluga which is a predatory sturgeon that can grow to a length of 18 feet and a weight of 2,205 pounds.

6. Population Density Trends

North of the river is Russia’s Far East which has a population of only 6.3 million and a density of 1 person per square kilometer. South of the river is China’s northern region which has 107 million people or a density of 135 per square kilometer.

7. Previous Inhabitants

The Amur valley has been inhabited by different ethnic groups over the centuries including the Tungusic, the Mongols, the Ainu, and the Nivkhs. The Han Chinese called them Fish-skin Tatars because their clothes were made from this material.

8. Treaty of Nerchinsk

The Russians and the Chinese eventually explored the region and fought over it. In 1689, the Treaty of Nerchinsk ended the hostilities with the Chinese gaining the upper hand.

Amur river on map

9. Tsar Nicolas II

Tsar Nicolas II is remembered for his territorial expansion from the Caucasus in Western Asia to Siberia in the Far East. During his reign, the Russians saw the Amur River as an opportunity for national redemption.

10. Treaty of Aigun

By the 1800s, the Amur Valley was still underdeveloped. The Russians came back and overpowered the Chinese. In the Treaty of Aigun, the Chinese yielded the land north of the river.

11. Sino-Soviet Split

China and the former USSR began to differ in their interpretations of Marxism. The two broke their political relations from 1956 to 1966. This led to a border conflict along the Amur.

Trans Siberian railway
Trans Siberian railway. List of the top ten longest rivers in the world. Image credit – Boccaccio1

12. Trans-Siberian Railway

This railway connected Moscow in Western Russian to Vladivostok in the Far East, passing through the Amur River. It is considered to be the longest direct rail route in the world with a length of over 9,289 kilometres spanning 8 time zones and taking about 7 days to complete its journey.

13. Amur River Bridge

The agreement to build a bridge across the river was signed way back in 1995. By 2016, the Chinese completed their part but Russians only started. The whole structure was finished in 2021. It will mainly be used for iron ore transport.

14. Biggest Shipping Artery

The Amur River is ice-free from May to November which makes conditions favorable for navigation. Ships mostly carry grains, salt, oil, fish, manufactured goods, and timber.

15. Power of Siberia Pipeline

China’s phenomenal growth requires massive energy consumption and its Russian neighbors are eager to deliver. The Power of Siberia Pipeline crosses the Amur River. The 30-year deal is worth $400 billion.

Amur River – quick facts and statistics

NameThe Amur
SourceOnon-Shilka (Khan Khentii Strictly Protected Area, Khentii Province, Mongolia)
MouthStrait of Tartary (near Nikolayevsk-on-Amur, Khabarovsk Krai, Russia)
Length 1. 2,824 km (1,755 mi)

2. 4444 km (2,763 mi) - including its source river Argun.
Direction of flowwest to east
CountriesRussia and China
Major citiesBlagoveshchensk, Heihe, Tongjiang ,Khabarovsk, Amursk, Komsomolsk-on-Amur, Nikolayevsk-on-Amur
Table last updatedDecember 6, 2021