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Tuesday, 2 August 2011

River Amazon

In 1500, Vicente Yáñez Pinzón was the first European to sail into the river. Pinzón called the river flow Río Santa María del Mar Dulce, later shortened to Mar Dulce (literally, sweet sea, because of its freshwater pushing out into the ocean).

One of Gonzalo Pizarro's lieutenants, Francisco de Orellana (1511–1546), was the first European to navigate the length of the Amazon River.

Francisco de Orellana encountered Icamiaba natives, who were mistaken for fierce female warriors by the members of the expedition. Orellana later narrated the belligerent victory of the Icamiaba “women” over the Spanish invaders to Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, who, recalling the Amazons of Greek mythology, baptized the river Amazonas.

Over 170000 Indians from 210 tribes live in the Brazilian Amazon Rainforest.

The Amazon's length is 4,050 miles is the second longest in the world, after the Nile.

The Amazon ranks as the largest river in the world in terms of the volume of water it discharges (around 3.3 million cu ft every second), its number of tributaries (over 500), and the total basin area that it drains (2.7 million sq mi – accounts for approximately one-fifth of the world's total river flow.

The Amazon River discharges so much water into the ocean that it remains drinkable nearly 200 miles into the sea from the river’s mouth.

The Amazon River is entirely undammed and unbridged.

More types of fish live in one Amazon River tributary than in all the rivers in North America combined.

At over 200°F, the Amazon's Boiling River is not at boiling point, but it's hot enough to poach an egg—and kill anything that falls into it.

Over 2 million square miles of the Amazon basin is virgin rainforest, containing 30% of all known plant and animal species. This is the wettest region on Earth, with an average annual rainfall of 8.3 ft.

The Amazon is home to an estimated 390 billion trees and 16,000 diverse tree species.

The Amazon rain forest produces more than 20% the world's oxygen supply.

The Amazon rain forest represents over half of the planet's remaining rain forests.

Sand from the Sahara is blown by the wind all the way to the Amazon, recharging its minerals. The desert literally fertilizes the rain forest.

Source Wikipedia and Hutchinson Encyclopedia © RM 2011. Helicon Publishing is division of RM.

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