List of Major River Systems in the World

A river system is a number of rivers which consists of one main river, which drains into a lake or into the ocean, and all its tributaries. The source is where the water is coming from, for example, from spring water (waterfalls), mountains etc. in this article, we are giving the list of Major River Systems in the World which is very useful for the competitive examinations like UPSC-prelims, SSC, State Services, NDA, CDS, and Railways etc.
List of Major River Systems in the World
List of Major River Systems in the World

A river system is a number of rivers which consists of one main river, which drains into a lake or into the ocean, and all its tributaries. The source is where the water is coming from, for example, from spring water (waterfalls), mountains etc.

It is an important feature of most landscapes, acting as the principal mechanism for the transport of weathered debris away from upland areas and carrying it to lakes and seas, where much of the classic sediment is deposited.

Major River Systems in the World

1. Amazon River System

Country: Peru, Ecuador, Brazil

Source: Rio Mantaro

Tributaries: Marañón, Japurá/Caquetá, Rio Negro/Guainía, Putumayo, Ucayali, Purús, Madeira, Tapajós, Xingu

Destination: Atlantic Ocean

2. Amur River System

Country: Russia, China

Source: Lake Khanka

Tributaries: Shilka, Zeya, Bureya, Amgun, Ergune, Huma, Songhua, Ussuri

Destination: Sea of Okhotsk

3. Brahmaputra River System

Country: China, Mongolia, Russia

Source: Bhagirath Glacier

Tributaries: Dibang River, Lohit River, Dhansiri River, Kolong River, Kameng River, Manas River, Beki River, Raidak River, Jaldhaka River, Teesta River, Subansiri River

Destination: Andaman Sea

4. Chang Jiang (Yangtze) River System

Country: China

Source: Jari Hill

Tributaries: Yalong, Min, Tuo, Jialing, Han, Wu, Yuan, Zi, Xiang, Gan, Huangpu River, Teesta River, Subansiri River

Destination: East China Sea

5. Danube River System

Country: Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine

Source: Black Forest Mountain

Destination: Black Sea

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6. Dnieper River System

Country: Russia, Belarus, Ukraine

Source: Valdai hills (Russia)

Tributaries: Sozh, Desna, Trubizh, Supiy, Sula, Psel, Vorskla, Samara, Konka, Bilozerka, Drut, Berezina, Prypiat, Teteriv, Irpin, Stuhna, Ros, Tiasmyn, Bazavluk, Inhulets

Destination: Black Sea

7. Huang Ho River (Yellow River) System

Country: China

Source: Kunlun Mountain

Tributaries: Fen River, Tao River, Wei River

Destination: Gulf of Bohai

8. Indus River System

Country: China, India, Pakistan

Source: Mount Kailash

Tributaries: Zanskar River, Suru River, Soan River, Jhelum River, Chenab River, Ravi River, Beas River, Sutlej River, Panjnad River, Ghaggar-Hakra River, Luni River, Shyok River, Hunza River, Gilgit River, Swat River, Kunar River, Kabul River, Kurram River, Gomal River, Zhob River

Destination: Arabian Sea

9. Irrawaddy River System

Country: Myanmar

Source: Mali River

Tributaries: Chindwin, Mu, Myitnge

Destination: Andaman Sea

10. Lena River System

Country: Russia

Source: Lake Baikal

Tributaries: Kirenga, Vilyuy, Vitim, Olyokma, Aldan

Destination: Laptev Sea

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11. Mississippi River System

Country: Canada, United States of America (USA)

Source: Lake Itaska

Tributaries: Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri, Ohio and Red rivers

Destination: Gulf of Mexico

12. Mackenzie River System

Country: Canada

Source: Great Slave Lake

Tributaries: Liard River, Keele River, Arctic Red River, Peel River, Great Bear River

Destination: Beaufort Sea

13. Mekong River System

Country: China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam

Source: Lasagonagma Spring

Tributaries: Nam Khan, Tha, Nam Ou, Mun, Tonle Sap, Kok, Ruak

Destination: South China Sea

14. Murray River System

Country: Australia

Source: Australian Alps

Tributaries: Mitta Mitta River, Kiewa River, Ovens River, Goulburn River, Campaspe River, Loddon River, Swampy Plains River, Murrumbidgee River, Darling River

Destination: Southern Ocean

15. Madeira River System

Country: Bolivia, Brazil

Source: Mamore River

Tributaries: Madre de Dios River, Mamoré River, Ji-Paraná River, Dos Marmelos River, Manicoré River, Mataurá River, Mariepauá River, Aripuanã River

Destination: Amazon River

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16. Nile River System

Country: Egypt, Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Congo, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Eritrea

Source: Blue Nile and White Nile

Destination: Mediterranean Sea

17. Niger River System

Country: Guinea, Mali, Niger, Benin, Nigeria

Source: Guinea High Lands

Tributaries: Sokoto River, Kaduna River, Benue River, Anambra River, Bani River

Destination: Gulf of Guinea

18. Irtysh River System

Country: Mongolia, China, Kazakhstan, Russia

Source: Altai Mountain

Tributaries: Tobol River, Demyanka River and the Ishim River

Destination: Ob River

19. Orinoco River System

Country: Colombia, Venezuela

Source: Parima Mountains

Destination: Atlantic Ocean

20. Parana River System

Country: Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay

Source: Parima Mountain

Destination: Atlantic Ocean

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21. Purus River System

Country: Peru, Brazil

Source: Ucayali

Destination: Amazon River

22. Paraguay River System

Country: Paraguay, Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia

Source: Mato Grasso

Tributaries: Rio Negro, Miranda River, Cuiabá River, Apa River, Tebicuary River, Jauru River, Pilcomayo River, Bermejo River

Destination: Parana River

23. Sao Francisco River System

Country: Brazil

Source: Canastra Mountains

Destination: Atlantic Ocean

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24. Salween River System

Country: Thailand, China, Myanmar

Source: Tibet Plateau

Destination: Andaman Sea

25. Tarim River System

Country: China

Source: Tibet

Destination: Lop Nur

26.  Tigris River System

Country: Iraq, Turkey, Syria

Source: Turkey

Destination:  Shatt al-Arab

27. Ural River System

Country: Russia, Kazakhstan

Source: Ural Mountain

Destination:  Caspian Sea

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28. Volga River System

Country: Russia

Source: Valdai Hills

Tributaries: Kama, Oka

Destination: Caspian Sea

29. Yenisei River System

Country: Mongolia, Russia

Source:  Satnovoy Range

Tributaries: Angara, Lower Tunguska, Stony Tunguska River

Destination: Arctic Ocean

30. Yukon River System

Country: Canada, United States of America (USA)

Source: Atlin Lake

Tributaries: White River, Tanana River, Tagish River, Takhini River, Teslin River, Big Salmon River, Pelly River, Stewart River, Klondike River, Birch Creek, Koyukuk River

Destination:  Bering Sea

31. Zaire River (Congo River) System

Country: Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon

Source: Lake Mweru

Tributaries: Inkisi, Kwa-Kassai, Fimi, Kwango, Sankuru, Sangha (right), Kadei, Ubangi/ (right), Mbomou, Uele, Tshuapa River (left), Lomami River (left)

Destination: Atlantic Ocean

32. Zambezi River System

Country: Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Zambia, Angola, Mozambique

Source: Mwinlunga

Destination: Indian Ocean

Since prehistoric era, rivers played important role in life formation and human evolution. They provide a source of drinking water, for obtaining food, to fertilize lands and way to transport goods from place to place. Rivers also provide an important habitat for wildlife. They play an essential role in the ecology of rainforest and wetlands.

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