The Yenisei River is a 4,129-km-long (2,566-mi) waterway often considered the boundary between eastern and western Siberia; it is the fourth-longest river in Asia and the second-longest in Russia. Including its Angara, Selenga, and Ider tributaries, the Yenisei drains an area of 2,598,897 sq km (1,003,474 sq mi).
The Yenisei proper is formed by the confluence of the Bolshoi, or Great, and the Maly, or Little, Yenisei, at Kyzyl in the Tannu Ola Mountains. It flows generally north to the Kara Sea of the Arctic Ocean. The river provides hydroelectric power in its upper course. Abundant mineral deposits have been found along the east bank of the river's middle course, and petroleum is extracted near Dudinka. Igarka, on the river, is one of the largest lumber-exporting cities in Russia. The Yenisei is navigable during the summer months.
The Yenisei area was settled by Cossacks and fur traders during the early 17th century; exploration of the river began during the 18th century and continued into the 19th and 20th centuries. The delta first was visited by Adolf Erik Nordenskjold in 1875.
From the Grolier Interactive Encyclopedia, 1997.