Story & Trivia
The local people who lived on the banks of this river called it the Amaru-Mayu or Great Serpent, Mother of Men. They knew the river looked like the huge coils of an Ananconda from a great distance.But the early Spanish explorers, who visited this part of South America about 450 years ago, told stories of being attacked by fierce warrior women who could each fight 10 men. They knew of a Greek myth which described such warrior women and they were called the Amazons. So they referred to the river as the Amazon and that is what it is called even today.
The river is home to the boto or the pink dolphin. They are considered special by the local people for it is believed that they can use other water creatures in their daily lives. We know many aquatic creatures eat others in the water. But the botos, they say use the feared anaconda for a hammock to nap on! They also like to dress up in style – the walking catfish become shoes, water snakes their belts and the sting ray for a hat!
For centuries man and dolphin lived in harmony. They were never hunted by man for their skin or meat. What protected them?
Myth protecting the Botos?
In Peru, perhaps it was the myth popular among the people along the river – it was said that botos were magical creatures. They had once been human, but now lived beneath the Amazon in underwater worlds. They could turn into humans, but not permanently. In their human form they kidnapped boys and girls and took them to live in the depths of the river. In fact even staring into their eyes could cause nightmares. Killing them brought bad luck and eating them was out of the question for they had been human!
Let’s hope the great Amazon River continues to snake through the Amazon forest and magical botos continue to nap on their Ananconda hammocks.
1. The Amazon, by volume, is the largest river in the world.
2. During the rainy season, with flooded plains stretching the river even further, the Amazon can be up to 40 km wide.
3. Being so huge, the Amazon results in many tributaries completing an enormous river system through South America.
4. The Amazon Basin supports the Amazon Rainforest, the largest rainforest in the world.
5. The source of the Amazon is in the Peruvian Andes Mountains.
6. The largest species of river dolphin is the Amazon River Dolphin.
7. The waters of this river has an immense diversity of wildlife from piranhas to the Anaconda and different species of turtles.
8. Navigation along this river provides important trade routes that connect far away parts of South America.
9. The Amazon is used for power generation and was very essential in powering sugar mills.
10. Such is the diversity of life around this river that it has helped man identify many new species and has been useful in biome research.
11. The water is used for agricultural needs, drinking water, and power as well as navigation. It provides water in many basins that support flora and fauna that otherwise would not have a home.