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Top 10 Largest Rivers in the World by Volume

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These 10 largest rivers in the world by volume have been providing people living on their banks with food, water and means of transport for centuries. They are hailed as cradles of civilization, providing humanity with sustainable agriculture that gave rise to the first cities. It’s no wonder some of them are considered holy. The rivers have been instrumental in shaping our civilization since the dawn of the human kind, although some of them can be very dangerous (read more in our article on Most Dangerous Rivers in the World).

Largest Rivers in the World by Volume, Amazon River


The river valleys often possess the most fertile land, a fact recognized by our ancestors. Once the first plants were domesticated and agriculture became a viable alternative food source, people started settling in towns along largest rivers in the world. The sheer volume of water these rivers had provided enough boost to the agriculture through irrigation of large areas that soon cities started developing. In Mesopotamia, this process started as early as 6,000 years ago, in 4th millennium BC.

Today, these largest rivers in the world haven’t lost its significance. Irrigation and transport in areas through which they flow are still very dependable on them. Most of them have been dammed, in order to harness their hydro potential and create electric power, further increasing their importance. Unfortunately, like with other natural resources, we have been rather careless with rivers. The levels of pollution are critical in several of the rivers on our list.

In order to create this list, we have excluded rivers that are tributaries of a larger river. This means cutting at least 3 Amazon tributaries (Madeira, Negro and Japura) as well as Parana, a tributary to Ro de la Plata. For the sake of clarity, we also excluded distributaries like Padma and Meghna, leaving the Brahmaputra as the sole representative of Ganges Delta on our list. Let’s see which other largest rivers in the world by volume are also on the list.

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