The Mekong is a river that flows in China, Myanmar, Thailand, and several other Southeast Asian states and is considered the largest river in Indochina because has a total basin area of more than 800,000 square kilometers.
Geography of the Mekong
The Mekong River has its source in the Tibetan Plateau. Interestingly, in different countries through which the Mekong flows, it has different names. The river flows into the South China Sea, forming an extensive delta. The total length of the Mekong is more than 4,500 km.
The Mekong, coming down from the Tibetan Plateau, flows mainly through deep mountain gorges, rapids, etc. It has one of the world’s largest waterfalls, the Khon, which is 21 meters high. In its course is one of the world’s largest waterfalls, the Khon, which reaches a height of 21 meters.
After Phnom Penh, the Mekong begins to divide into a delta, at the confluence with the sea it covers a coastline of more than 600 km, this length increases every year by at least 100 m. In the lower part of the delta is heavily swamped and covered by jungle.
It is one of the largest deltas in the world – more than 40,500 square kilometers, it is located on the territory of Vietnam and is an economic zone. The capital of this densely populated region is Can Tho.
In this century, due to global climate change, the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam is at risk of flooding (rising sea level).
Feeding the Mekong River
The waters of this river are replenished mainly by rainfall, at the source of the Mekong River by snow and glacier feeding. Floods depend on the location of the river and the presence or absence of a monsoon period. In the upper reaches of the Mekong, it freezes in winter.
How are the waters of the Mekong used?
Thanks to the wide floods of the river in Vietnam, rice cultivation is well-developed. And for the development of hydropower, the water of this river is practically not used because of the poverty of the countries through whose territory the Mekong flows.
The rivers and lakes in the Mekong basin are full of fish that the people and animals who live there feed on. The river is also home to many waterfowl that feed on these fish. In Cambodia you can meet river dolphins and crocodiles.
Shipping on the Mekong River
The river is navigable for more than seven hundred kilometers, and during floods this distance increases to 1,600 kilometers. But this is very unstable shipping, as. The Mekong often changes its course, suddenly there are shoals or great depths.
History of the Mekong River
The first people, according to historians and archaeologists, appeared on the Mekong more than four thousand years ago, during the Bronze Age. And the first statehood near the river was called the Bapnom Kingdom, later the Khmer Empire.
The first European colonizers who appeared on the Mekong in the 16th century were the Portuguese. In the 19th century, the French came here, and a French protectorate was established over what is now Cambodia.
Later, France continued to spread its influence, resulting in the formation of French Indochina. In the mid-20th century, the Indochinese Wars resulted in the first independent states on the banks of the Mekong.
Maps of the Mekong
The Mekong River on the World Map
The Mekong River on the map of Indochina