The behemoth Amazon River is a beautiful and mysterious river, providing useful resources to and throughout the world. Emptying itself of the equivalent of about twenty percent of all of the world’s rivers combined, it blows its competition out of the water. It is the largest river in the entire world, discharging over 55,000,000 gallons.
The Amazon River begins around 5 degrees north latitude to 20 degrees south latitude running from west to east, from near the Pacific all the way into the Atlantic Ocean. The plume from the Amazon River is enormous, spitting out an area of freshwater into the gigantic Atlantic Ocean that stretches far away from South America. The river itself travels from Peru through Brazil. It’s river basin covers almost half of the entire continent.
The area has been inhabited for thousands of years by indigenous peoples that have built large civilizations along the river, unknown to the outside world until the age of exploration. During one such expedition, the explorer Francisco de Orellana was attacked by a group of warriors led by women. They reminded him of such warriors aptly named Amazons in Greek mythology. It is said that the word has an Iranian and Persian derivation meaning “to make war”.
The Amazon River has been visited over the last hundred years by several Spanish Conquistadors. Pizarro and Orellana were in search of the famed El Dorado. In addition, many European and South American explorers have navigated the waters of the river in search of natural resources and general knowledge of the river. One of the more famous and more recent explorations was of Henry Walter Bates for his scientific endeavors.
With the introduction and expansion of the European influence and peoples respectively came sickness to the indigenous population. The European steamships began to travel the river, bringing supplies to and fro along with spreading new disease along the way. Thousands of indigenous people died during these times of expansion. Since, the Amazon has been mined during the 20th century for such prized crops and natural resources as rubber, Brazil nuts, produce, animals, lumber and gold.
Even with all of the human influence and exploration, the rain forests have still won. Because of the amount of flooded forests, there are no bridges on the Amazon. Ferry boats transport goods and people back and forth across the river, avoiding the need to remove any of the rainforest for the construction of bridges. Even if there was a need, it would be too damaging to the ecology to construct bridges.
The Amazon is home to the boto river Dolphin, the largest of its kind. There are also other more obscure animals like the sea cow, the river wolf and the anaconda. The river is home to crocodiles, exotic birds and millions of tropical fish. Because of its diverse and rare fauna and flora, many of these animals have been placed on the endangered species list.
The Amazon is full of wildlife, marinelife, rare plants and reptiles to behold. It is an exotic playground for the animals that stretches throughout South America. It is a merchant ship’s waterway to ports on either side. And its rainforests are a tropical paradise to everyone.