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South America

South America is a diverse and dynamic continent with a total area of 6,886,000 square miles (17,840,000 square kilometers). It is located primarily in the Southern Hemisphere, with a small portion extending into the Northern Hemisphere.

Area: 6,886,000 sq miles (17,840,000 sq km).
The highest point is Aconcagua, Argentina, 22,831 ft (6,962 m).
The lowest point is Laguna del Carbón, Argentina, which is -344 ft (-105 m) below sea level.
The longest river
is the Amazon, Brazil/Peru, which is 4,000 miles (6437 km).
The largest lake
is Maracaibo Lake, Venezuela, which is 13,210 sq miles (34,170 sq km).
The largest island
is Tierra del Fuego, Argentina/Chile, which is 47,000 sq miles (122,000 sq km).
The highest recorded temperature
was in Rivadavia, Argentina, at 120°F (49 °C).
The lowest recorded temperature
was in Sarmiento, Argentina, which was 24°F (-31°C).
The driest Place: Atacama Desert, Chile 0 in (0 mm).
Population: approximately 422 million people.
The number of countries: 13.

Countries in South America

Click on any country for their profile page with Google Maps, driving directions, and dozens of land-specific data.

The countries in South America are Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, Venezuela, and French Guiana (an overseas region of France).

Google Maps South America

South America is the world’s fourth-largest continent in the Western Hemisphere. It borders the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. South America is known for its diverse geography, including the Amazon rainforest, the Andes mountain range, and the Atacama Desert.

The Andes mountain range is the most extended continental mountain range in the world, running over 7,000 km through seven countries in South America. It is home to many active and inactive volcanoes, including Mount Aconcagua, the highest peak in the Western Hemisphere at 6,960.8 meters. The Amazon rainforest, located in Brazil, is the largest rainforest in the world and is home to over 10% of the world’s known species of plants and animals. The Atacama Desert, located in Chile, is one of the driest places in the world, making it a popular destination for stargazing.

South America is also home to many significant rivers, including the Amazon, the longest and largest river in the world by volume. The Paraná and the Uruguay rivers form the Río de la Plata, a vast estuary that empties into the Atlantic Ocean. The continent also boasts the highest waterfall in the world, Angel Falls in Venezuela, which is over 979 meters high.

South America is home to 13 countries known for its rich cultural heritage, including the ancient Inca and Aztec civilizations. The continent is known for its diverse and vibrant music, dance, and festivals, including Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Inti Raymi in Cusco, Peru.

South America is home to over 421 million people, with Brazil being the most populous country. The economy of South America is largely based on agriculture, minerals, and oil, with Brazil, Argentina, and Venezuela being some of the largest producers of soybeans, corn, and petroleum, respectively.

Political map of South America

South America is a diverse and dynamic continent that has undergone significant political changes in the 20th and 21st centuries. Despite a history of colonization and political instability, many countries in South America have made important strides toward democracy.

In recent decades, South America has seen a wave of democratization, with many countries transitioning from military dictatorships to democratic systems. This has resulted in greater political stability and increased social and economic opportunities. However, some countries, such as Venezuela, face political turmoil.

South America is also home to many political systems, including presidential and parliamentary democracies and one-party and multi-party systems. Some countries, such as Brazil, have federal systems similar to Canada and the United States, while others, such as Argentina, have a centralized government structure.

In addition to political diversity, South America is also characterized by economic diversity, with some countries experiencing rapid economic growth and others facing persistent poverty. Despite these challenges, South America remains an important and influential region economically and politically.

Transportation in South America

Transportation infrastructure has played a significant role in the development of South America. In the 19th century, railroads connected cities, making it easier to transport goods and people. Today, air transport is the preferred mode of long-distance travel, while rail is still used for freight transport. The Amazon River and its tributaries are important waterways, providing a vital source of transportation and trade, while the Panama Canal connects the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.

South America’s road infrastructure has also been developed, with most countries possessing an extensive network of roads. However, roads in some rural areas can be poorly maintained and difficult to travel on. With numerous large rivers and lakes, water transport also plays a crucial role in South America, especially in the Amazon Basin. The Parana and Amazon Rivers are two of the continent’s largest water transport systems, connecting several countries and providing a significant source of fresh water and hydroelectric power.

Additionally, South America has several airports and seaports, providing access to international trade. The continent’s most significant airports are located in Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, and Colombia. At the same time, seaports such as Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, and Valparaiso play a critical role in South America’s trade and commerce.

Population in South America

South America is a continent of diverse people and cultures. The indigenous populations of South America have roots that go back thousands of years, long before the arrival of European colonizers in the 16th century. Today, indigenous, African, and European people comprise most of the population in most South American countries.

Population densities are highest in the Andean region, along the Atlantic coast, and in major cities such as Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo in Brazil, Buenos Aires in Argentina, and Bogotá in Colombia. Some sparsely populated areas include the Amazon rainforest and the deserts in the far north and south of the continent.

In recent decades, migration from rural to urban areas has increased in South America. The largest cities in the continent have grown rapidly and have become important economic and cultural centers. São Paulo, for example, is the largest city in South America, with a population of over 21 million people.

South America has a rich cultural heritage shaped by a mixture of indigenous, African, and European influences. Music, dance, and food are some areas where this mix is most evident. The continent is home to many vibrant and colorful festivals, including Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival, which attracts millions of tourists annually.

Languages in South America

South America is one of the world’s most linguistically diverse regions, with many indigenous languages still spoken despite the influence of European colonial languages. Spanish is the most widely spoken language, as it is the official language of most countries in the region, including Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. Portuguese is the official language of Brazil, the largest country in South America. French Guiana, a department of France, has French as its official language. The Amazon Basin and Andes Mountains indigenous peoples continue to speak their ancestral languages, such as Quechua, Aymara, and Guarani. Other European colonial languages, such as English and Dutch, are also spoken in some regions of South America.

Standard of living in South America

The standard of living in South America varies significantly from country to country and even within regions within countries. Some countries, such as Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay, have relatively high living standards, modern infrastructure, well-developed economies, and relatively stable political systems. Other countries, such as Venezuela, face significant economic and political challenges, leading to lower living standards.

The standard of living in South America is generally lower than in many developed countries. There is often a large income gap between the wealthy and the poor, and poverty is a widespread problem. Access to quality healthcare, education, and other essential services is limited for many people, and crime and violence can be significant concerns in some areas.

However, many South American countries are improving their living standards despite these challenges. In recent years, many countries have experienced economic growth, and there are ongoing efforts to address inequality and improve access to essential services. Additionally, South America is rich in natural resources, and many countries invest in their economies to build a prosperous future.

The climate in South America

The climate in South America is diverse and ranges from the hot and humid Amazon Basin to the arid deserts of Atacama and the freezing temperatures of the Andes Mountains. The equator runs through the northern part of the continent, meaning temperatures remain warm year-round, while the southern parts experience temperate conditions.

The Amazon Basin is one of the wettest regions in the world and is home to the largest rainforest in the world. The rainforest provides a warm, moist environment that supports an incredible diversity of plant and animal life. The rainforest is also a major source of fresh water for the continent and helps regulate the global climate by absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

The Atacama Desert is located in the western part of South America and is one of the driest places on Earth. The region is known for its clear skies and stunning sunsets and is home to unique and diverse species of plants and animals that have adapted to harsh conditions. The desert is also popular for stargazers, as the clear skies provide excellent night sky views.

The Andes Mountains, which run along the western coast of South America, create a dramatic landscape and diverse climates. The peaks of the mountains can reach over 20,000 feet and are covered in snow year-round. The mountain range is also home to many indigenous communities, and their traditional way of life is closely tied to the rugged and varied landscape.

Overall, South America’s climate varies greatly and provides a wealth of habitats and environments for the diverse plant and animal species that call the continent home. The climate is important to South America’s unique and fascinating natural history.

Land use in North America

Land use in South America is characterized by a mix of urban and rural areas, with a strong emphasis on agriculture and livestock production in many regions. Important urban centers in coastal areas include Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo in Brazil, Buenos Aires in Argentina, and Lima in Peru. In the interior, there are large areas of farmland and pasture, where crops like soybeans, corn, wheat, and coffee are grown, and livestock like cattle and sheep are raised.

In addition to agriculture, South America also has essential mineral and energy resources, including oil, coal, and minerals such as copper, gold, and silver. This has led to significant mining and energy development, particularly in countries like Brazil, Chile, and Peru.

Large areas of tropical and subtropical forests, including the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil and the Andes Mountains in South America, are home to a rich diversity of plant and animal species. These areas provide important ecosystem services, such as water regulation, carbon sequestration, and habitat for wildlife. Still, they are also under pressure from deforestation, agriculture, and other land use change.

In the southern part of South America, there are also significant grasslands and temperate forests, such as the pampas in Argentina and the Valdivian forests in Chile, which are used for agriculture, forestry, and livestock production.

Overall, the land use in South America reflects the region’s diverse geography and resources, as well as the economic and demographic trends that have shaped the region over time.

Environmental issues in South America

South America faces various environmental challenges, including deforestation, air and water pollution, soil degradation, and biodiversity loss.

Deforestation is a significant problem in South America, particularly in the Amazon rainforest, which is being destroyed at an alarming rate due to clearcutting for agriculture, mining, and other development. The loss of forests destroys critical habitats for wildlife, contributes to global climate change, and disrupts water cycles, which affects the entire region.

Air pollution is another significant environmental issue in South America. Major cities like Brazil, Argentina, and Colombia face high levels of air pollution, impacting human health and contributing to global warming and climate change.

Soil degradation is also a concern in South America. Poor agricultural practices, deforestation, and overgrazing have led to soil erosion, reduced fertility, and desertification in many areas. This impacts the environment and has significant consequences for food security and the livelihoods of farmers and rural communities.

Finally, South America is home to a remarkable diversity of plant and animal species, many of which are threatened by habitat loss, overexploitation, and climate change. The region is a global hotspot for biodiversity, and the loss of species has far-reaching consequences for the health of ecosystems and the services they provide to people.

In conclusion, South America faces numerous environmental challenges threatening its people’s well-being and the planet’s future. Addressing these challenges requires collective action and sustained investment in sustainable development and conservation.

Did you know about South America?

  1. Did you know South America is home to the largest rainforest in the world? The Amazon rainforest covers over 6.7 million square kilometers and is home to a diverse array of flora and fauna, including over 40,000 plant species and over 2,000 fish species.
  2. South America is also home to Venezuela’s world’s highest waterfall, Angel Falls. The falls are 979 meters tall and are so high that the water vaporizes before it reaches the bottom.
  3. The Andes mountain range, which runs through seven South American countries, is the most extended mountain range in the world, stretching over 7,000 kilometers.
  4. The Atacama Desert in Chile is considered one of the driest places on Earth, with some areas receiving less than 1 millimeter of rain annually.
  5. Machu Picchu, one of the most famous and well-preserved ruins of the Inca civilization, is located in Peru. The site was built around 1450 and was rediscovered by the Western world in 1911.
  6. South America is also home to some of the largest rivers in the world, including the Amazon, Paraná, and Orinoco rivers. The Amazon alone accounts for approximately 20% of the world’s total freshwater discharge into the oceans.
  7. The Galápagos Islands, located off the coast of Ecuador, are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and are famous for their unique species of flora and fauna, many of which cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
  8. The continent is also home to diverse wildlife, including jaguars, monkeys, penguins, flamingos, and armadillos.
  9. South America was the birthplace of some of the world’s most famous revolutions, including the independence movements in Brazil, Argentina, and Venezuela and the socialist revolution in Cuba.
  10. South America is also the birthplace of some of the world’s most famous dance styles, including the tango, samba, and cumbia.

In conclusion, South America is a diverse and vibrant continent with a rich history, unique culture, and breathtaking landscapes. The continent is home to some of the world’s most iconic natural wonders, from the Amazon Rainforest to the Andes Mountains. The diverse mix of people and cultures and its abundant natural resources make South America a fascinating and vital region in the world. With its many challenges, including poverty, inequality, and environmental issues, the future of South America remains uncertain. However, the resilience and determination of its people, combined with the ongoing efforts to address these challenges, give us reason to believe that South America has the potential to thrive and become a leader in the world community.