The Amazon river that flows through Brazil is the longest river in the western hemisphere and is the second longest river in the world after the Nile river.
In terms of the area it covers and the amount of water it carries, the Amazon is the largest river in the world; it is 6,437 km long.
Another amazing feature of the Amazon river is its width; it ranges from 1 to 56 km wide, so at many points of the Amazon you can stand on one side of the river and not see the other side.
The river was discovered by Francisco de Orellana, who led the first exploration of the river by a European and it is named after the women-warriors of Greek mythology; Amazons.
It is believed that while traveling by the river, one of the early Spanish explorers was attacked by the tribes of native people, among which were many women warriors. That is why the river was called the Amazon.
The Amazon river is home to many unique creatures. Among them is the anaconda; the largest snake in the world.
More than 750 kinds of fish are found in the river and one of those is the pirarucu; probably the largest fresh-water fish in the world. The man-eating piranha also lives there, as well as alligators, dolphins, giant turtles, monkeys, parrots and many species of insects.
The Amazon's source tributary is the Apurimac river; Apurimac means "great speaker", which pertains to the roaring of the rapids. From snowy Amazon peaks to misty jungle, the Amazon heads north, then east, paralleling the equator, crossing South America, and spills out one fifth of all the fresh water discharged by rivers in all the seas on earth out at the Atlantic.
During the dry season the river flows at a speed of about 2.4 km per hour; its flow increases to about 5 km per hour during the rainy season.