Elbe, The, one of the chief rivers of Germany, takes its rise in the junction in Bohemia of several streams from the Riesengebirge, the two final branches being the Weisswasser and the Elbebach. It first flows S., with a swift current, through a wild, rocky valley, widens between Josephstadt and Nimburg, again narrows and passes through a valley between the Lausitzer gebirge, and the Erz gebirge, enters Saxony, and finally takes a N.W. course into the North Sea separating Hanover from Mecklenburg, Lauenburg, Hamburg, and Holstein. Above Hamburg the stream is divided by several islands, but unites five miles above the town. The estuary at Cuxhaven is impeded by sand-banks, but of the course of 780 miles, 470 are navigable. The Upper Elbe basin is mountainous, but the lower basin is flat and sandy, and abounds in morasses and lakes. Salmon, eels, and sturgeon are plentiful. The chief tributaries of the Elbe are the Iser, Black Elster, and Havel on the right bank, the Moldau and Saale on the left bank.