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List of rivers of the Americas

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Amazon River near Parintins, Brazil

This is a list of rivers of the Americas, it includes major historical or physiological significant rivers of the Americas grouped by region where they are located (Central America, Northern America, West Indies and South Americas). The longest rivers in each country are included. Further details and references are provided in each river's separate article. Unusually significant tributaries appear in this list, under the river into which they drain.

The longest river in the Americas is the Amazon River. The length of the Amazon River is usually said to be "at least" 6,400 km (4,000 mi),[1] but reported values lie anywhere between 6,275–7,025 km (3,899–4,365 mi).[2] The length measurements of many rivers are only approximations and differ from each other because there are many factors that determine the calculated river length, such as the position of the geographical source and the mouth, the scale of measurement, and the length measuring techniques (for details see also List of rivers by length).[2][3]

There are 11 countries in the Americas that do not have rivers: Anguilla,[4] Aruba, Bermuda,[5] Bonaire, Cayman Islands,[6] Curaçao, Saba, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Martin, Sint Eustatius, and Sint Maarten.

North America[edit]

Central America[edit]

Map of Central America

The water in rivers in Central America flows to either the Atlantic Ocean or Pacific Ocean. The Río Coco, locally known as the Wanks, runs along the border with Honduras and is the longest river flowing totally within Central America. The second longest river in Central America is the Patuca River.[7][8]

Some of the significant rivers and their lengths in Central America include:

Significant rivers in Central America
River Countries Length Significance
Aguán River Honduras 150 mi (240 km) The Aguán River's watershed is one of seven watersheds in Honduras,[9] and covers over 1 million hectares (3,900 sq mi), of which around 200,000 are in the Aguán River Valley.[10]
Cahabón River Guatemala 122 mi (196 km) known for white water rapids[11]
Choluteca River Honduras 217 mi (349 km) noted for severe flooding in 1998[12]
Chucunaque River Panama 144 mi (232 km) longest river in Panama
Coco River (Wanki River) Honduras and Nicaragua 470 mi (760 km) border river, longest river in Honduras and Nicaragua
Dulce River Guatemala 27 mi (43 km) largest bridge in Central America, location of Tarzan movie in 1939[13]
Lempa River El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala 262 mi (422 km) longest and only navigable river in El Salvador[14]
Los Esclavos River Guatemala 90 mi (140 km) known for bridge built over the river in 1579 as Spanish Colony[15]
Motagua River Guatemala 250 mi (400 km) longest river in Guatemala[16]
New River Belize 82 mi (132 km) longest river within Belize
Patuca River Honduras 310 mi (500 km) longest river within Honduras[8]
Reventazón River Costa Rica 90 mi (140 km) used to generate significant portion of Costa Rica's electricity
San Juan River Costa Rica, Nicaragua 110 mi (180 km) longest river in Costa Rica[17]
Tempisque River Costa Rica 89 mi (143 km) longest river totally within Costa Rica, important animal habitat, flows entirely within Costa Rica[18]
Ulúa River Honduras 150 mi (240 km) known for ornate calcite vessels that date from the Mayan times[19]

Northern America[edit]

North American watersheds (Atlantic, Arctic, Great Basin, & Pacific)
Columbia River basin
Mississippi River basin
Yellowstone River flowing through Paradise Valley
Great Basin

Water from rivers in the Northern Americas flows toward either the Arctic Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, the land-locked Great Basin in the western United States or the interior basin in Mexico.

The Missouri River is the longest river in North America and the United States (2,341 mi (3,767 km)).[20] The second longest river in North America and the United States is the Mississippi River (2,320 mi (3,730 km)). The Rio Conchos (350 mi (560 km)) is the longest river in Mexico. The longest river in Canada is the Mackenzie River (1,080 mi (1,740 km)).

Some of the longest or otherwise notable rivers include the rivers listed in the table below.

Significant rivers in Northern America
River Countries Length Tributary of Significance
Alabama River US: Alabama 318 mi (512 km) Gulf of Mexico The Edmund Pettus Bridge crosses the Alabama River near Selma. The bridge was the site of the famous marches for voting rights in 1965
Alsek River Canada: Yukon US: Alaska 240 mi (390 km) Gulf of Alaska, Pacific Ocean wilderness river
Altamaha River US: Georgia 137 mi (220 km) Atlantic Ocean bioreserve
Apalachicola River US: Florida 160 mi (260 km) Gulf of Mexico scenic river, former border between East and West Florida
Chattahoochee River US: Georgia, Alabama, Florida 430 mi (690 km) Apalachicola River state borders
Flint River US: Georgia, Alabama, Florida 344 mi (554 km) Apalachicola River mentioned in Gone with the Wind
Colorado River US: Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, California Mexico:Baja California, Sonora 1,450 mi (2,330 km) Gulf of California, Pacific Ocean Known for its dramatic canyons, whitewater rapids, and eleven U.S. National Parks; vital source of water in Southwest US
Columbia River Canada: British Columbia US: Washington, Oregon 1,243 mi (2,000 km) Pacific Ocean largest river in Pacific Northwest, largest river emptying into the Pacific Ocean in North America
James River US: Virginia 348 mi (560 km) Hampton Roads, Chesapeake Bay, Atlantic Ocean the first permanent English settlement in America and all past and current Virginia capitols, Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Richmond are located along its shores
Snake River US: Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, Washington 1,078 mi (1,735 km) Columbia River largest tributary of Columbia River, shores populated by Native Americans, discovered by Lewis and Clark
Okanogan River Canada: British Columbia US: Washington 115 mi (185 km) Columbia River early 1800s fur trading river
Kettle River Canada: British Columbia, US: Washington 175 mi (282 km) Columbia River association with Columbia River
Pend Oreille River US: Washington, Idaho, Canada: British Columbia 130 mi (210 km) Columbia River native people (Pend d'Oreilles and Kalispe) lived along the river
Kootenay River Canada: British Columbia US: Montana 480 mi (770 km) Columbia River major tributary of Columbia River, early home to Native Americans
Willamette River US: Oregon 187 mi (301 km) Columbia River well known vineyards around river
Delaware River US: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland 301 mi (484 km) Delaware Bay and Atlantic Ocean shores home to Native Americans, associated with several American Revolution battles and Washington Crossing the Delaware
Brandywine River US: Pennsylvania, Delaware 20 mi (32 km) Christina River, Delaware River designated Pennsylvania Scenic Rivers, associated with the Battle of Brandywine
Schuylkill River US: Pennsylvania 135 mi (217 km) Delaware River Philadelphia
Fraser River Canada: British Columbia 854 mi (1,374 km) Strait of Georgia Pacific Ocean longest river in British Columbia, visited by Spanish explorers in 1792
Thompson River Canada: British Columbia 304 mi (489 km) Fraser River evidence of prehistoric settlements along river
Chilcotin River Canada: British Columbia 150 mi (240 km) Fraser River important to indigenous people
Nechako River Canada: British Columbia 321 mi (517 km) Fraser River first explored by Europeans in 1806
Hudson River US: New York, New Jersey 315 mi (507 km) New York Harbor Atlantic Ocean explored by Henry Hudson in 1609
Mohawk River US: New York 149 mi (240 km) Hudson River important to transportation and migration
Mackenzie River Canada: Northwest Territories, Yukon 1,080 mi (1,740 km) Beaufort Sea Arctic Ocean longest river in Canada
Liard River Canada: British Columbia, Northwest Territories 693 mi (1,115 km) Mackenzie River marks the north end of the Rocky Mountains
Slave River Canada: Alberta, Northwest Territories 270 mi (430 km) Mackenzie River named for the Slavey people
Peace River Canada: British Columbia, Alberta 1,195 mi (1,923 km) Slave River part of Finlay–Peace–Slave–Mackenzie river system--13th longest in the world, traditional Danezaa people lived along its shores
Athabasca River Canada: Alberta 765 mi (1,231 km) Slave River Canadian Heritage Rivers System
Majorqaq Greenland: Qeqqata 44 mi (71 km) Atlantic Ocean Greenland is considered part of North America physiography. This river is the outflow of a glacier.[21]
Mississippi River US: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana 2,320 mi (3,730 km) Gulf of Mexico 2nd longest river in Northern Americas
Arkansas River US: Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas 1,469 mi (2,364 km) Mississippi River 6th longest river in US
Canadian River US: Oklahoma, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas 906 mi (1,458 km) Arkansas River explored by Spanish in 1601
Cimarron River US: Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma 698 mi (1,123 km) Arkansas River explored by Francisco Vásquez de Coronado in 1541, no major cities along route
Des Moines River US: Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri 525 mi (845 km) Mississippi River explored by early French explorers
Illinois River US: Illinois 273 mi (439 km) Mississippi River important transportation route
Minnesota River US: Minnesota 370 mi (600 km) Mississippi River longest river within Minnesota
Missouri River US: Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri 2,341 mi (3,767 km) Mississippi River longest river in Northern Americas
Yellowstone River US: Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota 692 mi (1,114 km) Missouri River important transportation route for Native Americans, associated with Yellowstone Park
Platte River US: Nebraska 310 mi (500 km) Missouri River home to Native Americans, first explored by the Spanish in the 1540s
Milk River Canada: Alberta, US: Montana 792 mi (1,275 km) Missouri River subject of 1908 Supreme Court case for Native American rights
Ohio River US: Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois 981 mi (1,579 km) Mississippi River Native American significance
Allegheny River US: Pennsylvania, New York 325 mi (523 km) Ohio River Native American and early colonial history
Cumberland River US: Kentucky, Tennessee 688 mi (1,107 km) Allegheny River Native American and riverboat significance
Kanawha River US: West Virginia 97 mi (156 km) Allegheny River largest inland waterway in West Virginia
Scioto River US: Ohio 231 mi (372 km) Allegheny River longest river within Ohio
Tennessee River US:Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky 652 mi (1,049 km) Ohio River Cherokee lived along river, largest Ohio River tributary
Red River of the South US: Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana 1,360 mi (2,190 km) Gulf of Mexico second largest river basin in the Great Plains, former border with Mexico
Rock River US: Wisconsin, Illinois 299 mi (481 km) Mississippi River notable Rock River Water Trail
Wisconsin River US: Wisconsin 420 mi (680 km) Mississippi River longest river within Wisconsin
Nass River Canada: British Columbia 270 mi (430 km) Portland Inlet, Pacific Ocean volcanic activity near river, salmon fishery
Potomac River US: West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, District of Columbia 405 mi (652 km) Chesapeake Bay, Atlantic Ocean 4th largest drainage basin on the East Coast of the US, largest river in DC, military historical events in US history
Shenandoah River US: Virginia, West Virginia 56 mi (90 km) Potomac River well known since colonial times
Roanoke River US: Virginia, North Carolina 410 mi (660 km) Atlantic Ocean site of early Native American and colonial settlements
Rio Conchos Mexico: Chihuahua (state) 350 mi (560 km) Rio Grande important river in northern Mexico, largest tributary of the Rio Grande
Rio Grande Mexico: Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas, US: Colorado, New Mexico, Texas 1,896 mi (3,051 km) Gulf of Mexico longest US/Mexico border river
Sacramento River US: California 400 mi (640 km) Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta, San Francisco Bay, Pacific Ocean largest river in California, California Gold Rush
Pit River US: California 207 mi (333 km) Sacramento River Native American home
Feather River US: California 73 mi (117 km) Sacramento River home to the Maidu Native Americans
Saskatchewan Canada: Manitoba, Saskatchewan 340 mi (550 km) Lake Winnipeg important transportation route in Pre-Columbian era, three hydroelectric dams
Skagit River Canada: British Columbia US: Washington 240 mi (390 km) Puget Sound, Pacific Ocean home to Skagit peoples
Skeena River Canada: British Columbia 350 mi (560 km) Pacific Ocean 2nd longest river in British Columbia
Babine River Canada: British Columbia 97 mi (156 km) Skeena River one of the last unspoiled rivers
St. Johns River US: Florida 310 mi (500 km) Atlantic Ocean longest river within Florida
Saint Lawrence River Canada: Ontario, Quebec US: New York 310 mi (500 km) Gulf of St. Lawrence, Atlantic Ocean connects Great Lakes, provides basis for St. Lawrence Seaway
Cuyahoga River US: Ohio 84.9 mi (136.6 km) Saint Lawrence River 1795 western boundary of US, so polluted in 1969 that it caught fire
Detroit River Canada: Ontario US: Michigan 28 mi (45 km) Saint Lawrence River one of world's busiest waterways, border river, designated American Heritage Rivers and Canadian Heritage Rivers System
Fox River US: Wisconsin 200 mi (320 km) Green Bay, Lake Michigan largest tributary of Lake Michigan
Saginaw River US: Michigan 22 mi (35 km) Saginaw Bay, Saint Lawrence River important shipping route
Ottawa River Canada: Quebec, Ontario 791 mi (1,273 km) Saint Lawrence River vital role for Algonquin people, Provincial border
Morice Canada: British Columbia 150 mi (240 km) Saint Lawrence River or Skeena River endangered river, Enbridge pipeline threat
Susquehanna River US: New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland 444 mi (715 km) Chesapeake Bay, Atlantic Ocean longest river on the East-Coast of the US
Yukon River Canada: Yukon, British Columbia US: Alaska 1,980 mi (3,190 km) Bering Sea, Pacific Ocean longest river flowing through Canada and Alaska
Tanana River US: Alaska 540 mi (870 km) Yukon River evidence of Paleo-Arctic human activity, Nenana Ice Classic contest for charity to predict ice-out
Usumacinta River Mexico: Tabasco, Guatemala 620 mi (1,000 km) Gulf of Mexico important to Mayan Civilization
South Saskatchewan River Canada: Alberta, Saskatchewan 865 mi (1,392 km) Saskatchewan River
North Saskatchewan River Canada: Alberta, Saskatchewan 800 mi (1,300 km) Saskatchewan River
Assiniboine River Canada: Saskatchewan, Manitoba 660 mi (1,060 km) Red River of the North
Red River of the North United States: Minnesota, North Dakota Canada: Manitoba 550 mi (890 km) Lake Winnipeg

West Indies[edit]

The West Indies in relation to the continental Americas

The significant rivers in the West Indies include the following:

Significant rivers in the West Indies
River Countries Length Significance
Artibonite River Haiti, Dominican Republic 199 mi (320 km) longest river in Haiti
Caroni River Trinidad and Tobago 25 mi (40 km) longest river in Trinidad and Tobago[22]
Cauto River Cuba 230 mi (370 km) longest river in Cuba and the Caribbean/West Indies[23]
Chavón River Dominican Republic historically used by pirates to hide treasure
Colonarie River Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 5 mi (8.0 km) longest river in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Constitution River Barbados 0.35 mi (0.56 km) longest river in Barbados[24]
Haina River Dominican Republic 53 mi (85 km) noted for discovery of gold in 1496[25]
Layou River Dominica 14.63 mi (23.54 km) longest river of Dominica
Nizao River Dominican Republic three hydroelectric plants on river, has since dried up due to aggregate extraction[26][27]
Ozama River Dominican Republic 92 mi (148 km) In 1498, Bartolome Colon had a fort built on the Ozama River delta, which would later become the first permanent European settlement in the New World (Santo Domingo).[28]
Rio Minho Jamaica 57.7 mi (92.9 km) longest river in Jamaica[29]
Rivière Soliette Haiti, Dominican Republic (called Arroyo Blanco) On 24 May 2004, it overran its banks resulting in the death of over one thousand individuals, with hundreds more injured and homeless near the city of Jimani.[30][31][32]
Rosseau River Saint Lucia longest river in Saint Lucia
Saint Johns River Grenada longest river in Grenada
Yaque del Norte River Dominican Republic 185 mi (298 km) longest river in the Dominican Republic
Yuna River Dominican Republic second longest river in the Dominican Republic[33]

South America[edit]

Amazon River basin

The following are some of the significant rivers in South America

Related articles and lists[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Amazon River". Encyclopædia Britannica. Archived from the original on 8 November 2020.
  2. ^ a b Liu, Shaochuang; Lu, P; Liu, D; Jin, P; Wang, W (1 March 2009). "Pinpointing the sources and measuring the lengths of the principal rivers of the world" (PDF). Int. J. Digital Earth. 2 (1): 80–87. Bibcode:2009IJDE....2...80L. doi:10.1080/17538940902746082. S2CID 27548511. Retrieved 29 December 2018.
  3. ^ "Where Does the Amazon River Begin?". National Geographic News. 15 February 2014. Archived from the original on 27 March 2019. Retrieved 25 December 2018.
  4. ^ Green, Richard; Commonwealth Secretariat (2006), The Commonwealth Yearbook 2006, Nexus Strategic Partnerships Ltd., p. 404, ISBN 978-0-9549629-4-4.
  5. ^ Green & Commonwealth Secretariat 2006, p. 405.
  6. ^ "Water Suppliers in the Cayman Islands – Water Authority Cayman". waterauthority.ky. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
  7. ^ "Nicaragua: The Land". Archived from the original on 2007-04-05. Retrieved 2007-06-22.
  8. ^ a b "In Honduras, Scientists Try to Learn the Secrets of the Patuca River Before It's Dammed". National Geographic. Archived from the original on August 17, 2010. Retrieved June 21, 2021.
  9. ^ "USGS - Water Resources of Honduras - Aguan". usgs.gov. Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  10. ^ Jeffrey R. Jones, Colonization and Environment: Land Settlement Projects in Central America, The United Nations University Press, 1990
  11. ^ "Cahabon River". Anywhere.com. Retrieved June 22, 2021.
  12. ^ Anderson, John Ward (1999-04-19). "A Hero Emerges From Mitch's Devastation". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2021-01-08.
  13. ^ CONAP. "Listado de Áreas Protegidas (enero, 2011)" (in Spanish). conap.gob.gt. Archived from the original (xls) on 2011-10-08. Retrieved 2011-06-14.
  14. ^ "Lempa River". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved June 21, 2021.
  15. ^ La Ilustración Guatemalteca (1 April 1897). "Nuestro grabados:El puente sobre el Río de los Esclavos". La Ilustración Guatemalteca (in Spanish). I (18). Síguere, Guirola y Cía. Baltazar de Orena was a Spanish poet, friend of Miguel de Cervantes.
  16. ^ "Motagua River". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved June 21, 2021.
  17. ^ Greenberg, Amy S. (2005). Manifest manhood and the Antebellum American empire. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-84096-1.
  18. ^ "Tempisque River". Government of Costa Rica. Retrieved June 22, 2021.
  19. ^ "Ulua River Vessels". British Museum Collection.
  20. ^ Howard Perlman, USGS (October 31, 2012). "Lengths of major rivers, from USGS Water-Science School". Ga.water.usgs.gov. Archived from the original on March 9, 2014. Retrieved November 21, 2012.
  21. ^ Maniitsoq, Saga Map, Tage Schjøtt, 1992
  22. ^ Anthony, Michael (1997). Historical dictionary of Trinidad and Tobago. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press. p. 107. ISBN 0-585-21030-6. OCLC 44959425.
  23. ^ "Caribbean Geography". World Atlas. 25 April 2017. Retrieved 2021-06-09.
  24. ^ "Barbados" (PDF). CPB US. Retrieved June 22, 2021.
  25. ^ Floyd, Troy (1973). The Columbus Dynasty in the Caribbean, 1492-1526. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. pp. 32–34, 44.
  26. ^ "RD$350M to recover Nizao river, top Dominican ecologist says - DominicanToday.com". Archived from the original on 2014-04-26. Retrieved 2013-04-14.
  27. ^ Jobin, William R.; Jobin, William (1999). Dams and disease: ecological design and health impacts of large dams, canals and irrigation systems. Taylor & Francis. pp. 157–158. ISBN 978-0-419-22360-3.
  28. ^ Floyd, Troy (1973). The Columbus Dynasty in the Caribbean, 1492–1526. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. p. 34.
  29. ^ "Rio Minho". ArcGIS. Retrieved June 22, 2021.
  30. ^ "Arroyo Blanco". Washington Post.
  31. ^ "Riviere Soliette". Paho.
  32. ^ "Riviere Soliette". The Independent UK.
  33. ^ De la Fuente, Santiago (1976). Geografía Dominicana. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic: Editora Colegial Quisqueyana. pp. 110–114.
General references