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Río de la Plata
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Río de la Plata

This page discusses the estuary River Plate. For the football team River Plate, see Club Atlético River Plate.

The Río de la Plata (or River Plate) is the estuary formed from the combination of the Uruguay River and the Parana River. It is a funnel-shaped indentation on the southern coast of South America, 290 km (180 miles) long. Where the rivers join it is 48 km (30 miles) wide, increasing to 220 km (136 miles) wide where it opens on the Atlantic Ocean. It forms part of the border between Argentina and Uruguay, with the major ports of Buenos Aires in the southwest and Montevideo in the northeast.

An estimated 57 million m³ (2 billion cubic feet) of silt is carried into the estuary each year, where the muddy waters are stirred up by winds and tides. The shipping route from the Atlantic to Buenos Aires is kept open by constant dredging.

The river was first sighted by Spanish seaman Juan Díaz de Solís in 1516.

The English name "River Plate" is a corruption of the Spanish "Río de la Plata", meaning "Silver River", referring not to colour but to the riches thought to lie upstream.

The Río de la Plata is also a habitat for the rare La Plata Dolphin.

See also Battle of the River Plate.