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What is South America?

We explain what South America is, the countries that make up this region and its capitals. In addition, its economy and the climates it presents.

  1. What is South America?

When talking about South America, South America or South America, reference is made to the region of this continent that has the line of the equator down , and that constitutes a single subcontinental block other than North America, Central America and the Caribbean Islands .

South America is located between the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Antarctic Ocean to the south. Its total area is 18.2 million square kilometers , equivalent to 49% of the entire Americas and 13% of the world’s continental surface, also housing 6.5% of the total world population, in a set of twelve countries. The latter are organized into three major geographical-cultural regions: the South American Caribbean, the Southern Cone and the South American Andean region.

Culturally speaking, South America  is predominantly Hispanic , that is, the result of the colonization of the Spanish Empire of the American lands, with the exception of Brazil, former colony (and later kingdom) of Portugal, and of British Guyana, French Guyana and Suriname , former colonies of the British Empire and the Kingdom of France. Some geographical perspectives also include the islands of Trinidad and Tobago (former English colony) and Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire (former colonies of the Netherlands).

Before the Spanish conquest of the continent, South America was the scene of various pre-Columbian cultures, among which the Charrúas, Tiahuanacos, Paracas, Nazcas, Mochicas, Tehuelches, Arahuacos and especially the Incas, which founded one of the great American aboriginal empires, stood out. settled in the Andean region until its traumatic encounter with the conquerors in the 16th century.

Subsequently, most of the continent under Spanish rule was divided into three large viceroyalties: the Viceroyalty of New Granada, the Viceroyalty of Peru and the subsequent Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata. During the 19th century this territory was the scene of the bloody and long Wars of Independence, in which military heroes such as the Venezuelan Simón Bolívar and the Argentine José de San Martín, among many others, played a key role. The South American countries achieved their independence from Spain at different dates of the 19th century, while Brazil did the same as Portugal in 1822.

Today, South America  is a subcontinent characterized by its enormous cultural , geographic and ethnic diversity , as well as its unequal living standards and economic production.

  1. South American countries and their capitals

South America is composed of twelve countries, which are:

country Capital
Argentina Buenos Aires
Bolivia Peace
Brazil Brasilia
Chile Santiago
Colombia Bogota
Ecuador Quito
Guyana Georgetown
Paraguay Assumption
Peru Lime
Surinam Paramaribo
Uruguay Montevideo
Venezuela Caracas
  1. Most populated cities in South America

South America
São Paolo (Brazil) is the most populous city in South America.

The most populated cities in South America are:

  • ã o Paolo  (Brazil) with 22,672,582 inhabitants in 2010.
  • Buenos Aires  (Argentina) with 10,875,587 inhabitants in 2007.
  • Rio de Janeiro  (Brazil) with 10,838,752 inhabitants in 2010.
  • Lima  (Peru)  with 9,283,771 inhabitants in 2005.
  • Bogotá  (Colombia) with 10,555,058 inhabitants in 2008.
  • Santiago  (Chile) with 6,428,590 inhabitants in 2010.
  • Belo Horizonte  (Brazil) with 4,035,194 inhabitants in 2008.
  • Caracas  (Venezuela) with 3,923,959 inhabitants in 2011.
  1. South American Economy

South America
Argentina is one of the agricultural colossi of South America.

South America presents a gigantic economic diversity , which in turn generates extremely different models of life among themselves and very different societies economically and socially.

On the one hand there are agricultural colossi such as Argentina, Brazil and, to a lesser extent, Paraguay, whose main export products are soybeans, oranges, sugar cane, coffee, mate and lemon. On the other, livestock in Uruguay and Argentina is also an activity of considerable international dimensions.

Mining is another great economic activity of the subcontinent. The oil sector is divided between Venezuela, Ecuador and Colombia , the first being a world-class oil producer with the largest oil reserves on the planet, while Bolivia subsists on the basis of the export of natural gas and, to a lesser extent, oil .

Finally, there is the Chilean case, the world’s largest producer of copper, but also lithium and iodine, or Peru, the world’s second largest producer of silver. Brazil and Venezuela are also large mining producers.

The tourism , gastronomy and floriculture are spread in South America secondary industries and industrialized manufacturing activities in the Southern Cone and especially in Brazil, the sixth economy in the world. The South American countries have partnered with each other through Mercosur , an initiative of united local markets, founded in 1991.

  1. South America climates

South America
The Venezuelan Caribbean presents a tropical climate.

Another very diverse aspect of the South American subcontinent is its climates , which are divided into three broad strips:

  • Tropical or subequatorial . With warm temperatures, humidity and huge record of annual rainfall, especially in the coastal regions of the Venezuelan and Colombian Caribbean, as well as the Brazilian north, and the Pacific coasts of Ecuador and the Peruvian north. This climate remains south along the  Amazon Rainforest , becoming increasingly temperate. Some of the wettest regions on the planet are in this strip, such as Chocó (Colombia, Ecuador and Peru).
  • Temperate or intertropical . Present in the central regions of the Southern Cone (Argentina, Chile, Uruguay) and southern Brazil, it has a mild climate that becomes Mediterranean towards the center of Chile. As it descends to the Argentine or Chilean Patagonia, the climate becomes temperate cold, humid in the Andean mountain range and dry in the eastern zone.
  • Mountain climate . Typical of the Andes mountain range, decreasing in temperature as the height increases, and presenting enormous thermal variations but drastic decrease in precipitation, as in the Andean Highlands (northern Argentina, Bolivia and northern Chile).

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