SOUTH AMERICA is a continent located in the western hemisphere ,
mostly in the southern hemisphere , with a relatively small portion in
the northern hemisphere . It may also be considered a subcontinent of
Americas , which is the model used in nations that speak Romance
languages . The reference to
South America instead of other regions
Latin America or the Southern Cone) has increased in the last
decades due to changing geopolitical dynamics (in particular, the rise
It is bordered on the west by the
Pacific Ocean and on the north and
east by the
Atlantic Ocean ;
North America and the
Caribbean Sea lie
to the northwest. It includes twelve sovereign states (
Uruguay , and
Venezuela ), a part of
Guiana ), and a non-sovereign area (the
Falkland Islands , a British
Overseas Territory though this is disputed by Argentina). In addition
to this, the ABC islands of the
Kingdom of the Netherlands , Trinidad
Tobago , and
Panama may also be considered part of South America.
South America has an area of 17,840,000 square kilometers (6,890,000
sq mi). Its population as of 2005 has been estimated at more than
South America ranks fourth in area (after
and North America) and fifth in population (after Asia, Africa, Europe
, and North America).
Brazil is by far the most populous South
American country, with more than half of the continent's population,
followed by Colombia, Argentina,
Venezuela and Peru. In recent decades
Brazil has also concentrated half of the region's GDP and has become a
first regional power.
Most of the population lives near the continent's western or eastern
coasts while the interior and the far south are sparsely populated.
The geography of western
South America is dominated by the Andes
mountains; in contrast, the eastern part contains both highland
regions and large lowlands where rivers such as the Amazon ,
and Paraná flow. Most of the continent lies in the tropics .
The continent's cultural and ethnic outlook has its origin with the
interaction of indigenous peoples with European conquerors and
immigrants and, more locally, with African slaves. Given a long
history of colonialism , the overwhelming majority of South Americans
speak Portuguese or Spanish , and societies and states commonly
reflect Western traditions .
* 1 Geography
* 1.1 Outlying islands
* 1.2 Climate
* 2 History
* 2.1 Prehistory
* 2.2 Pre-Columbian civilizations
* 2.3 European colonization
* 2.5 Independence from
* 2.6 Nation-building and fragmentation
* 2.7 Wars and conflicts
* 2.8 Rise and fall of military dictatorships
* 3 Countries and territories
* 4 Politics
* 5 Demographics
* 5.1 Language
* 5.2 Religion
* 5.3 Ethnic demographics
* 5.3.1 Indigenous people
* 5.4 Populace
* 6 Economy
* 6.1 Economically largest cities as of 2014
* 7 Culture
* 7.1 Plastic arts
* 7.2 Sport
* 8 Infrastructure
* 8.1 Energy
* 8.2 Transport
* 9 See also
* 10 Notes and references
* 10.1 Content notes
* 10.2 References
* 10.3 Sources
* 11 External links
Geography of South America See also:
South America A composite relief image
South America occupies the southern portion of the
Americas . The
continent is generally delimited on the northwest by the Darién
watershed along the Colombia–
Panama border , although some may
consider the border instead to be the
Panama Canal . Geopolitically
and geographically all of
Panama – including the segment east of
Panama Canal in the isthmus – is typically included in North
America alone and among the countries of
Central America . Almost
all of mainland
South America sits on the
South American Plate .
South America is home to the world\'s highest uninterrupted waterfall
Angel Falls in Venezuela; the highest single drop waterfall Kaieteur
Falls in Guyana; the largest river (by volume), the
Amazon River ; the
longest mountain range, the
Andes (whose highest mountain is Aconcagua
at 6,962 m ); the driest non-polar place on earth, the Atacama Desert
; the largest rainforest, the
Amazon Rainforest ; the highest
capital city, La Paz,
Bolivia ; the highest commercially navigable
lake in the world,
Lake Titicaca ; and, excluding research stations in
Antarctica , the world's southernmost permanently inhabited community,
South America's major mineral resources are gold , silver , copper ,
iron ore , tin , and petroleum . These resources found in South
America have brought high income to its countries especially in times
of war or of rapid economic growth by industrialized countries
elsewhere. However, the concentration in producing one major export
commodity often has hindered the development of diversified economies.
The fluctuation in the price of commodities in the international
markets has led historically to major highs and lows in the economies
of South American states, often causing extreme political instability.
This is leading to efforts to diversify production to drive away from
staying as economies dedicated to one major export.
South America is one of the most biodiverse continents on earth.
South America is home to many interesting and unique species of
animals including the llama , anaconda , piranha , jaguar , vicuña ,
and tapir . The Amazon rainforests possess high biodiversity ,
containing a major proportion of the Earth's species .
Brazil is the largest country in South America, encompassing around
half of the continent's land area and population. The remaining
countries and territories are divided among three regions: The Andean
States , the Guianas and the
Southern Cone .
* Geography of South America
Torres del Paine
Torres del Paine in Chile.
Ausangate mountain in Peru.
Porto de Galinhas
Porto de Galinhas beach in Brazil.
Amazon rainforest , the richest and most megadiverse forest in the
Angel Falls in Venezuela, the highest waterfall in the world.
Quebrada de Cafayette in
Atacama Desert (Chile) the driest desert in the world.
Pirineus State Park in Brazil.
Serra da Capivara National Park in Brazil.
Monte Roraima between Brazil,
South America also includes some of the nearby
Tobago , and the
federal dependencies of
Venezuela sit on the northerly South American
continental shelf and are often considered part of the continent.
Geo-politically, the island states and overseas territories of the
Caribbean are generally grouped as a part or subregion of North
America, since they are more distant on the
Caribbean Plate , even
though San Andres and Providencia are politically part of
Aves Island is controlled by
Other islands that are included with
South America are the Galápagos
Islands that belong to
Easter Island (in
Robinson Crusoe Island , Chiloé (both Chilean)
Tierra del Fuego (split between
Argentina ). In the
Fernando de Noronha
Fernando de Noronha ,
Trindade and Martim Vaz ,
Saint Peter and Saint Paul Archipelago , while the Falkland
Islands are governed by the
United Kingdom , whose sovereignty over
the islands is disputed by
Argentina . South Georgia and the South
Sandwich Islands may be associated with either
South America or
* Islands of South America
Falkland Islands , overseas of the
United Kingdom .
Easter Island , in the picture Rano Raraku volcano.
Fernando de Noronha
Fernando de Noronha , Brazilian archipelago.
Trindade and Martin Vaz , a volcanic archipelago of Brazil.
Galápagos Islands off coast of
South America according to Köppen climate classification
The distribution of the average temperatures in the region presents a
constant regularity from the 30° of latitude south , when the
isotherms tend, more and more, to be confused with the degrees of
In temperate latitudes, winters are milder and summers warmer than in
North America . Because its most extensive part of the continent is
located in the equatorial zone, the region has more areas of
equatorial plains than any other region.
The average annual temperatures in the
Amazon basin oscillate around
27 °C, with low thermal amplitudes and high rainfall indices. Between
Maracaibo Lake and the mouth of the Orinoco, predominates an
equatorial climate of the type Congolese, that also includes parts of
the Brazilian territory.
The east-central Brazilian plateau has a humid and warm tropical
climate. The northern and eastern parts of the Argentine pampas have a
humid subtropical climate with dry winters and humid summers of the
Chinese type, while the western and eastern ranges have a subtropical
climate of the dinaric type. At the highest points of the Andean
region, climates are colder than the ones occurring at the highest
point of the Norwegian fjords. In the Andean plateaus, the warm
climate prevails, although it is tempered by the altitude, while in
the coastal strip, there is an equatorial climate of the Guinean type.
From this point until the north of the Chilean coast appear,
successively, Mediterranean oceanic climate , temperate of the Breton
type and, already in
Tierra del Fuego , cold climate of the Siberian
The distribution of rainfall is related to the regime of winds and
air masses. In most of the tropical region east of the Andes, winds
blowing from the northeast, east and southeast carry moisture from the
Atlantic , causing abundant rainfall. In the
Orinoco lhanos and in the
Guianas plateau , the precipitations go from moderate to high. The
Pacific coast of
Colombia and northern
Ecuador are rainy regions. The
Atacama Desert, along this stretch of coast, is one of the driest
regions in the world. The central and southern parts of
subject to cyclones, and most of the Argentine
Patagonia is desert .
In the pampas of Argentina,
Uruguay and South of
Brazil the rainfall
is moderate, with rains well distributed during the year. The
moderately dry conditions of the Chaco oppose the intense rainfall of
the eastern region of Paraguay. In the semiarid coast of the Brazilian
Northeast the rains are linked to a monsoon regime.
Important factors in the determination of climates are sea currents,
such as the current Humboldt and
Falklands . The equatorial current of
Atlantic strikes the coast of the Northeast and there is
divided into two others: the current of
Brazil and a coastal current
that flows to the northwest towards the
Antilles , where there it
moves towards northeast course thus forming the most Important and
famous ocean current in the world, the
Gulf Stream . Perito
Moreno Glacier ,
Los Glaciares National Park
Los Glaciares National Park , Santa Cruz Province,
Argentina ; declared
World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site by
UNESCO in 1981.
History of South America
History of South America
History of South America
History of South America § Pre-Columbian era
Cueva de las Manos , or Cave of the Hands, in
South America is believed to have been joined with
Africa from the
Paleozoic Era to the early
Mesozoic Era , until the
Pangaea began to rift and break apart about 225 million
years ago. Therefore,
South America and
Africa share similar fossils
and rock layers.
South America is thought to have been first inhabited by humans when
people were crossing the Bering Land Bridge (now the
Bering Strait )
at least 15,000 years ago from the territory that is present-day
Russia . They migrated south through
North America , and eventually
South America through the Isthmus of
The first evidence for the existence of the human race in South
America dates back to about 9000 BC, when squashes , chili peppers and
beans began to be cultivated for food in the highlands of the Amazon
Basin . Pottery evidence further suggests that manioc , which remains
a staple food today, was being cultivated as early as 2000 BC.
By 2000 BC, many agrarian communities had been settled throughout the
Andes and the surrounding regions. Fishing became a widespread
practice along the coast, helping establish fish as a primary source
Irrigation systems were also developed at this time, which
aided in the rise of an agrarian society .
South American cultures began domesticating llamas , vicuñas ,
guanacos , and alpacas in the highlands of the
Andes circa 3500 BC.
Besides their use as sources of meat and wool, these animals were used
for transportation of goods.
Main article: Pre-Columbian era §
South America The Inca
Machu Picchu ,
Peru is one of the New Seven Wonders of the
The rise of plant growing and the subsequent appearance of permanent
human settlements allowed for the multiple and overlapping beginnings
of civilizations in South America.
One of the earliest known South American civilizations was at Norte
Chico , on the central
Peruvian coast. Though a pre-ceramic culture,
the monumental architecture of Norte Chico is contemporaneous with the
Ancient Egypt . Norte Chico governing class established a
trade network and developed agriculture then followed by Chavín by
900 BC, according to some estimates and archaeological finds.
Artifacts were found at a site called
Chavín de Huantar in modern
Peru at an elevation of 3,177 meters. Chavín civilization spanned 900
BC to 300 BC.
In the central coast of Peru, around the beginning of the 1st
millennium AD, Moche (100 BC – 700 AD, at the northern coast of
Peru), Paracas and Nazca (400 BC – 800 AD, Peru) cultures flourished
with centralized states with permanent militia improving agriculture
through irrigation and new styles of ceramic art. At the
Tiwanaku (100 BC – 1200 AD, Bolivia) managed a large
commercial network based on religion.
Around 7th century, both Tiahuanaco and Wari or Huari Empire
(600–1200, Central and northern Peru) expanded its influence to all
the Andean region, imposing the Huari urbanism and Tiahuanaco
The Muisca were the main indigenous civilization in what is now
Colombia. They established the
Muisca Confederation of many clans, or
cacicazgos , that had a free trade network among themselves. They were
goldsmiths and farmers.
Other important Pre-Columbian cultures include: the Cañaris (in
south central Ecuador),
Chimú Empire (1300–1470,
coast), Chachapoyas , and the Aymaran kingdoms (1000–1450, Western
Bolivia and southern Peru).
Holding their capital at the great city of
Cusco , the Inca
civilization dominated the
Andes region from 1438 to 1533. Known as
Tawantin suyu, and "the land of the four regions," in Quechua , the
Inca Empire was highly distinct and developed. Inca rule extended to
nearly a hundred linguistic or ethnic communities, some 9 to 14
million people connected by a 25,000 kilometer road system . Cities
were built with precise, unmatched stonework, constructed over many
levels of mountain terrain.
Terrace farming was a useful form of
Mapuche in Central and Southern
Chile resisted the European and
Chilean settlers, waging the
Arauco War for more than 300 years.
Main articles: Spanish colonization of the
Americas and Portuguese
colonization of the
Americas The Portuguese arrival in
22 April 1500 was led by
Pedro Álvares Cabral
Pedro Álvares Cabral . The
Inca–Spanish confrontation in the
Battle of Cajamarca left thousands
of natives dead. The Dutch colonial houses located in the
historic center of
Paramaribo , Suriname. Illustration of the
Demerara rebellion in British
Guiana in 1823.
Spain , the two great maritime European powers
of that time, on the expectation of new lands being discovered in the
west, signed the
Treaty of Tordesillas , by which they agreed, with
the support of the Pope, that all the land outside
Europe should be an
exclusive duopoly between the two countries.
The treaty established an imaginary line along a north-south meridian
370 leagues west of the
Cape Verde Islands , roughly 46° 37' W. In
terms of the treaty, all land to the west of the line (known to
comprise most of the South American soil) would belong to Spain, and
all land to the east, to Portugal. As accurate measurements of
longitude were impossible at that time, the line was not strictly
enforced, resulting in a Portuguese expansion of
Brazil across the
Beginning in the 1530s, the people and natural resources of South
America were repeatedly exploited by foreign conquistadors , first
Spain and later from Portugal. These competing colonial nations
claimed the land and resources as their own and divided it in
European infectious diseases (smallpox , influenza , measles , and
typhus ) – to which the native populations had no immune resistance
– caused large-scale depopulation of the native population under
Spanish control. Systems of forced labor, such as the haciendas and
mining industry's mit\'a also contributed to the depopulation. After
this, African slaves , who had developed immunities to these diseases,
were quickly brought in to replace them.
Spaniards were committed to convert their native subjects to
Christianity and were quick to purge any native cultural practices
that hindered this end; however, many initial attempts at this were
only partially successful, as native groups simply blended Catholicism
with their established beliefs and practices. Furthermore, the
Spaniards brought their language to the degree they did with their
religion, although the
Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church 's evangelization in
Quechua , Aymara , and Guaraní actually contributed to the continuous
use of these native languages albeit only in the oral form.
Eventually, the natives and the
Spaniards interbred, forming a
mestizo class. At the beginning, many mestizos of the Andean region
were offspring of
Amerindian mothers and Spanish fathers. After
independence, most mestizos had native fathers and European or mestizo
Many native artworks were considered pagan idols and destroyed by
Spanish explorers; this included many gold and silver sculptures and
other artifacts found in South America, which were melted down before
their transport to
Spain or Portugal.
Spaniards and Portuguese brought
the western European architectural style to the continent, and helped
to improve infrastructures like bridges, roads, and the sewer system
of the cities they discovered or conquered. They also significantly
increased economic and trade relations, not just between the old and
new world but between the different South American regions and
peoples. Finally, with the expansion of the Portuguese and Spanish
languages, many cultures that were previously separated became united
through that of Latin American .
Guyana was first a Dutch, and then a British colony , though there
was a brief period during the
Napoleonic Wars when it was colonized by
the French. The country was once partitioned into three parts, each
being controlled by one of the colonial powers until the country was
finally taken over fully by the British. Plaza of San Francisco
Historic Center of Quito
Historic Center of Quito ,
Ecuador , is one of the largest,
least-altered and best-preserved historic centers in the
SLAVERY IN SOUTH AMERICA
* Ancient Rome
* Ancient Greece
Topics and practices
Atlantic slave trade
Arab slave trade
* Byzantine Empire
Field slaves in the United States
* House slaves
By country or region Sub-Saharan
Slavery on the
Barbary slave trade
* U.S. Natives
* Puerto Rico
* penal labor
* Human Trafficking
* Virgin Islands
Central, East, and South
* comfort women
* Yankee princess
Human trafficking in
Slave raiding in
Human trafficking in Papua
Europe and North
* Sex trafficking in
* Dutch Republic
* Germany in
World War II
World War II
Africa and West
Human trafficking in the
* Ottoman Empire
* 21st century
* Bahá\'í Faith
Opposition and resistance
* Blockade of
* Slave Trade Acts
* International law
* 13th Amendment to the
United States Constitution
* Common law
* Fugitive slaves
Great Dismal Swamp maroons
List of slaves
* Slave Route Project
* Treatment in U.S.
* court cases
* 40 acres
* Freedmen\'s Bureau
Slavery among the indigenous peoples of the
Atlantic slave trade A slave owner punishes a slave in
Indigenous peoples of the
Americas in various European colonies were
forced to work in European plantations and mines; along with African
slaves who were also introduced in the proceeding centuries. The
colonists were heavily dependent on indigenous labor during the
initial phases of European settlement to maintain the subsistence
economy, and natives were often captured by expeditions. The
importation of African slaves began midway through the 16th century,
but the enslavement of indigenous peoples continued well into the 17th
and 18th centuries. The
Atlantic slave trade brought African slaves
primarily to South American colonies, beginning with the Portuguese
since 1502. The main destinations of this phase were the Caribbean
Brazil , as European nations built up economically
slave-dependent colonies in the
New World . Nearly 40% of all African
slaves trafficked to the
Americas went to Brazil. An estimated 4.9
million slaves from
Africa came to
Brazil during the period from 1501
While the Portuguese, English and French settlers enslaved mainly
African blacks, the
Spaniards became very disposed of the natives. In
Portugal abolished native slavery in the colonies because they
considered them unfit for labour and began to import even more African
slaves. Slaves were brought to the mainland on so-called slave ships ,
under subhuman conditions and ill-treatment, and those who survived
were sold into the slave markets.
After independence, all South American countries maintained slavery
for some time. The first South American country to abolish slavery was
Chile in 1823,
Uruguay in 1830,
Bolivia in 1831,
Colombia and Ecuador
Argentina in 1853,
Venezuela in 1854,
1869, and in 1888
Brazil was the last South American nation and the
last country in western world to abolish slavery.
INDEPENDENCE FROM SPAIN AND PORTUGAL
Spanish American wars of independence and Independence
Guayaquil conference between José de San Martín
Simón Bolívar The proclamation of the Independence of
Brazil by Prince Pedro in 7 September 1822. Coronation of Pedro I
as 1st Emperor of
Brazil . Bernardo O\'Higgins swears
officially the independence of
Peninsular War (1807–1814), a theater of the
Napoleonic Wars , changed the political situation of both the Spanish
and Portuguese colonies. First, Napoleon invaded Portugal, but the
House of Braganza avoided capture by escaping to
Brazil . Napoleon
also captured King Ferdinand VII of
Spain , and appointed his own
brother instead. This appointment provoked severe popular resistance,
which created Juntas to rule in the name of the captured king.
Many cities in the Spanish colonies, however, considered themselves
equally authorized to appoint local Juntas like those of Spain. This
Spanish American wars of independence between the patriots ,
who promoted such autonomy, and the royalists , who supported Spanish
authority over the Americas. The Juntas, in both
Spain and the
Americas, promoted the ideas of the Enlightenment . Five years after
the beginning of the war, Ferdinand VII returned to the throne and
Absolutist Restoration as the royalists got the upper hand
in the conflict.
The independence of
South America was secured by Simón Bolívar
José de San Martín
José de San Martín (Argentina), the two most
Libertadores . Bolívar led a great uprising in the north,
then led his army southward towards
Lima , the capital of the
Peru . Meanwhile, San Martín led an army across the
Andes Mountains, along with Chilean expatriates, and liberated Chile.
He organized a fleet to reach
Peru by sea, and sought the military
support of various rebels from the Viceroyalty of Peru. The two armies
finally met in Guayaquil,
Ecuador , where they cornered the Royal Army
of the Spanish Crown and forced its surrender.
In the Portuguese Kingdom of
Dom Pedro I (also Pedro IV of
Portugal), son of the Portuguese King
Dom João VI , proclaimed the
independent Kingdom of
Brazil in 1822, which later became the Empire
Brazil . Despite the Portuguese loyalties of garrisons in
Pará , independence was diplomatically accepted by the
Portugal in 1825, on condition of a high compensation paid by
Brazil mediatized by the
United Kingdom .
NATION-BUILDING AND FRAGMENTATION
Thirty-Three Orientals proclaimed the independence of
Cisplatine Province . Battle of Fanfa, battle scene in Southern
Brazil during the
The newly independent nations began a process of fragmentation, with
several civil and international wars. However, it was not as strong as
in Central America. Some countries created from provinces of larger
countries stayed as such up to modern day (such as
Uruguay), while others were reconquered and reincorporated into their
former countries (such as the
Republic of Entre Ríos and the
Riograndense Republic ).
The first separatist attempt was in 1820 by the Argentine province of
Entre Ríos by a caudillo . In spite of the "Republic" in its title,
General Ramírez , its caudillo, never really intended to declare an
independent Entre Rios. Rather, he was making a political statement in
opposition to the monarchist and centralist ideas that back then
Buenos Aires politics. The "country" was reincorporated at
the United Provinces in 1821.
In 1825 the
Cisplatine Province declared its independence from the
Brazil , which led the
Cisplatine War between the imperials
and the Argentine from the
United Provinces of the Río de la Plata to
control the region. Three years later, the
United Kingdom intervened
in question by proclaiming a tie and creating in the former Cisplatina
a new independent country: The Oriental Republic of
Uruguay which was
the only separatist province that maintained its independence.
Later in 1836, while
Brazil was experiencing the chaos of the
Rio Grande do Sul proclaimed its independence motivated by a
tax crisis. This was the longest and most bloody separatist conflict
in South America. With the anticipation of the coronation of Pedro II
to the throne of Brazil, the country could stabilize and fight the
separatists, which the province of Santa Catarina had joined in 1839.
The Conflict came to an end with the total defeat of both Riograndense
Juliana Republic and their reincorporation as provinces
Peru–Bolivian Confederation , a short-lived union of
Bolivia, was blocked by
Chile in the War of the Confederation
(1836–1839) and again during the
War of the Pacific (1879–1883).
Paraguay was virtually destroyed by
Brazil in the
Paraguayan War .
WARS AND CONFLICTS
Imperial Brazilian Navy and army troops during the Siege of
Paysandú , 1865 The
Uruguayan Army at the
Battle of Sauce ,
Imperial Brazilian Army
Imperial Brazilian Army during a procession in
Paraguay , 1868 The
Chilean Army in the battlefield of the
Battle of Chorrillos , 1883 A German submarine under attack by
Brazilian Air Force PBY Catalina, 31 July 1943
South-American history in early
19th century was built almost
exclusively on wars. Despite the Spanish American wars of independence
Brazilian War of Independence , the new nations quickly began
to suffer with internal conflicts and wars among themselves.
In 1825 the proclamation of independence of Cisplatina led to the
Cisplatine War between historical rivals the Empire of
Brazil and the
United Provinces of the Río de la Plata , Argentina's predecessor.
The result was a stalemate with the British ending in the independence
Uruguay . Soon after, another Brazilian province proclaimed its
independence leading to the
Ragamuffin War which
Between 1836 and 1839 the
War of the Confederation broke out between
Peru-Bolivian Confederation and
Chile , with the
support of the
Argentine Confederation . The war was fought mostly in
the actual territory of
Peru and ended with a Confederate defeat and
the dissolution of the Confederacy and annexation of many territories
Argentine Civil Wars
Argentine Civil Wars plagued
Argentina since its
independence. The conflict was mainly between those who defended the
centralization of power in
Buenos Aires and those who defended a
confederation. During this period it can be said that "there were two
Argentine Confederation and the
Argentine Republic .
At the same time the political instability in
Uruguay led to the
Uruguayan Civil War among the main political factions of the country.
All this instability in the platine region interfered with the goals
of other countries such as Brazil, which was soon forced to take
sides. In 1851 the
Brazilian Empire , supporting the centralizing
unitarians, and the uruguayn government invaded
Argentina and deposed
Juan Manuel Rosas , who ruled the confederation with an
iron hand. Although the
Platine War did not put an end to the
political chaos and civil war in Argentina, it brought temporary peace
Uruguay where the Colorados faction won, supported by the Brazilian
British Empire , French Empire and the
Unitarian Party of
Peace lasted only a short time: in 1864 the Uruguayan factions faced
each other again in the
Uruguayan War . The Blancos supported by
Paraguay started to attack Brazilian and Argentine farmers near the
borders. The Empire made an initial attempt to settle the dispute
between Blancos and Colorados without success. In 1864, after a
Brazilian ultimatum was refused, the imperial government declared that
Brazil's military would begin reprisals.
Brazil declined to
acknowledge a formal state of war, and, for most of its duration, the
Uruguayan–Brazilian armed conflict was an undeclared war which led
to the deposition of the Blancos and the rise of the pro-Brazilian
Colorados to power again. This angered the Paraguayan government,
which even before the end of the war invaded Brazil, beginning the
biggest and deadliest war in both South American and Latin American
Paraguayan War .
Paraguayan War began when the Paraguayan dictator Francisco
Solano López ordered the invasion of the Brazilian provinces of Mato
Rio Grande do Sul . His attempt to cross Argentinian
territory without Argentinian approval led the pro-Brazilian Argentine
government into the war. The pro-Brazilian Uruguayan government showed
its support by sending troops. In 1865 the three countries signed the
Treaty of the Triple Alliance
Treaty of the Triple Alliance against Paraguay. At the beginning of
the war, the Paraguayans took the lead with several victories, until
the Triple Alliance organized to repel the invaders and fight
effectively. This was the second total war experience in the world
American Civil War
American Civil War . It was deemed the greatest war effort
in the history of all participating countries, taking almost 6 years
and ending with the complete devastation of Paraguay. The country lost
40% of its territory to
Argentina and lost 60% of its
population, including 90% of the men. The dictator Lopez was killed in
battle and a new government was instituted in alliance with Brazil,
which maintained occupation forces in the country until 1876.
The last South American war in the
19th century was the War of the
Peru on one side and
Chile on the other. In
1879 the war began with Chilean troops occupying Bolivian ports,
Bolivia declaring war on
Chile which activated an alliance
treaty with Peru. The Bolivians were completely defeated in 1880 and
Lima was occupied in 1881. The peace was signed with
Peru in 1883
while a truce was signed with
Bolivia in 1884.
territories of both countries leaving
Bolivia with no path to the sea.
In the new century, as wars became less violent and less frequent,
Brazil entered into a small conflict with
Bolivia for the possession
of the Acre, which was acquired by
Brazil in 1902. In 1917 Brazil
declared war on the
Central Powers and join the allied side in the
World War I
World War I , sending a small fleet to the
Mediterranean Sea and some
troops to be integrated with the British and French troops.
the only South American country that fought in WWI. Later in 1932
Peru entered a short armed conflict for territory in the
Amazon. In the same year
Paraguay declared war on
possession of the Chaco, in a conflict that ended three years later
with Paraguay's victory. Between 1941 and 1942
decisively for territories claimed by both that were annexed by Peru,
usurping Ecuador's frontier with Brazil.
Also in this period the first naval battle of
World War II
World War II was fought
on the continent, in the River Plate , between British forces and
German submarines. The Germans still made numerous attacks on
Brazilian ships on the coast, causing
Brazil to declare war on the
Axis powers in 1942, being the only South American country to fight in
this war (and in both
Brazil sent naval and air forces to
combat German and Italian submarines off the continent and throughout
the South Atlantic, in addition to sending an expeditionary force to
fight in the Italian Campaign .
The last war to be fought on South American soil was the Falkland War
Argentina and the
United Kingdom for possession of the islands
of the same name.
Argentina was defeated in 1982.
RISE AND FALL OF MILITARY DICTATORSHIPS
Argentine soldiers during the
Falklands War The
Brazilian Minas Geraes class kindled an
Argentine–Brazilian–Chilean naval arms race .
Wars became less frequent in the 20th century, with Bolivia-Paraguay
Ecuador fighting the last inter-state wars. Early in the 20th
century, the three wealthiest South American countries engaged in a
vastly expensive naval arms race which was catalyzed by the
introduction of a new warship type, the "dreadnought ". At one point,
the Argentine government was spending a fifth of its entire yearly
budget for just two dreadnoughts, a price that did not include later
in-service costs, which for the Brazilian dreadnoughts was sixty
percent of the initial purchase.
The continent became a battlefield of the
Cold War in the late 20th
century. Some democratically elected governments of Argentina, Brazil,
Paraguay were overthrown or displaced by military
dictatorships in the 1960s and 1970s. To curtail opposition, their
governments detained tens of thousands of political prisoners , many
of whom were tortured and/or killed on inter-state collaboration .
Economically, they began a transition to neoliberal economic policies.
They placed their own actions within the US
Cold War doctrine of
"National Security" against internal subversion. Throughout the 1980s
Peru suffered from an internal conflict .
Argentina and Britain fought the
Falklands War in 1982.
Colombia has had an ongoing, though diminished internal conflict,
which started in 1964 with the creation of Marxist guerrillas
(FARC-EP) and then involved several illegal armed groups of
leftist-leaning ideology as well as the private armies of powerful
drug lords. Many of these are now defunct, and only a small portion of
the ELN remains, along with the stronger, though also greatly reduced,
FARC. These leftist groups smuggle narcotics out of
Colombia to fund
their operations, while also using kidnapping, bombings, land mines
and assassinations as weapons against both elected and non-elected
citizens. Presidents of
UNASUR member states at the Second
Brasília Summit on 23 May 2008.
Revolutionary movements and right-wing military dictatorships became
World War II
World War II , but since the 1980s, a wave of
democratization passed through the continent, and democratic rule is
widespread now. Nonetheless, allegations of corruption are still very
common, and several countries have developed crises which have forced
the resignation of their governments, although, on most occasions,
regular civilian succession has continued.
International indebtedness turned into a severe problem in the late
1980s, and some countries, despite having strong democracies, have not
yet developed political institutions capable of handling such crises
without resorting to unorthodox economic policies, as most recently
Argentina 's default in the early 21st century. The
last twenty years have seen an increased push towards regional
integration , with the creation of uniquely South American
institutions such as the
Andean Community ,
Notably, starting with the election of
Hugo Chávez in
1998, the region experienced what has been termed a pink tide – the
election of several leftist and center-left administrations to most
countries of the area, except for the Guianas and Colombia.
COUNTRIES AND TERRITORIES
List of South American countries by population and List of
sovereign states and dependent territories in
South America by median
age of population
territory with flag
(km²) (sq mi)
(July 2015 est.)
per km2 (per sq mi) CAPITAL
2766890 !2,766,890 km2 (1,068,300 sq mi)
1430 !14.3/km² (37/sq mi)
1098580 !1,098,580 km2 (424,160 sq mi)
0810 !8.4/km² (21.8/sq mi)
La Paz and
8514877 !8,514,877 km2 (3,287,612 sq mi)
2200 !22.0/km² (57/sq mi)
0756950 ! 756,950 km2 (292,260 sq mi)
2110 !22/km² (57/sq mi)
1138910 !1,141,748 km2 (440,831 sq mi)
3770 !40/km² (103.6/sq mi)
0283560 ! 283,560 km2 (109,480 sq mi)
4710 !53.8/km² (139.3/sq mi)
Falkland Islands (
United Kingdom )
0012173 ! 12,173 km2 (4,700 sq mi)
0026 !0.26/km² (0.7/sq mi)
French Guiana (
0091000 ! 91,000 km2 (35,000 sq mi)
0210 !2.7/km² (5.4/sq mi)
0214999 ! 214,999 km2 (83,012 sq mi)
0360 !3.5/km² (9.1/sq mi)
0406750 ! 406,750 km2 (157,050 sq mi)
1560 !15.6/km² (40.4/sq mi)
1285220 !1,285,220 km2 (496,230 sq mi)
2170 !22/km² (57/sq mi)
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (United Kingdom)
0003093 ! 3,093 km2 (1,194 sq mi)
0000 !0/km² (0/sq mi)
King Edward Point
0163270 ! 163,270 km2 (63,040 sq mi)
0270 !3/km² (7.8/sq mi)
0176220 ! 176,220 km2 (68,040 sq mi)
1940 !19.4/km² (50.2/sq mi)
09116445 ! 916,445 km2 (353,841 sq mi)
2780 !30.2/km² (72/sq mi)
Headquarters of the
Historically, the Hispanic countries were founded as Republican
dictatorships led by caudillos .
Brazil was the only exception, being
a constitutional monarchy for its first 67 years of independence,
until a coup d'ètat proclaimed a republic. In late 19th century, the
most democratic countries were
Argentina and Uruguay
In the interwar period, nationalism grew stronger on the continent,
influenced by countries like
Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy . A series
of authoritarian rules broke out in South American countries with
views bringing them closer to the
Axis Powers , like Vargas\'s Brazil
Argentina . In the late 20th century, during the Cold War
, many countries became military dictatorships under American tutelage
in attempts to avoid the influence of the Soviet Union. After the fall
of the authoritarian regimes, these countries became democratic
During the first decade of the 21st century, South American
governments have drifted to the political left, with leftist leaders
being elected in Chile, Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Bolivia,
Peru and Venezuela. Most South American countries are making
increasing use of protectionist policies, helping local development.
All South American countries are presidential republics with the
Guyana , which is a semi-presidential republic . French
Guiana is a
French overseas department , while the Falkland Islands
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands are British colonies.
It is currently the only inhabited continent in the world without
monarchies ; the Empire of
Brazil existed during the
19th century and
there was an unsuccessful attempt to establish a Kingdom of Araucanía
Patagonia in southern
Argentina and Chile. Also in the twentieth
Suriname was established as a constituent kingdom of the
Kingdom of the Netherlands and
Guyana remained as a Commonwealth Realm
for 4 years after its independence.
Recently, an intergovernmental entity has been formed which aims to
merge the two existing customs unions:
Mercosur and the Andean
Community , thus forming the third-largest trade bloc in the world.
This new political organization, known as Union of South American
Nations , seeks to establish free movement of people, economic
development, a common defense policy and the elimination of tariffs .
Satellite view of
South America at night from
South America has 410 million inhabitants and a rate of population
growth of about 0.6% per year. There are several areas of sparse
demographics such as tropical forests , the
Atacama Desert and the icy
Patagonia . On the other hand, the continent presents
regions of high population density, such as the great urban centers.
The population is formed by descendants of Europeans (mainly Spaniards
, Portuguese and
Africans and indigenous peoples . There
is a high percentage of mestizos that vary greatly in composition by
place. There is also a minor population of
Asians , specially in
Brazil. The two main languages are by far Spanish and Portuguese,
followed by French, English and Dutch in smaller numbers.
Chile are the wealthiest and most
developed nations in the continent.
Spanish and Portuguese are the most spoken languages in South
America, with approximately 200 million speakers each. Spanish is the
official language of most countries, along with other native languages
in some countries. Portuguese is the official language of
Dutch is the official language of
Suriname ; English is the official
Guyana , although there are at least twelve other
languages spoken in the country, including Portuguese , Chinese ,
Hindustani and several native languages. English is also spoken in
Falkland Islands . French is the official language of French
Guiana and the second language in
Amapá , Brazil.
Indigenous languages of
South America include Quechua in Peru,
Bolivia, Ecuador, Argentina,
Chile and Colombia;
La Guajira ) and northwestern
Paraguay and, to a much lesser extent, in Bolivia; Aymara
in Bolivia, Peru, and less often in Chile; and
Mapudungun is spoken in
certain pockets of southern
Chile and, more rarely, Argentina. At
least three South American indigenous languages (Quechua, Aymara, and
Guarani) are recognized along with Spanish as national languages.
Other languages found in
South America include Hindustani and
Javanese in Suriname; Italian in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Venezuela
and Chile; and German in certain pockets of Argentina, Brazil, and
Chile. German is also spoken in many regions of the southern states of
Riograndenser Hunsrückisch being the most widely spoken
German dialect in the country; among other Germanic dialects, a
Brazilian form of East Pomeranian is also well represented and is
experiencing a revival. Welsh remains spoken and written in the
historic towns of
Trelew and Rawson in the Argentine
Patagonia . There
are also small clusters of Japanese -speakers in Brazil,
Peru. Arabic speakers, often of Lebanese , Syrian , or Palestinian
descent, can be found in Arab communities in Argentina, Colombia,
Venezuela and in Paraguay.
Las Lajas Sanctuary ,
Colombia Main article:
Latin America See also: History of the Jews in Latin
America and the
Caribbean , Buddhism in
Brazil , and Islam in
An estimated 90% of South Americans are
Christians (82% Roman
Catholic , 8% other Christian denominations mainly traditional
Evangelicals but also Orthodox ), accounting for ca.
Crypto-Jews or Marranos , conversos , and
Anusim were an important
part of colonial life in Latin America.
Both Buenos Aires,
Argentina and São Paulo,
Brazil figure among the
largest Jewish populations by urban area .
Japanese Buddhism and Shinto-derived
Japanese New Religions are
Brazil and Peru.
Korean Confucianism is especially found in
Brazil while Chinese Buddhism and Chinese Confucianism have spread
throughout the continent.
Kardecist Spiritism can be found in several countries.
PART OF RELIGIONS IN SOUTH AMERICA (2013):
NO RELIGION (ATHEISTS AND AGNOSTICS)
Ethnic groups in South America Afro-Brazilian
girls Former president of
Lula and members of the
Italo-Brazilian community during the Grape Festival at
Caxias do Sul
Caxias do Sul
Miko during a festival in
Peruvian woman and her son of indigenous descent Indigenous
Paraguay Oca of the
Kamayurá people , Xingu
Indigenous Park ,
Genetic admixture occurs at very high levels in South America. In
Argentina, the European influence accounts for 65%–79% of the
Amerindian for 17%–31% and sub-Saharan African
for 2%–4%. In Colombia, the sub-Saharan African genetic background
varied from 1% to 89%, while the European genetic background varied
from 20% to 79%, depending on the region. In Peru, European ancestries
ranged from 1% to 31%, while the African contribution was only 1% to
3%. The Genographic Project determined the average
Peruvian from Lima
had about 28% European ancestry, 68% Native American, 2% Asian
ancestry and 2% sub-Saharan African.
Descendants of indigenous peoples , such as the Quechua and Aymara ,
Urarina of Amazonia make up the majority of the population in
Bolivia (56%) and, per some sources, in
Peru (44%). In
Amerindians are a large minority that comprises two-fifths of the
population. The native European population is also a significant
element in most other former Portuguese colonies.
People who identify as of primarily or totally European descent , or
identify their phenotype as corresponding to such group, are more of a
Argentina , and
Uruguay and are about half of the
Chile (52.7%) and
Brazil (48.43%). In Venezuela,
according to the national census 42% of the population is primarily
native Spanish, Italian and Portuguese descendants. In Colombia,
people who identify as European descendant are about 37%. In Peru,
European descendants are the third group in number (15%).
Mestizos (mixed European and Amerindian) are the largest ethnic group
Ecuador and the second group
South America is also home to one of the largest populations of
Africans . This group is significantly present in
Suriname , French Guiana,
Brazil followed by
Peru have the largest Japanese , Korean and
Chinese communities in South America. East Indians form the largest
ethnic group in
Guyana and Suriname.
ETHNIC DISTRIBUTION IN SOUTH AMERICA
Main articles: List of
Indigenous peoples of
South America and
Indigenous peoples in
In many places indigenous people still practice a traditional
lifestyle based on subsistence agriculture or as hunter-gatherers.
There are still some uncontacted tribes residing in the Amazon
* Aymara – lives in the
Argentina , Chile
Peru . Their language is co-official in
Traditional lifestyle includes llama herding.
* Kuna live on the
* Gê ,
* Guaraní – lives in
Paraguay where the
Guarani language is
co-official with Spanish.
Mapuche – lives mainly in southern
Chile and Argentina.
Pehuenche – a branch of Mapuches that lived in the Andean
valleys of southern (see
Quechuas – makes up a large part of the population of Peru,
Ecuador and Bolivia. Are diverse as an ethnic group. The Incas spoke
Southern Quechua .
* Shuar (see
South American cities
Buenos Aires Rio
The most populous country in
South America is
Brazil with 207.3
million persons. The second largest country is
Colombia with a
population of 49,034,411.
Argentina is the third most populous country
While Brazil, Argentina, and
Colombia maintain the largest
populations, large city populations are not restricted to those
nations. The largest cities in South America, by far, are São Paulo,
Bogotá, and Lima. These cities are the only cities on the continent
to exceed eight million, and two of four in the
Americas . Next in
size are Rio de Janeiro, Santiago, Caracas,
Buenos Aires and Salvador.
Five of the top ten metropolitan areas are located in the Brazil.
These metropolitan areas all have a population of above 4 million and
São Paulo metropolitan area ,
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro metropolitan
area , and
Belo Horizonte metropolitan area . Whilst the majority of
the largest metropolitan areas are within Brazil,
Argentina is host to
the second largest metropolitan area by population in South America:
Buenos Aires metropolitan region is above 13 million inhabitants.
South America has also been witness to the growth of megapolitan
areas . In
Brazil four megaregions exist including the Expanded
Metropolitan Complex of
São Paulo with more than 32 million
inhabitants. The others are the Greater Rio, Greater Belo Horizonte
Greater Porto Alegre .
Colombia also has four megaregions which
comprise 72% of its population, followed by Venezuela,
Peru which are also homes of megaregions.
The top ten largest South American metropolitan areas by population
as of 2015, based on national census numbers from each country:
7,947 km2 (3,068 sq mi)
3,830 km2 (1,480 sq mi)
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro
6,744 km2 (2,604 sq mi)
2,819 km2 (1,088 sq mi)
4,200 km2 (1,600 sq mi)
15,403 km2 (5,947 sq mi)
9,467 km2 (3,655 sq mi)
4,715 km2 (1,820 sq mi)
10,232 km2 (3,951 sq mi)
56,433 km2 (21,789 sq mi)
2015 Census figures.
Economy of South America
This section needs to be UPDATED. Please update this article to
reflect recent events or newly available information. (March 2017)
Rafael Correa ,
Evo Morales ,
Néstor Kirchner , Cristina
Fernández , Luiz Inácio
Lula da Silva ,
Nicanor Duarte , and Hugo
Chávez signed the founding charter of the
Bank of the South .
Trading panel of the
São Paulo Stock Exchange is the 2nd biggest in
Americas and 13th in the world. Financial center of
Chile Launch at the
Kourou Space Center in French
Refinery of Brazilian state-owned
Chuquicamata is the largest open pit mine
in the world, near the city of Calama in Chile. KC-390 is the
largest military transport aircraft produced in
South America by the
Luján de Cuyo ,
province of Mendoza,
South America relies less on the export of both manufactured goods
and natural resources than the world average; merchandise exports from
the continent were 16% of GDP on an exchange rate basis, compared to
25% for the world as a whole.
Brazil (the seventh largest economy in
the world and the largest in South America) leads in terms of
merchandise exports at $251 billion, followed by
Venezuela at $93
Chile at $86 billion, and
Argentina at $84 billion.
Since 1930, the continent has experienced remarkable growth and
diversification in most economic sectors. Most agricultural and
livestock products are destined for the domestic market and local
consumption. However, the export of agricultural products is essential
for the balance of trade in most countries.
The main agrarian crops are export crops, such as soy and wheat . The
production of staple foods such as vegetables, corn or beans is large,
but focused on domestic consumption. Livestock raising for meat
exports is important in Argentina, Paraguay,
Uruguay and Colombia. In
tropical regions the most important crops are coffee , cocoa and
bananas , mainly in Brazil,
Colombia and Ecuador. Traditionally, the
countries producing sugar for export are Peru,
Guyana and Suriname,
and in Brazil, sugar cane is also used to make ethanol . On the coast
of Peru, northeast and south of Brazil, cotton is grown. Fifty percent
of the South American surface is covered by forests, but timber
industries are small and directed to domestic markets. In recent
years, however, transnational companies have been settling in the
Amazon to exploit noble timber destined for export. The Pacific
coastal waters of
South America are the most important for commercial
fishing. The anchovy catch reaches thousands of tons, and tuna is also
Peru is a major exporter). The capture of crustaceans is
remarkable, particularly in northeastern
Brazil and Chile.
Argentina are part of the
G20 (industrial countries),
Brazil is part of the
G8+5 (the most powerful and
influential nations in the world). In the tourism sector, a series of
negotiations began in 2005 to promote tourism and increase air
connections within the region.
Punta del Este ,
Florianópolis and Mar
del Plata are among the most important resorts in South America.
The most industrialized countries in
South America are
These countries alone account for more than 75 percent of the region's
economy and add up to a GDP of more than US$3.0 trillion. Industries
South America began to take on the economies of the region from the
1930s when the
Great Depression in the
United States and other
countries of the world boosted industrial production in the continent.
From that period the region left the agricultural side behind and
began to achieve high rates of economic growth that remained until the
early 1990s when they slowed due to political instabilities, economic
crises and neoliberal policies.
Since the end of the economic crisis in
occurred in the period from 1998 to 2002, which has led to economic
recession , rising unemployment and falling population income, the
industrial and service sectors have been recovering rapidly. Chile,
Brazil have recovered fastest, growing at an average of
5% per year. All of
South America after this period has been
recovering and showing good signs of economic stability, with
controlled inflation and exchange rates, continuous growth, a decrease
in social inequality and unemployment–factors that favor industry.
The main industries are: electronics, textiles, food, automotive,
metallurgy, aviation, naval, clothing, beverage, steel, tobacco,
timber, chemical, among others. Exports reach almost US$400 billion
Brazil accounting for half of this.
The economic gap between the rich and poor in most South American
nations is larger than on most other continents. The richest 10%
receive over 40% of the nation's income in Bolivia, Brazil, Chile,
Colombia, and Paraguay, while the poorest 20% receive 3% or less in
Bolivia, Brazil, and Colombia. This wide gap can be seen in many
large South American cities where makeshift shacks and slums lie in
the vicinity of skyscrapers and upper-class luxury apartments; nearly
one in nine South Americans live on less than $2 per day (on a
purchasing power parity basis).
in 2017 GDP (PPP)
in 2017 GDP (PPP)
in 2017 Merchandise
($bn), 2011 HDI
(rank) Percent with
Falkland Islands (UK )
French Guiana (
ECONOMICALLY LARGEST CITIES AS OF 2014
GDP IN INT$ BN
GDP PER CAPITA
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro
Tourism has increasingly become a significant source of income for
many South American countries. Historical relics, architectural and
natural wonders, a diverse range of foods and culture, vibrant and
colorful cities, and stunning landscapes attract millions of tourists
every year to South America. Some of the most visited places in the
Iguazu Falls ,
Machu Picchu , the Amazon
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro , São Luís , Salvador ,
Buenos Aires ,
San Ignacio Miní
San Ignacio Miní , Isla
Margarita , Natal ,
São Paulo ,
Angel Falls ,
Nazca Lines ,
Belo Horizonte ,
Lake Titicaca , Salar de Uyuni
Jesuit Missions of Chiquitos
Jesuit Missions of Chiquitos ,
Los Roques archipelago , Gran Sabana
Tayrona National Natural Park , Santa Marta ,
Medellín , Cartagena ,
Perito Moreno Glacier
Perito Moreno Glacier and the Galápagos
Brazil hosted the 2016
Summer Olympics . Iguazu Falls
on the border between
Brazil , is one of the New Seven
World Natural Wonders .
Tango show in
Buenos Aires , typical argentine dance. Carmen
Miranda , Luso-Brazilian Actress helped popularize samba
internationally. Teatro Solis, Uruguay. National Library
South Americans are culturally influenced by their indigenous
peoples, the historic connection with the
Iberian Peninsula and
Africa, and waves of immigrants from around the globe.
South American nations have a rich variety of music . Some of the
most famous genres include vallenato and cumbia from Colombia, pasillo
Colombia and Ecuador, samba , bossa nova and música sertaneja
from Brazil, and tango from
Argentina and Uruguay. Also well known is
the non-commercial folk genre
Nueva Canción movement which was
Chile and quickly spread to the rest of the
Latin America. People on the
Peruvian coast created the fine guitar
and cajon duos or trios in the most mestizo (mixed) of South American
rhythms such as the Marinera (from Lima), the
Tondero (from Piura),
19th century popular Creole Valse or
Peruvian Valse, the soulful
Arequipan Yaravi, and the early 20th century Paraguayan Guarania . In
the late 20th century, Spanish rock emerged by young hipsters
influenced by British pop and American rock.
Brazil has a
Portuguese-language pop rock industry as well a great variety of other
The literature of
South America has attracted considerable critical
and popular acclaim, especially with the
Latin American Boom of the
1960s and 1970s, and the rise of authors such as
Mario Vargas Llosa ,
Gabriel García Márquez
Gabriel García Márquez in novels and
Jorge Luis Borges and Pablo
Neruda in other genres. The Brazilians
Machado de Assis
Machado de Assis and João
Guimarães Rosa are widely regarded as the greatest Brazilian writers.
Because of South America's broad ethnic mix, South American cuisine
has African, South American Indian, Asian, and European influences.
Bahia , Brazil, is especially well known for its West
African–influenced cuisine. Argentines, Chileans, Uruguayans,
Brazilians, Bolivians, and Venezuelans regularly consume wine. People
in Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, southern Chile,
Bolivia and Brazil
drink mate , an herb which is brewed. The Paraguayan version, terere ,
differs from other forms of mate in that it is served cold.
Pisco is a
liquor distilled from grapes in
Peru and Chile.
Peruvian cuisine mixes
elements from Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, Italian, African, Arab,
Andean, and Amazonic food.
Bird (Singapore), sculpture of
Oswaldo Guayasamín (1919 - 1999) from
represented with his painting style the feeling of the peoples of
Latin America highlighting social injustices in various parts of the
world. The Colombian
Fernando Botero (1932) is one of the greatest
exponents of painting and sculpture that continues still active and
has been able to develop a recognizable style of his own. For his
part, the Venezuelan
Carlos Cruz-Diez has contributed significantly to
contemporary art, with the presence of works around the world.
Currently several emerging South American artists are recognized by
international art critics: Guillermo Lorca —Chilean painter, Teddy
Cobeña —Ecuadorian sculptor and recipient of international
sculpture award in
France ) and Argentine artist Adrián Villar
Rojas —winner of the Zurich Museum Art Award among many others.
Sport in South America
Maracanã Stadium in Rio
de Janeiro ,
Brazil Panorama of the interior of the Maracanã
stadium during the closing ceremony of the
2014 FIFA World Cup
2014 FIFA World Cup
Atucha I Nuclear Power Plant , the first South-American nuclear power
A wide range of sports are played in the continent of South America,
with football (a/k/a soccer) being the most popular overall, while
baseball is the most popular in Venezuela.
Other sports include basketball , cycling , polo , volleyball ,
futsal , motorsports , rugby (mostly in
Argentina and Uruguay),
handball , tennis , golf , field hockey and boxing .
South America hosted its first
Olympic Games in
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro ,
Brazil in 2016 and will host the Youth
Olympic Games in
Buenos Aires ,
Argentina in 2018.
South America shares with
Europe supremacy over the sport of football
as all winners in
FIFA World Cup
FIFA World Cup history and all winning teams in the
FIFA Club World Cup
FIFA Club World Cup have come from these two continents.
the record at the
FIFA World Cup
FIFA World Cup with five titles in total. Argentina
Uruguay have two titles each. So far four South American nations
have hosted the tournament including the first edition in Uruguay
(1930). The other three were
Brazil (1950, 2014),
Chile (1962), and
South America is home to the longest running international football
Copa América , which has been regularly contested
Uruguay won the
Copa América a record 15 times,
Argentina in 2011 to reach 15 titles (they were
previously equal at 14 titles each during the 2011 Copa América).
Also, in South America, a multi-sport event, the South American Games
, are held every four years. The first edition was held in
La Paz in
1978 and the most recent took place in
Santiago in 2014.
Due to the diversity of topography and pluviometric precipitation
conditions, the region's water resources vary enormously in different
areas. In the
Andes , navigation possibilities are limited, except for
the Magdalena River,
Lake Titicaca and the lakes of the southern
Chile and Argentina.
Irrigation is an important factor for
agriculture from northwestern
Peru to Patagonia. Less than 10% of the
known electrical potential of the
Andes had been used until the
Brazilian Highlands has a much higher hydroelectric potential
than the Andean region and its possibilities of exploitation are
greater due to the existence of several large rivers with high margins
and the occurrence of great differences forming huge cataracts, such
as those of Paulo Afonso, Iguaçu and others. The
Amazon River system
has about 13,000 km of waterways, but its possibilities for
hydroelectric use are still unknown.
Most of the continent's energy is generated through hydroelectric
power plants , but there is also an important share of thermoelectric
and wind energy .
Argentina are the only South American
countries that generate nuclear power , each with two nuclear power
plants . In 1991 these countries signed a peaceful nuclear cooperation
agreement. Panoramic view of the
Itaipu Dam , the largest of
the world in energy production.
Stretch of the
Pan-American Highway in
Port of Callao in
La Paz cable car system in Bolivia
is home to both the longest and highest urban cable car network in the
South American transportation systems are still deficient, with low
kilometric densities. The region has about 1,700,000 km of highways
and 100,000 km of railways , which are concentrated in the coastal
strip, and the interior is still devoid of communication.
Only two railroads are continental: the Transandina, which connects
Buenos Aires , in
Valparaíso , in Chile, and the
Bolivia Railroad, which makes it the connection between the
port of Santos in
Brazil and the city of
Santa Cruz de la Sierra , in
Bolivia. In addition, there is the
Pan-American Highway , which
crosses the Andean countries from north to south, although some
stretches are unfinished.
Two areas of greater density occur in the railway sector: the
platinum network, which develops around the
Platine region , largely
belonging to Argentina, with more than 45,000 km in length; And the
Brazil network, which mainly serves the state of São Paulo
, state of
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro and
Minas Gerais .
stand out in the road sector. In addition to the modern roads that
extend through northern
Argentina and south-east and south of Brazil,
a vast road complex aims to link
Brasilia , the federal capital, to
the South, Southeast, Northeast and Northern regions of Brazil.
The Port of Callao is the main port of
South America has one
of the largest bays of navigable inland waterways in the world,
represented mainly by the
Amazon basin , the
Platine basin , the São
Francisco and the
Brazil having about 54,000 km
Argentina has 6,500 km and Venezuela, 1,200 km.
The two main merchant fleets also belong to
Brazil and Argentina. The
following are those of Chile, Venezuela,
Peru and Colombia. The
largest ports in commercial movement are those of
Buenos Aires ,
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro ,
Bahía Blanca ,
Recife , Salvador ,
Rio Grande ,
In South America, commercial aviation has a magnificent expansion
field, which has one of the largest traffic density lines in the
world, Rio de Janeiro-São Paulo, and large airports, such as
Congonhas , São Paulo-Guarulhos International and Viracopos (São
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro International and Santos Dumont (Rio de
Janeiro), Ezeiza (Buenos Aires),
Confins International Airport (Belo
Curitiba International Airport (Curitiba), Brasilia,
Caracas, Montevideo, Lima, Bogotá, Recife, Salvador, Salgado Filho
International Airport (Porto Alegre), Fortaleza, Manaus and Belém.
The main public transport in major cities is the bus. Many cities
also have a diverse system of metro and subway trains. The Santiago
subway is the largest network in South America, with 103 km, while
São Paulo subway is the largest in transportation, with more than
4.6 million passengers per day and was voted the best in the Americas
Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro was installed the first railroad of the continent,
in 1854. Today the city has a vast and diversified system of
metropolitan trains, integrated with buses and subway. Recently it was
also inaugurated in the city a Light Rail System called VLT , a small
electrical trams at low speed, while
São Paulo inaugurated its
monorail , the first of South America. In Brazil, an express bus
system called Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), which operates in several
cities, has also been developed.
Outline of South America
Bibliography of South America
Flags of South America
Latin America portal
* Geography portal
NOTES AND REFERENCES
^ CONTINENT MODEL: In some parts of the world
South America is
viewed as a subcontinent of the
Americas (a single continent in
these areas), for example Latin America, Latin Europe, and Iran. In
most of the countries with English as an official language, however,
it is considered a continent; see
Americas (terminology) .
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