South America

South America Quick Facts

Land Area: 6,888,000 (mi²) / 15,539,928 (km²)

Population: 422,500,000

Largest City: São Paulo, Brazil

Number of Countries: 12


South America is considered to be the wilder sister amongst the two Americas. Nestled peacefully between two oceans on two sides (the Pacific and the Atlantic) and another on its northwest (the Caribbean Sea), South America is the land which has it all.

From the largest river, to the biggest rainforest, to the highest peaks in the world (outside Asia), the world’s tallest waterfalls, cosy islands to vacation in, long, sandy beaches, and several other stunning tourist attractions, South America really is the land that has everything that a traveller could ask for.

South America is the fourth largest continent out of the 7 continents in the world and holds the fifth largest value in terms of population. South America is also known to be the home of several long-lost civilizations. This makes the subcontinent of South America such a hot spot for tourists to visit, especially those who are fascinated by the history and culture of South America.

History

South America was primarily home to the Incas who were the natives of this land. Many tourists and trekkers from all over the world visit South America for a hike down the Inca Trails; the long lost empire of the native Incas. Soon after, around the 16th century, the Europeans came to take over their land, bringing along with them their people, their culture, and their cuisines. Eventually, the Native Americans lost their land to those from Spain and Portugal, who brought with them many negative impacts as well.

The 19th century saw South America surviving through tough, grueling wars which finally led to several independent countries emerging; 12 of them as we know of today.

Geography

The subcontinent of South America is cozily nestled between the Pacific Ocean to its west, the Atlantic Ocean to its east, and the Caribbean Sea to its northeast. Up north, you will find South America still attached to its sister, North America by a thin land resembling an uncut umbilical cord. South America can boast of several stupendous sights which it holds, such as the largest river in the world (by volume) which is the Amazon, the longest mountain range; the Andes, the highest most spectacular waterfall in the world; The Angel Falls and the driest region of land in the world; the Atacama desert. The largest, most densely populated rainforest in the world; the Amazon rainforest lies in South America as well; abode to several exotic species of birds, reptiles, snakes, insects, and animals. Some of the animals which are especially found in this rainforest and are a popular catch for world photographers and nature travelers alike are the anaconda, the jaguar, the tapir, piranhas, and llamas.

South America Map

South America Map

Climate

Close to the equator, the major part of South America experiences tropical climate which is characterized by large amounts of heat, humidity, and rainfall. Mostly, you will experience warm or even hot climates in South America. However, as you move north or southwards from the equator, the amount of rainfall decreases and humidity levels reduce.

The peaks of South America stretching from Venezuela to Chile experience dry, cold climates, leaving the peaks beautifully snow clad all year long. These peaks become quite an interesting and popular tourist spot for adrenaline junkies who wish to try out all kinds of winter, snow sports here.

Language

Even though originally no one from South America was Spanish speaking, currently, it is the official language of the subcontinent. However, in Brazil, the Portuguese influence is seen to shine brighter than the Spanish influence, thus making Portuguese the official language of Brazil.

If you travel throughout other parts of the subcontinent, you will find several locales speaking in the dialect of English, French and even Dutch.

Economy

The economy of the sub-continent of South America comprises of 6% of the entire world population. Most of the major economic activities in South America consist of agriculture, forestry, mining, and industry. Brazil is the biggest economy of all the country, however, it is also the worst economy owing to several factors.

Cuisine

South America has been bombarded by ethnic fusions, making it a hot plate for a mixed variety of cuisines. Native American, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and South East Asian cuisines have a lot of influence on the kind of local food you will find in this subcontinent.

The abundance of plains in South America makes it an excellent base for growing crops such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, grains, rice, beans, wheat, etc. However, there is a strong influence of carnivores as well, so a lot of meat filled recipes.

Since there is an abundance of forests and rainforests, you will also find the locals enjoying their fair share of fruits such as bananas, mango, guava, papaya, pineapple and many other tasty local fruits.

However, if you move on to the street foods, you will find a strong influence of different kinds of cultures in their food. Spain and their cuisine have a very strong influence, with many of their traditional cuisines revolving around rice, maize, wheat, meats, and fish. Street food is something you will find in abundance in South America; however, it also has its fair share of gourmet restaurants and top class chefs.

Tourism

South America is a travelers paradise; all the way down to the deepest river bodies to explore to sandy, stunning beaches, to some of the highest peaks to soar, a sizzling nightlife, busy cities and so much more.

  • Machu Picchu– Your trip to South America would be incomplete without a travel to the lost Inca city of Machu Picchu. The spectacular archaeological structure with a rich background and history is simply awe-inspiring.
  • Lake Titicaca– The spectacular views of Lake Titicaca and the bright Milky way over your head after nightfall is a sight you simply cannot miss.
  • The Amazon river– Find out for yourself why the largest river body in the world is so striking to locals and tourists alike.
  • Rio De Janerio– There is just something so unique and striking about Rio, once you see it, you will take a piece of it back with you.

Interesting Facts

  1. South America is home to some of the biggest natural wonders of the world; such as the highest waterfalls, largest rivers, and largest rainforest in the world.
  2. 40% of the world’s animal species are found in South America.
  3. In Brazil alone, over 150 languages are spoken.
  4. The smallest country in South America is called Suriname, the largest being Brazil.
  5. 5 of the top 50 largest cities in the world are in South America
  6. The Atacama Desert in Chile is the driest place on earth, often going without rainfall for four years.
  7. The world’s smallest orchid in the world was discovered in South America.

These interesting facts about South America will help you gain more knowledge about this big, beautiful sub-continent of America. The next time anybody asks you about South America, you will be able to show off your knowledge about the various facts of South America simply by reading this detailed, fun article on South America!