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South America, fourth largest that the world’s continents. The is the southern portion of the landmass usually referred to as the brand-new World, the west Hemisphere, or just the Americas. The continent is compact and also roughly triangle in shape, being broad in the north and also tapering come a point—Cape Horn, Chile—in the south.


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Is the funding of Brazil well-known for the architecture? Is Argentina a large country? Sort reality from fiction—and learn about climate, capitals, and more—in this trip through south America.

Relatively couple of islands in salt the continent, other than in the south. These encompass the glaciated seaside archipelagoes of Argentina and Chile. The Falkland (Malvinas) archipelago are eastern of southern Argentina. Come the north, the West Indies stretch native Trinidad to Florida, yet those islands typically are associated with phibìc America. That the remainder, most are little oceanic islands turn off the shores of south America, consisting of the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, in the Pacific Ocean.

South America has actually a full area of around 6,878,000 square mile (17,814,000 square km), or approximately one-eighth of the land surface of Earth. Its greatest north-south level is about 4,700 miles, from allude Gallinas, Colombia, to Cape Horn, when its best east-west extent is part 3,300 miles, indigenous Cape Branco, Brazil, to allude Pariñas, Peru. In ~ 22,831 feet (6,959 metres) above sea level, mount Aconcagua, in Argentina, close to the border v Chile, is not just the continent’s highest allude but also the highest elevation in the west Hemisphere. The Valdés Peninsula, top top the southeastern shore of Argentina, has the lowest point, in ~ 131 feet (40 metres) below sea level. In relation to the area, the continent’s coastline—some 15,800 miles in length—is especially short.


The name America is derived from the of the Italian navigator Amerigo Vespucci, one of the earliest european explorers the the new World. The ax America originally was used only to southern America, yet the designation quickly was applied to the entire landmass. Due to the fact that Mexico and main America re-superstructure an Iberian heritage v nearly every one of South America, this entire region frequently is group under the name Latin America.

South America’s geologic structure consists of two dissymmetric parts. In the larger, eastern portion are discovered a number of stable shields developing highland regions, be separated by huge basins (including the substantial Amazon basin). The western part is occupied almost entirely through the Andes Mountains. The Andes—formed together the southern American key drifted westward and also forced the oceanic plate to the west under it—constitute a large backbone along the entire Pacific coastline of the continent. The containers east of the Andes and also between the eastern highlands have been filled with big quantities the sediment washed down by the continent’s good rivers and their tributaries.

No various other continent—except Antarctica—penetrates so far to the south. Back the northern part of south America extends phibìc of the Equator and four-fifths that its landmass is situated within the tropics, it also reaches subantarctic latitudes. Lot of the high Andes lie in ~ the tropics however include substantial zones of warm or cold climate in the vicinity the the Equator—a circumstance the is unique. The good range in elevation produces an unparalleled diversity the climatic and also ecological zones, i m sorry is probably the most prominent characteristic of southern American geography.

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The original inhabitants of south America are thought to have descended native the very same Asiatic peoples who migrated to phibìc America from Siberia during the most recent (Wisconsin) ice cream age. Few of these peoples, however, endured the come of europeans after 1500, most succumbing to disease or mix with human being of European and also (especially in Brazil) afri origin. Some parts of the continent are now industrialized, with contemporary cities, yet the people in rural areas still monitor an agricultural means of life. The wide range of mineral products and renewable resources is considerable, however economic breakthrough in most of the continent lags behind the much more industrially advanced regions that the world. Nonetheless, concern has arisen about the promptly increasing and often damaging exploitation of these resources.

For discussion of individual countries of the continent, see specific articles through name—e.g., Argentina, Brazil, and also Venezuela. For discussion of major cities that the continent, see the articles Buenos Aires, Caracas, Lima, Rio de Janeiro, and also São Paulo. For conversation of the aboriginal peoples the the continent, see the articles South American Indian; and pre-Columbian civilizations. Connected topics are questioned in the posts Latin America, background of, and also Latin American literature.


Selected human being Heritage website in southern America site* nation note
*The assignment or styling that place-names in this table might differ indigenous those given on the people Heritage List; in addition, some place-names stand for one or much more constituent parts of larger human being Heritage sites.
Arequipa Peru colonial architecture
Brasília Brazil urban planning and architecture
Cartagena Colombia early american port, fortresses, and monuments
Chan Chan Peru damages of pre-Inca Chimú capital
Colonia del Sacramento Uruguay Portuguese and Spanish colonial design
Córdoba Argentina Jesuit institutions and also estates
Coro Venezuela Spanish, Dutch, and also local style
Cuzco Peru Inca and colonial architecture
Darién Panama nationwide park, rainforests, and wetlands
Easter Island Chile huge sculptures
Galapagos islands Ecuador national park, distinctive ecosystem
Huascarán, mount Peru montane national park
Iguaçu (Iguazú) Brazil and also Argentina national parks, waterfalls, and subtropical tropical
Lima Peru historic city centre
Los Glaciares Argentina national park, glacial lakes, and mountains
Los Katíos Colombia national park, rainforests, and wetlands
Machu Picchu Peru Inca damages
Nazca lines Peru comprehensive geoglyphs
Pantanal Brazil freshwater wetland ecosystem
Potosí Bolivia colonial industrial city
Quito Ecuador early american city center
Salvador Brazil historic early american centre
Tiwanaku Bolivia pre-Columbian ruins
Valdés Peninsula Argentina seals, whales