Amazon is not a river!

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The Amazons—a fearsome race of warrior women—had been legendary in Europe for centuries. The Orellana expedition convinced itself that it had found the fabled Kingdom of the Amazons. Native sources, highly motivated to tell the Spaniards what they wanted to hear, told of a great, wealthy kingdom ruled by women with vassal states along the river. During one skirmish, the Spanish even saw women fighting: they assumed these were the legendary Amazons who had come to fight alongside their vassals.

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Friar Gaspar de Carvajal, whose first-hand account of the journey has survived, described them as near-naked white women who fought fiercely. Orellana returned to Spain in May , where he was not surprised to find that an angry Gonzalo Pizarro had denounced him as a traitor. He was able to defend himself against the charges, in part because he had asked the would-be mutineers to sign documents to the effect that they did not allow him to return upstream to aid Pizarro.

His charter allowed him to explore the area, conquer any bellicose natives, and establish settlements along the Amazon River. Orellana was now an adelantado, sort of a cross between an administrator and a conquistador. With his charter in hand, he went looking for funding but found it difficult to lure investors to his cause.

His expedition was a fiasco from the start.

An Indian River In Amazon - Hamza - Become Amazed

More than a year after gaining his charter, Orellana set sail for the Amazon on May 11, He had four ships carrying hundreds of settlers, but provisions were poor. He stopped in the Canary Islands to refit the ships but wound up staying there for three months as he sorted out various problems.

When they finally set sail, rough weather caused one of his ships to be lost.

Northern Brazil at the mouth of the Amazon River

He reached the mouth of the Amazon in December and began his plans for settlement. Orellana began exploring the Amazon, looking for a likely place to settle. Meanwhile, hunger, thirst, and native attacks weakened his force constantly. Some of his men even abandoned the enterprise while Orellana was exploring. Sometime in late , Orellana was scouting an area with some of his remaining men when they were attacked by natives. Orellana is best remembered today as an explorer, but that was never his goal.

He was a conquistador who accidentally became an explorer when he and his men were carried off by the mighty Amazon River. His motives were not very pure, either: he never intended to be a trailblazing explorer. Rather, he was a veteran of the bloody conquest of the Inca Empire whose considerable rewards were not enough for his greedy soul.

He wished to find and loot the legendary city of El Dorado in order to become even wealthier. Depending on which definition you choose to use, you could end up at a source upstream of the Maranon, Apurimac or Mantaro. The source of the Nile still remains undetermined.

Geography, population and climate

And fierce debates have also surrounded the true source of far smaller rivers, like the River Thames in the UK. In , for instance, two Members of Parliament fought in the House of Commons over the "correct" source of the Thames, which flows by the UK's parliament buildings. There are two major contenders. The "official" source of the Thames recognised by the Ordnance Survey, Great Britain's national mapping agency, is "Thames Head" located near the village of Kemble in the Cotswolds, a range of rolling hills in south-central England.

But many people believe that the true source of the Thames lies at Seven Springs, the source of the River Churn, which is the longest branch of the Thames. In fact, if Seven Springs is considered the true source, that would add a further 14 miles 22km to the Thames , making it the longest river in the UK. The River Severn currently holds the top spot. Similarly, numerous scientists and explorers have tried to correctly identify the source of the world's third longest river: the Yangtze in China. But 20 years later, while examining high-resolution satellite images of the region, How Man realised that he had missed a tributary that was actually over 0.

He had overlooked this tributary, he writes , because clouds happened to have covered the region in the satellite images he had studied in the s. So in he embarked on a fresh expedition. This time, his team travelled all the way to the head of this overlooked Damqu tributary, at an elevation of 5,m. This is the farthest source of the Yangtze, he writes. In , his team identified a spring at 5,m above sea level on the north slope of the Dangla Mountains as the source. Officially, though, based on the work of explorers from the China Geographic Research Institute in , the shorter Tuotuo tributary of the Yangtze is considered to be the source.

The simplest way is for government officials to announce it, Shaochuang says. In most situations, they will refuse to correct their mistakes. But the Chinese Government will announce the Yangtze, Yellow and Mekong sources according to my conclusions in the near future. That is not our job. We just completely map the catchment area and name the places the river passes through. Maps of adequate scale are crucial for explorers.

But accessing topographic maps is not always easy. In such cases, satellite remote sensing images become a fallback option. But these have limitations. One year, the channel may meander around many curves. Another year, it may take a straighter path. This can change things enough to change what the source point is. Depending on which source you consider to be "true" for the Amazon and the Nile, either one could become the world's longest river.

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  4. Even going to the river and tracking its entire course using a high-precision GPS unit can introduce inaccuracies, Contos adds. You have to adjust and take those into consideration to get an accurate measurement of where the water actually runs. It does.

    Life in the Amazon Basin: The Amazon River, Climate, People, Examples

    The precise location of the source is helpful for planning the management of the river and developing effective ways to protect the environment of the source regions, Shaochuang says. But it matters mostly because we are curious about our world, Johnston adds. Language English. Amazon rivers, major pathways for wildlife, people and water. Sometimes they rush, sometimes they just creep along, and in some places they may almost die out. At other times of the year, they will suddenly overflow with water. Rivers are unpredictable, and nowhere is this truer than in the Amazon River Basin, which is subject to radical seasonal changes throughout the year.

    Amazon is not a river! Amazon is not a river!
    Amazon is not a river! Amazon is not a river!
    Amazon is not a river! Amazon is not a river!
    Amazon is not a river! Amazon is not a river!
    Amazon is not a river! Amazon is not a river!
    Amazon is not a river! Amazon is not a river!
    Amazon is not a river! Amazon is not a river!
    Amazon is not a river! Amazon is not a river!
    Amazon is not a river!

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