The Yellow River or Huáng Hé ( listen) is the third-longest river in Asia, following the Yangtze River and Yenisei River, and thesixth-longest in the world at the estimated length of 5,464 km (3,395 mi). Originating in the Bayan Har Mountains in Qinghaiprovince of western China, it flows through nine provinces, and it empties into the Bohai Sea near the city of Dongying inShandong province. The Yellow River basin has an east–west extent of about 1,900 kilometers (1,180 mi) and a north–south extent of about 1,100 km (680 mi). Its total basin area is about 742,443 square kilometers (286,659 sq mi).
Its basin was the birthplace of ancient Chinese civilization, and it was the most prosperous region in early Chinese history. However, because of frequent devastating floods and course changes produced by the continual elevation of the river bed (due in part to manmade erosion upstream), sometimes above the level of its surrounding farm fields, it also has the names China's Sorrow and Scourge of the Sons of Han