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Longest river in the world

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The Nile (Arabic: النيل‎, written as al-Nīl; pronounced as an-Nīl) is a major north-flowing river in northeastern Africa, and is the longest river in Africa and the disputed longest river in the world,[2][3] as the Brazilian government claims that the Amazon River is longer than the Nile.[4][5] The Nile, which is about 6,650 km (4,130 mi)[n 1] long, is an “international” river as its drainage basin covers eleven countries, namely, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Republic of the Sudan and Egypt.[7] In particular, the Nile is the primary water source of Egypt and Sudan.[8]

The Nile has two major tributaries, the White Nile and Blue Nile. The White Nile is considered to be the headwaters and primary stream of the Nile itself. The Blue Nile, however, is the source of most of the water and silt. The White Nile is longer and rises in the Great Lakes region of central Africa, with the most distant source still undetermined but located in either Rwanda or Burundi. It flows north through Tanzania, Lake Victoria, Uganda and South Sudan. The Blue Nile begins at Lake Tana in Ethiopia[9] and flows into Sudan from the southeast. The two rivers meet just north of the Sudanese capital of Khartoum.[10]

The northern section of the river flows north almost entirely through the Sudanese desert to Egypt, then ends in a large delta and flows into the Mediterranean Sea. Egyptian civilization and Sudanese kingdoms have depended on the river since ancient times. Most of the population and cities of Egypt lie along those parts of the Nile valley north of Aswan, and nearly all the cultural and historical sites of Ancient Egypt are found along river banks.

Sources of River Nile

The source of the Nile is sometimes considered to be Lake Victoria, but the lake has feeder rivers of considerable size. The Kagera River, which flows into Lake Victoria near the Tanzanian town of Bukoba, is the longest feeder, although sources do not agree on which is the longest tributary of the Kagera and hence the most distant source of the Nile itself.[23] It is either the Ruvyironza, which emerges in Bururi Province, Burundi,[24] or the Nyabarongo, which flows from Nyungwe Forest in Rwanda.[25] The two feeder rivers meet near Rusumo Falls on the Rwanda-Tanzania border.

The source of the Nile from an underwater spring at the neck of Lake Victoria, Jinja

In 2010, an exploration party[26] went to a place described as the source of the Rukarara tributary,[27] and by hacking a path up steep jungle-choked mountain slopes in the Nyungwe forest found (in the dry season) an appreciable incoming surface flow for many kilometres upstream, and found a new source, giving the Nile a length of 6,758 km (4,199 mi).

Gish Abay is reportedly the place where the “holy water” of the first drops of the Blue Nile develop.[28]


  1. ^ Struglia, Maria Vittoria; Mariotti, Annarita; Filograsso, Angelo (15 December 2004). “River Discharge into the Mediterranean Sea: Climatology and Aspects of the Observed Variability”. Journal of Climate17 (24): 4740–4751. doi:10.1175/JCLI-3225.1.
  2. Jump up to:a b “Nile River”Encyclopædia BritannicaArchived from the original on 29 April 2015.
  3. Jump up to:a b c 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”Int. J. Digital Earth2: 80–87. doi:10.1080/17538940902746082.
  4. ^ Amazon Longer Than Nile River, Scientists Say Archived 15 August 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ “How Long Is the Amazon River?”Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 24 December 2018.
  6. ^ “Where Does the Amazon River Begin?”National Geographic News. 15 February 2014. Retrieved 25 December 2018.
  7. ^ Oloo, Adams (2007). “The Quest for Cooperation in the Nile Water Conflicts: A Case for Eritrea” (PDF). African Sociological Review11 (1). Archived (PDF)from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 25 July 2011.
  8. Jump up to:a b Mohamed Helmy Mahmoud Moustafa Elsanabary”Teleconnection, Modeling, Climate Anomalies Impact and Forecasting of Rainfall and Streamflow of the Upper Blue Nile River Basin”. CanadaUniversity of Alberta. 2012. hdl:10402/era.28151.
  9. ^ The river’s outflow from that lake occurs at 12°02′09″N 37°15′53″E
  10. ^ “What’s the Blue Nile and the White Nile?”The Times of IndiaArchived from the original on 8 March 2017. Retrieved 31 July 2017.
  11. ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). “Nile” Encyclopædia Britannica19 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 695.
  12. Jump up to:a b Daniel Hillel (2007). The Natural History of the Bible: An Environmental Exploration of the Hebrew Scriptures. Columbia University Press. p. 88. ISBN 978-0-231-13363-0.
  13. ^ “Nile”. Oxford English Dictionary (3 ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2009.
  14. Jump up to:a b c Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). “Nile § Name” Encyclopædia Britannica19(11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 693.
  15. ^ An overview is given by: Carles Múrcia (2006). [1]Greek: Νεῖλος : El nom grec del riu Nil pot ser d’origen amazic? Archived 4 March 2014 at the Wayback Machine Aula Orientalis 24: 269–292
  16. ^ «Τηθὺς δ᾽ Ὠκεανῷ Ποταμοὺς τέκε δινήεντας,
    Νεῖλόν τ᾽ Ἀλφειόν τε καὶ Ἠριδανὸν βαθυδίνην» (Hesiod, “Theogony”, 337–338).
  17. ^ Marijke Eken (2012). “The origin of the word INDIGO and ANILA” (PDF). mekenart.com.
  18. ^ “Sacred blue lily of the Nile”Loch Ness Water Gardens.
  19. ^ “Nile”Online Etymology DictionaryArchived from the original on 8 March 2013. Retrieved 20 January 2013.
  20. ^ “The Nile River”. Nile Basin Initiative. 2011. Archived from the original on 2 September 2010. Retrieved 1 February 2011.
  21. ^ EarthTrends: The Environmental Information Portal Archived 27 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ “Bridging the Gap in the Nile Waters Dispute”Crisis Group. 20 March 2019. Retrieved 6 April 2019.
  23. ^ McLeay, Cam (2 July 2006). “The Truth About the Source of R. Nile”New Vision. Archived from the original on 9 April 2011. Retrieved 31 August 2011.
  24. ^ “Nile River”. Archived from the original on 10 January 2007. Retrieved 5 February 2011.
  25. ^ “Team Reaches Nile’s ‘True Source'”BBC News. 31 March 2006. Archivedfrom the original on 1 June 2013. Retrieved 4 April 2011.
  26. ^ Described in Joanna Lumley‘s Nile, 7 pm to 8 pm, ITV, Sunday 12 August 2011.
  27. ^ “Journey to the source of the Nile”TelegraphArchived from the original on 3 May 2012. Retrieved 6 September 2012.
  28. ^ Next on Egypt’s to-do: Ethiopia and the Nile Archived 9 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  29. ^ Arabic bahr can refer to either seas or large rivers.[14]
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