Wikijunior:South America/The Amazon
The Amazon River is the second longest and the biggest river on Earth. It carries more than 8 times as much water as the second biggest river. The Amazon is also the widest river on Earth, at times six miles wide. A full 20 percent of the water that pours out of the planet's rivers into the oceans comes from the Amazon. The main Amazon River is 6,387 km (3,980 miles). It collects water from thousands of smaller rivers .
Thousands of kinds of fish and turtles live in the Amazon River, including Piranha. The Boto, a kind of freshwater dolphin, also lives in the Amazon River. The Anaconda, the world's largest snake, lives there too.
A Spanish explorer named Francisco de Orellana gave the river its name. He was the first European to travel the length of the river. While exploring the river he encountered a tribe of fierce women. They reminded him of a story from ancient Greece about warrior women named "Amazons". Because of this, he named the river Amazon.
The Amazon Basin is the land covered by the Amazon River. The Amazon Basin is 6,915,000 km² (2,670,000 mi²). It is bigger than many countries. The land it covers includes parts of Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, and Ecuador.
In the Amazon Basin there is also the Amazon Rain-forest. The Amazon Rain-forest is the biggest rain-forest in the world. It covers 5.5 million km², almost half of all rain-forests in the world. Lots of animals and plants can only be found in the Amazon Rain-forest. In some places, the vegetation in the rain-forest is so dense that sunlight can't reach the ground.
The people who live along the Amazon have used the river for agriculture and transportation for thousands of years.