• also known as the Amazon basin, is located in South America (Brazil 68%, Peru 13%, Bolivia 11,2%, Colombia 5,5%, Ecuador 1,7%, Venezuela 0,7%, Guyana 0,1%, Suriname and French Guyana the rest);
  • covers an area of over 7,350,000 km², which represents about 40% of the south American continent;
  • is inhabited by over 33 million people, around 9% of whose are indigenous divided into 350 ethnic groups (about 60 of them live in voluntary isolation, mostly in Brazil and Peru ;
  • stores 20% of the world’s fresh water.

Fig. 1. Geographical location of the Amazon, Orinoco and Paraná basins .


  • is, with its length of 7,062 km and average flow rate of 219,000 m³/sec, the longest and largest river of the world.
  • At 3 000 km before its estuary, its width is 1,600 m, the delta is 330 km wide and ripples the Atlantic as far as 240 km.
  • The high and low tide can be observed as far as 1,000 km inland. The tidal wave pororocá (in tupí language „huge destructive noise“) can reach up to 5 m in height and reaches as far as 30 km inland.
  • The four sources of the Amazon river were discovered in 2000 by Czech scientist Prof. RNDr. Bohumír Janský, CSc. and his colleagues from the Charles University in Prague . At the source of the Amazon at 5150 m a.s.l. was located a nameless lake, which was named by the members of the expedition as Laguna Bohemia .


Figure 2. One of the first detailed maps of Amazon by Samuel Fritz (1654-1728), originally printed in Quito (Ecuador) in the year 1707. Source: World Digital Library www.wdl.org


Recommended reading

Hemming, J., 2008. Tree of Rivers: The Story of the Amazon. Thames & Hudson, London, UK.

Kricher, J., 2015. A Neotropical Companion: An Introduction to the Animals, Plants, and Ecosystems of the New World Tropics. Illustrated by Andrea S. LeJeune. Princeton University Press.

Hoorn, C., Wesselingh, F., 2011. Amazonia, landscape and species evolution: a look into the past. John Wiley & Sons, Chichester, UK.

Loadman, J., 2005. Tears of the tree: the story of rubber-a modern marvel. Oxford University Press, New York, USA.

authors of the text: Jiří Lipenský, Ludvík Bortl, Alexandr Rollo, Hana Vebrová, and Marie Kalousová
authors of the pictures: Jiří Lipenský (JL), Ludvík Bortl (LB), and Lukáš Huml (LH)


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