The basin of the Amazon River lies between the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the Andes to the west, the Brazilian Highlands to the south and reaches the mountains and plateaus of the Guiana Highlands in the northern part of the continent. The Amazon covers partially the territory of nine countries – Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Perú, Bolivia, Ecuador, Suriname, French Guiana and Guyana. It occupies an area of about 6,900,000 square kilometers or more than the territory of Europe without Russia and almost the territory of Australia.
The colossal fresh water system is the heart of the surrounding rainforest. Its sources can be traced back to the Andes, about 190 km east from the Pacific Ocean.
The most powerful river on the planet flows through the densest and largest rainforest in the world. The total length of the river is 6,440 km, second only to the Nile River, 6741 km long.
The river is fed up by over 15,000 smaller tributaries, some of which are very big. Among the largest and deepest are Madeira, Negru, Tocantins, Xingu, Tapajos, Purus and others. The Amazon River is the largest in the world as regards to its waterflow.
The huge river mouth is over 300 km wide, and even in the region of Manaus, in the middle course of the river, the width of the riverbed in places exceeds 5 km.
The Amazon River flows entirely within the equatorial and subequatorial climate zone. Apart from the numerous tributaries that flow into it, the river is also fed up by heavy almost daily precipitations.
Usually the average monthly rainfall varies between 50 to 60 mm during the drier months and up to 300, even 400 mm per month in wetter periods.
Even in the driest months of the year, which vary from one location to another, there are at least 5 to 10 rainy days. An interesting fact is that at any time torrential rains fall over a given spot of the Amazon.
The temperature in the region is almost unchangeable throughout the year, ranging between 30 and 33°C. The average night temperature is also constant and is usually around 22 – 23°C.
Since humidity is usually very high, typically between 79 and 90 percent, it feels much warmer than it actually is.
Although in the Amazon summer never ends, the sky over the forest is often covered with dark rain- and thunder-bearing clouds.
Due to the flat terrain of the region of Amazon, the Amazon River is wide and deep and runs very slowly.
In an east-west direction it descends smoothly and completely imperceptible to the Atlantic, and in some places the altitude decreases by only one or two centimeters every few kilometers.
Because of the heavy rainfalls that fall in some periods of the year, the river bed can not hold the giant amount of rainwater, and the river easily overflows its banks leaving hundreds of thousands of square kilometers of the surrounding jungle under 5 to 10 meters of water.
It is considered that around 5 million different species of plants and animals live in the Amazon rainforest! Only the species of trees are at least 2500.
If you come across this forest paradise, you will just remain silent before the majesty of nature and its indescribable variety.
Some of the trees in the valley reach to around 50 or 60 meters in an effort to reach sunlight. Ironically, stimulated of the intensive sun shinin, the dense vegetation that thrives along the river does not allow even a single sunbeam to reach the ground.
The Amazon Region has a poorly developed infrastructure. The role of a major transport corridor plays the river itself.
With a depth in some places reaching more than one hundred meters, the river allows even large ocean-going ships to reach cities like Manaus, located in the middle of the rainforest thousands of kilometers from the ocean. The Amazon Region is one of the most sparsely populated on the planet.
The population is about 5,000,000 people. About 2.3 million of them live in the biggest city of Manaus. Other major cities are Belem, Santarem, Macapá, Iquitos and others.
Through a dense network of canals and sleeves in the northeast of Brazil, the Amazon River flows unimaginable amounts of fresh water in the Atlantic.
The flow of the river is estimated at almost 220 000 cubic meters per second, and sweet river waters can be traced hundreds of kilometers off the coast. Satellite images clearly show huge areas of the Atlantic, whose surface is brownish due to river sediments.
The Spaniard Francisco de Orellana was the first European traveler in the history who traced by ship the entire length of the Amazon River, traversing South America from west to east.
In 1542, he crossed the continent from the Andes to the Atlantic, and his journey lasted nearly a year.
Initially, because of the similarity of the river with a fresh water sea, it was called Rio Santa Maria de la Mar Dulce.
Later, however, after the exciting stories of Orellana of how during the journey down the river he and his people met tribes of women-warriors who remained about the Amazons of Greek mythology, the large fresh water basin was renamed to Amazon River.