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Regarding the volume of flow and basin area, the Amazon River is South America’s biggest river and the world’s most extensive drainage system. While there is considerable disagreement over its length, it is widely assumed to be at least 4,000 miles (6,400 km), making it the world’s second-longest river after the Nile River in Africa. The Amazon Rainforest covers over half of the remaining rainforest and is the world’s most significant biological reservoir, home to over a million species.
See the fact file below for more information on the Amazon River, or download our 33-page Amazon River worksheet pack to utilize within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
THE AMAZON RIVER AND PEOPLE
- The Amazon River was highly vital to Amazonian communities during the Pre-Colombian era because it permitted commerce with Andean civilizations and cultivation in South America’s highlands.
- A wealth of archaeological evidence supports the existence of several extensive and sophisticated cultures in towns and cities along the Amazon River.
- The river was investigated when Europeans arrived. In March 1500, the Spanish Conquistador Vincent Yanez Pinson was said to have been the first European to do so.
- Many European explorers arrived in the nineteenth century to document the plants and animals in and around the river.
- As the colonial era progressed, the Amazon River was exploited to aid the commercial exploitation of the Amazon area. To navigate the river and its numerous tributaries, steamboats were developed.
- Steamboat economic growth saw settlements and trade spread far into the Amazon basin, mainly where they could cultivate rubber plantations.
- Unfortunately, the further up the Amazon River people went, the more indigenous people were exposed to illnesses and exploitation.
- Much of the area around the Amazon River remained uncultivated in the twentieth century until the 1960s when exploitation of the Amazon basin was seen as a way to boost the economy.
- The Amazon River has no dams, but its tributaries have over 1,100.
FUN FACTS ABOUT THE AMAZON RIVER
- The Amazon was originally known as the Maraón by Europeans, and the Peruvian section of the river is still known by that name today. It was later known as Rio Amazonas in Spanish and Portuguese.
- According to the New World Encyclopedia, the Amazon River’s 4,000-mile (6,437-kilometer) journey begins high in the Andes.
- These mountains function as a barrier, preventing warm, moist air from flowing from the east, resulting in heavy, continuous rainfall that regularly feeds the Amazon’s headwaters.
- The river then flows east thousands of kilometers through jungles and plains until emptying into the Atlantic Ocean on Brazil’s northeastern coast.
- According to the International Journal of Geo-Information, the Amazon River is the world’s second-longest river. It is somewhat shorter than the Nile River (4,258 miles or 6,853 km).
- However, some experts argue that the two rivers are so close in length (since measuring methods differ and there is still some debate over their exact sources) it is impossible to identify which is longer.
- According to the book Tropical Rainforest Responses to Climate Change, the Amazon River has the world’s most extensive drainage system, with over 1,100 tributaries, 17 of which are over 930 miles (1,497 km) long.
- According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the Amazon River carries nearly one-fifth of all the water that runs across the Earth’s surface. Its volume and total discharge exceed the following six greatest rivers combined.
- During the dry season (June to November), the Amazon River’s breadth ranges from 2 to 6 miles (3.2 to 9.6 km), depending on the location, while during the rainy season (December to April), the width may exceed 30 miles (48 kilometers). According to the New World Encyclopedia, the river may go more than four mph (6.4 km/h) during the rainy season.
- Spanish soldier Francisco de Orellana named the Amazon River. According to Explorers of the Amazon, he is credited with being the first European to trek the length of the river in 1541.
- He named it the Amazon after watching and fighting female fighters who reminded him of Greek mythology’s Amazons.
- The Amazon River flows through the Amazon Rainforest on the South American continent.
- Guyana, Ecuador, Venezuela, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, and Peru are all crossed by the Amazon.
- The Amazon River has nearly 1,100 tributaries. Freshwater flowing into an enormous stream or river is known as a tributary.
- The Amazon River runs around 6400 kilometers (4,000 miles).
- The Amazon River is separated into three sections: the Upper Amazon, Lower Amazon, and Mouth.
- The “Upper Amazon” refers to the river systems and flood plains in Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela, whose waters pour into the Solimes and its tributaries.
- The Lower Amazon starts where the darkly colored Rio Negro meets the sandy-hued Rio Solimes (the upper Amazon). These waterways flow side by side for almost 6 km (3.7 mi) without mingling.
- The lower Amazon was formerly an Atlantic Ocean gulf, and the seas washed the rocks at Bidos.
- The precise location of the Amazon’s mouth and its extent remains unexplored owing to the region’s unique terrain.
- The Amazon River initially comes from Lago Villafro in Peru’s Andes Mountains.
- Manaus is the biggest city on the Amazon River. This is a city in Brazil with a population of 1.7 million people.
- The Amazon river flows from Brazil into the Atlantic Ocean.
- Belém is the principal city and port near the river’s mouth on the Atlantic Ocean.
- Although the Amazon River is the world’s second-biggest, it is the greatest in watershed size, number of tributaries, and amount of water discharged to the sea.
- The river travels through the Amazon Rainforest for most of its length, with few highways and cities.
- The Amazon River is crossed mainly by ferry.
- The Amazon River is so large that it is thought to account for one-fifth of all freshwater that reaches the surrounding oceans.
- The world’s most enormous Amazon basin comprises around 40% of South America or approximately 7,050,000 km2.
- The Amazon River and its tributaries are marked by substantial wooded regions that flood during the rainy season.
- The river rises more than 9m (30ft) yearly, drowning the neighboring forests.
- These are known as várzea (“flooded forests”).
- The Amazon’s flooded forests are the world’s most widespread example of this habitat type.
- The Amazon rainforest, which surrounds the Amazon River, is the world’s most enormous forest.
FLORA AND FAUNA
- This forest is thought to include about 800 plant species of commercial or social worth. However, this figure is continually changing.
- The Amazon Rainforest is regarded to have the most abundant plants. The most common is the açai palm (Euterpe oleracea), a canopy species that may grow over 20 meters (65 feet) tall. Their berries provide food for many species, including macaws, parrots, toucans, monkeys, and others.
- Commonly used woods include myrtles, laurels, bignonias, figs, Spanish cedars, mahogany, and rosewood. They are home to a variety of epiphytes (plants that live on other plants), including orchids, bromeliads, cacti, ferns, and mosses.
- Orchids and bromeliads use trees and other plants to move closer to the sun. They grow as epiphytes, not parasites, on the branches or trunks of trees, with aerial roots.
- Brazil nut, rubber tree, and Assai palm are examples of Amazonian tropical trees.
- The Amazon River is home to over 5,600 different kinds of fish, with more being found each year.
- The arapaima, also known as the pirarucu in Brazil, is one of the world’s largest freshwater fish. It can grow to be 15 feet (4.6 m) long.
- The Amazon is also known for its piranha. Omnivorous by nature, it can congregate in huge groups and attack animals.
- Piranha has between 30 and 60 different species. A few species, notably the red-bellied piranha, are known to attack people. This is common when water levels are low and food is scarce, such as during the dry season or prolonged drought.
- The candir is a parasite freshwater catfish native to the Amazon River.
- Another catfish’s ventral fins ‘travel’ overland to reach new pools of water.
- The Amazon River’s goliath catfish may grow to be 3.6 m (12 ft) long and 200 kg (440 lb) in weight.
- The Amazon basin is home to the electric eel and over 100 kinds of electric fish.
- River stingrays and bull sharks have been observed as far up the Amazon River as 4,000 kilometers (2,500 miles).
- The endangered pink river dolphin lives in the Amazon River.
- This is the most prominent river dolphin species, reaching lengths of up to 2.6 m. (8.5 ft).
- The color of their skin varies with age; young animals are gray, but as they develop, they turn pink, then white.
- Dolphins use echolocation to navigate and hunt in the river’s treacherous depths.
- The Amazon and its tributaries are the giant otter’s primary habitats.
- It is one of South America’s top carnivores and is frequently referred to as the “river wolf.”
- Its population has declined substantially as a result of habitat degradation and poaching. It is currently included in Appendix I of the Convention on International Commerce in Endangered Species (CITES), prohibiting international trade.
- The Anaconda lives in the Amazon basin’s shallow waters. The Anaconda, one of the world’s giant snakes, spends most of its life beneath the water, with just its nostrils above the surface.
Birds and Butterflies
- The Amazon River basin may be the most diverse place in terms of butterfly diversity. The Amazon River and basin passes through nine countries.
- Isolation has resulted in the emergence of endemic higher taxa.
- The Hyacinth macaw is the world’s giant parrot. From beak to tail, it measures 4 feet (1.2 m).
- The Toco toucan is the most significant species of toucan.
- The blue and yellow macaw is one of the most beautiful Amazon Rainforest birds.
- Scarlet macaw, Spectacled owl, Hoatzin, Jabiru stork, and Laughing falcon are also common.
Amazon River Worksheets
This fantastic bundle includes everything you need to know about the Amazon River across 33 in-depth pages. These ready-to-use worksheets are perfect for teaching kids about the Amazon River, the largest river in the world by volume and the second longest, stretching over 6,400 km through nine countries in South America and known for its vast tropical rainforest, diverse wildlife, and important role in regulating the Earth’s climate.
Complete List of Included Worksheets
Below is a list of all the worksheets included in this document.
- Amazon River Facts
- Fact Check
- Path of Rio Amazonas
- A Day at the River
- Fill the Space
- Rainforest Plants and Animals
- The Amazon
- River of Words
- Which is Which?
- South America’s Wonder
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there dolphins in the Amazon River?
Yes! The Amazon River is home to the endangered freshwater dolphin.
What is the Amazon River famous for?
It is the greatest river in South America and boasts the largest drainage system in the world.
How did the Amazon River get its name?
It is believed that one of the early Spanish explorers came into conflict with an indigenous tribe and was attacked by female warriors. So he named the river after the mythological Greek female warriors, the Amazons.
What is the Amazon Basin?
The Amazon Basin is the area surrounding the Amazon River, including its tributaries and the surrounding rainforest. It covers an area of over 7 million km² and is home to a diverse array of flora and fauna, as well as indigenous communities who have lived in the region for thousands of years.
What countries does the Amazon flow through?
The Amazon River flows through five countries from its source to the Atlantic ocean: Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Brazil.
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Link will appear as Amazon River Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, February 7, 2023
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.