The Yangtze River in China is the longest river in Asia and the world’s third longest river after the Nile and the Amazon. It traverses through China, covering a total distance of 3,950 miles. It has a drainage basin of 698.266 square miles and drains all its waters into the East China Sea.
Source Of The Yangtze River
The Yangtze has its source in Jari Hill, a place of high elevation in the Tanggula Mountains. It is part of the Tibetan Plateau and stands at 16,942 feet above the sea level. The discovery of the source was relatively recent, having only been noted in the late 20th century.
The Yangtze is essentially divided into three parts: the Upper Course, the Middle Course, and the Lower Course. The Upper Course comprises of the Tibetan Plateau descending into the valleys where it flows side by side with other two great rivers, the Mekong, and the Salween. The Middle Course extends for about 630 miles between the provinces of Sichuan and Hubei. The third part is the Lower Course which extends all the way to the East China Sea.
Tributaries Of The Yangtze River
The Yangtze is fed by over 700 tributaries that are scattered along its course, and of all the tributaries there are eight principal ones that are the biggest. The eight tributaries are divided into two categories, the left, and the right tributaries.
The left tributaries include the Yalung River which is located in the Sichuan province and runs for 822 miles before joining up with the Yangtze. The second left tributary is the Min River which is 457 miles long and joins the Yangtze at Yibin. Jialing River is the other tributary that originates from Sichuan and is 370 miles long. The last left tributary is the Han River which is the longest at 952 miles.
The right tributaries are made up of four rivers that include the Wu River which is 710 miles long and runs through a series of mountain ranges. The second right tributary is the Yuan River which is 537 miles and originates from Guizhou province. Next up is the Xiang River which originates from Hunan Province and is 589 miles long. The last right tributary is the Gan River which comes from the Jiangxi Province and is 550 miles long.
Notable Yangtze River Facts
The Yangtze River is so wide that ocean-going vessels can travel up to 1000 miles inland without any navigational difficulties or obstacles. The river floods every year during the summer, but the waters are always kept in check by the many dikes built to contain the water. At 3950 miles the Yangtze is the longest river to exclusively flow within the borders of one country. The river basin is home to a third of China’s population which translates to 400 million people who live off the Yangtze. The river is so vital to the economy that it directly accounts for 40% of China’s GDP. The Yangtze is home to over 350 species of fish out of which 44 are found nowhere else in the world but only on the Yangtze River.