The Amazon River is the second longest river in the world, and the largest in terms of the size of its watershed, the number of tributaries, and the volume of water discharged into the sea. No bridge crosses the river along its entire length.  

The Amazon and its tributaries flow through the countries of Peru, Bolivia, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, and Brazil before emptying into the Atlantic Ocean 6, 437 kilometers (4,000 miles) from the Amazon's headwaters high in the Andes mountains of Peru. This huge watershed includes the largest tropical rainforest in the world as well as areas of dry grassland, or savannah.  

The rainforest's climate has heavy rainfalls and continuous high temperatures. These forests are so huge that scientists believe they actually help control the world's climate in important ways. Destruction of the forests as settlers clear the land for farming and companies harvest trees for lumber is believed to be contributing to the problem of global warming.  

The Amazon is home to a variety of  Indian cultures who have a great deal of knowledge about the rich and complex rainforest environment. As settlement brings changes to the forest, these cultural groups are also changing, and the lessons they have gained through thousands of years of living within the rainforest are in danger of being lost.  Scientists are trying to learn from the Amazon's native peoples about the amazing variety of rainforest plants and animals before they become extinct. Rainforest plants and animals may hold cures to diseases and provide information and materials valuable to people around the world.  

Photo of the Amazon River Basin  Click on the map to see a larger version. The above photo and larger map are courtesy of the Science Museum of Minnesota and their Greatest Places program. 

Want to learn more about  the Amazon River?
Click here for an interesting web page and trivia questions to test your knowledge!!

We have a special guest  for your study of the Amazon River
Click here to learn more about Glenn Switkes! 

Flags of the Countries that the Amazon River flows through 

Flag of Peru 

Flag of Bolivia 

Flag of Venezula 

Flag of Columbia 

Flag of Ecuador 

Flag of Brazil 

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Profiles of World's Great Rivers

Center for Global Environmental Education
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