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Explorers embark on voyage to determine if Amazon is longer than Nile River

While the Nile River is currently considered longest in world, some researchers argue it could have been mismeasured
A man rides a boat on waters of White Nile River in Sudan's Jabal al-Awliya area, on 11 March 2023 (AFP)

A team of international explorers will be voyaging the length of the Amazon River to map and measure its entire course and see if it’s longer than the Nile River, which is said to be the longest river in the world. 

For the next seven months, researchers will map the Amazon River from its starting point in the Peruvian Andes to its mouth in the Atlantic Ocean. If the voyage goes well, they will then measure the Nile, which researchers argue could also be mismeasured. 

According to the Washington Post, there is currently a dispute as to which river is longer, the Amazon or the Nile. The difference in the lengths is just 212km, the US Geological Survey and Brittanica reported.

Some researchers argue that because the difference is so small, it is possible that both rivers have to be remeasured to get accurate measurements. There is also the question of where the rivers actually begin and where they end. 

“Any deviation in measurement, any change in the river’s course, natural or otherwise, can yield different lengths - and reshuffle the ranking,” the Washington Post reported. 

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The Post reported that in 1846, according to the atlas “Maps of Useful Knowledge,” the Amazon was the world’s longest river, at 5,150km; the Nile came in at 4,426km.

The Nile versus Amazon

The Nile River is found in northeast Africa and has long been recognised as the longest river in the world, stretching 6,695km, the US Geological Survey and Brittanica reported. The river is most heavily associated with Egypt and it flows through eleven countries, which include Tanzania; Uganda; the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Rwanda; Burundi; Ethiopia; Kenya; Eritrea; South Sudan; and Sudan.

The river serves as a source of irrigation, as well as being an important transportation and trade route.

Egypt: Authorities remove all of Cairo's iconic Nile houseboats
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In 2022, Egyptian authorities removed an entire community of houseboats in Cairo that floated near the banks of the Nile. 

Some residents had lived in their houseboats for dozens of years, tending their front gardens and seeing their children and grandchildren grow up on the river.

The 32 houseboats sat on a narrow section of the Nile bank, which stretched nearly one kilometre up to the Imbaba Bridge.

The Amazon River is found in the northern portion of South America, flowing from west to east. It originates in the Andes Mountains of Peru and travels through Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Brazil, before ending in the Atlantic Ocean.

The Amazon River is the largest river by volume in the world. It discharges an average of 209,000 cubic metres per second, which is more than the next seven largest rivers combined.

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