Brazil facts and history in brief
Amazon Jungle facts and history in brief
Manaus facts and history in brief
The Amazon River is the second
longest river (Only to the
Nile), in the world and the
longest and largest river of South
The river is 6,437 kilometres long,
and carries more water
than any other river, even more
than the Mississippi, Nile, and Yangtze
The river is 2.5 to 10 kilometres
wide during most of its course.
At some points it is too wide for
a person on one bank to see
the opposite shore.
It widens to about 150 kilometres at its mouth.
The depth of the Amazon averages
about 10 metres and increases to more than 90
metres at some places.
The Amazon River Basin covers about 7,000,000
square kilometres and is the
world's largest tropical rainforest.
The temperature averages 29 °C
nearly throughout the year.
Rainfall in the
Amazon region ranges from
130 centimetres in the
low-lying areas to 305
centimetres near the Andes
Mountains in Peru.
The air is very humid
throughout most of the river basin.
Ocean going vessels can sail about
3,700 kilometres up the Amazon
to Iquitos, in Peru.
Belem, on the Para
River, and Manaus, 1,600 kilometres
upstream from the mouth of the Amazon,
are important ports.
The Amazon begins 5,240 metres above sea level in
the Andes Mountains of Peru as
a small stream called the Apurimac River.
The Apurimac joins the Ucayali
River, and they join the Maranon River, the
Amazon's upper branch near
Iquitos, Peru, and form the
main channel of the Amazon.
The river continues eastward
across Brazil and flows into the
The Amazon tumbles rapidly through
the Andes and falls
about 5,000 metres during the
first 970 kilometres.
It falls only about
240 metres more during the
rest of its course.
The river flows at a
speed of about 2.5 kilometres per
hour during the dry season, but the flow
increases to about 5 kilometres
per hour in the rainy season.
More than 200 streams and rivers
flow into the Amazon River.
high ocean tide occasionally
overpowers the current
at the mouth of the Amazon.
This creates a wall of water called
a 'bore' that measures up to
4.5 metres high and rushes upstream.
Many different fish live in the
Amazon River, including the fierce,
flesh-eating piranha and the pirarucu,
one of the largest fresh-water
fish of South America.
The basin area is
the home of such animals as
alligators, anacondas, monkeys, parrots,
sloths, and many species of insects.
The indigenous Indians lived in
the Amazon River basin before white
people first came to the area.
In 1500, Vincente Pinzon, a Spanish
explorer, was probably the first European
to see the Amazon.
In 1541 and 1542, Francisco de Orellana, another
Spaniard led the first
exploration of the river by a European.
His expedition followed the Amazon
from the mouth of the Napo River in Peru to
Orellana and his group was
attacked on their journey by
fierce female Indian warriors.
The Spaniards called their attackers
Amazons, after the female
warriors in Greek mythology.
The name was later
given to the river and the nearby area.
During the mid-1800's, the
Amazon basin became an important
source of rubber, obtained from trees in
the region, until about 1910,
when plantations in Southeast Asia began to
produce rubber more cheaply,
and the economy of the region collapsed.
Since the 1960's, the Brazilian
government has built roads and
airports in the Amazon basin.
New towns and farms have been
established in the basin, and
its population has grown.
The Amazon rain forest has a great
variety of plant life.
Scientists have found more
than 3,000 species of plants
in 2.5 square kilometres there.
The trees stand as tall as 60 metres.
Their tops grow so close together that
only a little sunlight
can reach the ground.
Manaus on the Rio Negro
River, not far
from where it merges with the
great Amazon River was another place we've
arrived in the middle of the night.
Our negotiations with the tour
operators taken some time and
after that it didn't seem to be much point
to search for a hotel, so we
waited for the tour at the Airport.
Our tour included the sightseeing
of Manaus city, the Rivers Amazon and Negro,
their merging down stream,
exploration of the nearby Amazon 'rainforest'
or 'jungle', fishing and
meeting some of the local
Our guide 'Jumbo" was a jovial
'welllll-built' fellow, who's agility often
surprised us. We were assured
to see lot of 'wildlife', such as
crocodiles, monkeys, iguanas,
birds and piranhas.
As you've probably
guessed, it wasn't the day or
we weren't the people to see a lot of
'wildlife', although it wasn't
for a lack of trying.
We did catch some
piranhas. Jumbo and our boatman
did spend three hours after sunset showing
their torches around looking
for the shining eyes of the crocks in the
pitch dark jungle. Of course
no one told the crocks, that we were looking
for them, or they have been
pre-warned and just didn't
want to be seen by us.
We did enjoy our
trip in the Amazon 'jungle'.
We did see the confluence of the two great
rivers and the remarkable different
colours of the rivers, which takes ten
kilometres to mix and merge completely.
Jumbo agreed to a very
reasonable price for the tour,
but in the end got even with us.
Coming ashore, after our trip, he
hailed a taxi to the Airport and
made us pay half the fare.
A bit disappointing, but it was a
and memorable day.
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