South America is a part of the American continent traversed by the equator, with most of its area in the Southern Hemisphere. South America is situated between the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean. Like North America, South America is named after Amerigo Vespucci, who was the first European to
suggest that the Americas were not the East Indies, but a previously
undiscovered New World.
With an area of 17,818,508 km2 and a population of 355,070,540, South America ranks fourth in each category, after Eurasia, Africa, and North America. The classification of its geographic location is subject to dispute, as in some non-English speaking regions of the world, the Americas are a continent and North, Central and South America are its subcontinents.
In English-speaking and certain other regions of the world, North and South America are considered to be continents and their union is referred to as the supercontinent of the Americas. The classification given to South America, as a subcontinent in a continent or a continent in a supercontinent, depends entirely on regional preferences. It became attached to North America only recently (geologically speaking) with the formation of the Isthmus of Panama some 3 million years ago, which resulted in the Great American Interchange.
The Andes, likewise a comparatively young and seismically restless mountain range, run down the western edge of the continent; the land to the east of the Andes is largely tropical rain forest, the vast Amazon River basin. The continent also contains drier regions such as Patagonia and the extremely arid Atacama desert. The region of South America also includes various islands, most of which belong to countries on the continent. The Caribbean territories are grouped with North America. The South American nations that border the Caribbean Sea - including Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana - are also known as Caribbean South America.
Major natural resources are copper, iron ore, tin and oil. South America is home to many interesting species of animals including parrots, tarantulas, snakes, and mammals.
The largest country in South America by far, in both area and population, is Brazil followed by Argentina. Regions in South America include the Andean States, the Guianas, the Southern Cone, and Eastern South America.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Rio de Janiero, Brazil
Sao Paulo, Brazil
United States |
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