Discovery of the Amazon River

DISCOVERY OF THE AMAZON RIVER: In the year 1540 Gonzalo Pizarro. brother to Francisco Pizarro the conquistador of Peru, was consigned to carry out discovery expeditions into the east of Quito (capital of Ecuador, of which he was the Governor). On a date very close to Christmas 1541. Gonzalo Pizarro embarked on a journey east accompanied by an undetermined number of soldiers and native allies.

The first native population that they found were the Cinnamon Indians (Cinnamon . Country) and very near to there, on the banks of the Coca River they established Santa Ana. They constructed a ship which allowed them to navigate to nearby native communities and find food. Gonzalo Pizarro appointed his deputy Francisco de Orellana as the ship’s captain, christening it the San Pedro”. He set off with fifty men on December 26. 1541.

According to the itinerary that Orellano himself wrote up. Four days after their departure they reached the Cinnamon River (today the Napo River), but only on February 8 , 1542 when the first indigenous tribes of the River Napo were seen (left river bank). Four days later on Sunday. February 12, 1542 the “San Pedro” entered the fast -flowing Great River of the Amazons.


They set up in a place they called Aparia la Mavor and constructed a slightly larger ship that they christened the “Victoria”. On April 24 of the same year, they set sail and continued their journey through the Amazon, arriving on May 12 to the town of Machifaro (nowadays Brazil), capital of the province of Omagua where they were received violently by the natives and as a result had to continue on their way. On May 23, they passed the mouth of the River Purus. On June 3, they crossed the mouth of the River Black and on the tenth day of the same month they crossed the mouth of the River Madeira or Cayari. This was the border where the land of the Muras Indians ended and where the dominion of the Braises

Both ships journeyed down river, but before they reached the Atlantic, Orellana decided to make a stop on July 6, to reinforce the ships so they could navigate freely to the sea. These repairs were finished August 18,1542. On August 25, new adjustments were made to the ships and the next day, August 26, 1542, Orellana and his men entered the Atlantic Ocean, then known as the North Sea.


The Peruvian Amazon is an ecological region characterized by tropical jungle, dense and moist and the intricate water system whose axis is the Amazon River (Mother of God, Puerto Maldonado, Tambopata, Lake Sandoval, Iquitos, etc), the more abundant and widespread in the world.

The Amazon River basin covers approximately 7,350,621 km2, of which 68% belong to Brazil. Other countries in the watershed are Peru, with 13% of the total, Bolivia, with 11.2%, Colombia with 5.5%, Ecuador 1.7%, 0.7% Venezuela and Guyana with 0.1%.

Did you know of the Discovery of the Amazon River?

The first European to reach the mouth of the Amazon was Vicente Yanez Pinzon in 1500. Deceived by the breadth of it, thought it was a sea and gave him the name “sweet sea”, losing in 1535, Gonzalo Pizarro, brother Francisco Pizarro was appointed to explore the eastern slope of the Andes.

  • When the expedition reached the Napo River, was entrusted to Francisco de Orellana explore the great stream, which began with a group of fellow, coming after a bumpy journey, and the largest river in the world. The chronicles that on arrival the expedition was attacked repeatedly by Indian tribes who fought in both men and women, the latter being “combative as ten Indians.” Such episodes inspire Orellana, who knows the Greek myth of the Amazons, found in the works of Herodotus and Diodorus, to baptize the river with the name “River of the Amazons,” a name that endures to this day.
  • Amazon takes its name in Peru, at the confluence of the Ucayali and Maranon rivers, near the town of Nauta. The structural depression formed between the two rivers is called Ucamara and coincides almost entirely with the limits of the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, one of the most flood-prone areas with rich biodiversity of the Peruvian Amazon.
  • The sediments carried by the Ucayali and Marañón rivers are so substantial, that fertilize the entire watershed, from the Andes to the Atlantic. The rivers of Andean origin rivers are known as “white water” because of the color of coffee with milk from their waters. These rivers carry greater amounts of nutrients than those of crystalline or dark, known waters like rivers of “black water”. All nutrients that enrich the Amazonian rivers have their main origin in the Andes of Peru.

Did you know of Amazon River?

Traditionally the Amazon is assigned second in total length, behind the Nile, but has never been a broad consensus on what are the acceptable measurement points. Latest research by a team of Peruvian and Brazilian geographers in 2007 and officially recognized recently added a few hundred kilometers to the channel, which would place him definitely in the top of the classification of the longest rivers in the world . The Amazon River in the Barrow valley, in an underground glacier at 5597 meters above sea level, near the Nevado del Misti in Arequipa. With the new measurements Amazon would have a length of about 7,000 kilometers, exceeding several hundred kilometers to the river Nile

  • The “black water” produced in areas of sandy or clay soils are caused by the abundance of plant material in various states of decomposition. When these organic, dissolved or reduced to particles entering rivers components, give them their characteristic dark color. The “black water” tend to be very acidic, with pH less than 4.0. However, “white water” are generally neutral (pH about 7.0). These differences in chemical water conditions affect fundamental to the ecology, distribution and abundance of life in the Amazon way.
  • The Amazon River flows from its geological birth in the Andes to the Atlantic, on a giant flat terrace, whose elevation rarely exceeds 200 meters. In some places, the forest rises high on the bank of the main channel of the river, however, most of the Amazon basin extends over large floodplains.
  • It is estimated that the width of the floodplain of the Amazon varies between 5 and 20 kilometers on either side of the river; however, in certain areas, especially those near the mouth, the area exceeds 40 kilometers. The total area of ​​floodplains of the Amazon basin has been estimated by experts between 250 and 300 thousand km2, similar to the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul Amazon area.

Did you know of Amazon River?

The Amazon carries more water than the Mississippi, Nile, and Yangtze rivers combined. Its drainage area or basin is also the largest in the world. The volume of water carried to the Atlantic is enormous, with an annual average of 120,000 cubic meters per second, reaching up to 300,000 m³ per second in the rainy season. The Amazon is responsible for a fifth of all incorporated into the Earth’s oceans freshwater. Such is the force with which the river flows into the Atlantic Ocean, you can drink sweet at a distance where the sea water is no longer visible.

  • Because of its large size, the rains are unevenly distributed in the Amazon basin. Levels of rainfall in the south and north ends of the basin do not coincide, which results in a prolonged period of flooding along the Amazon. So while the headwaters of the tributaries of the north begin their floods in July and August, the South begin to decline between April and May. As a result of the great flood period described above, Amazon acts like a giant dam, stalling the lower sections of the tributaries of the North and South during different seasons.
  • In most of the lowlands of the Amazon Basin forests remain flooded half the year. Floods are fundamental to the ecology of Amazonian ecosystems since they increase the amount of available habitat for numerous species of plants and aquatic animals in the lowlands. A flooded forest extensions are locally called “Tahuampas” and are responsible for the great abundance of existing fish in the Amazon basin, as the flow of water enables these access a food source, in low water conditions, remain unattainable. Water can reach 20 feet deep in some lakes, and lakes and more than ten meters in the flooded forest. Seasonal patterns of floodplain forest not apply to the Amazon estuary, as this suffers the effect of the double daily tides of the Atlantic. This influence exerts its effects to hundreds of kilometers from its mouth.