South America Overview

South America Overview

South America, the fourth largest continent in the world, the southern part of the double continent America, with 17.85 million km 2 and around 397 million residents

It is surrounded to the west by the Pacific Ocean, to the south by Drake Strait, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean and to the north by the Caribbean Sea. The continent is connected to North America via the land bridge of Central America.

Geographical breakdown: The surface structure shows a rough breakdown into the high mountains of the west ( Andes), the lowlands in the middle and the mountains in the east. The Andes stretch over 7,000 km along the west coast and reach their highest peak in Aconcagua at 6,962 m. The lowlands of the middle are shaped by the Orinoco, Amazon and Rio de la Plata as basin landscapes and drained to the Atlantic. The mountains in the east (Guiana and Brazilian Mountains) consist of primary rock and reach heights of 3,000 m.

Climate and vegetation: Climatically, most of the continent belongs to the tropics. The north is under the influence of the trade winds, the south of Chile and western Patagonia are in the west wind zone. The middle west coast (as in Africa) has a desert climate. The climate in the Andes is determined by the altitude.

The vegetation in the Amazon region has the largest forest reservoir on earth. It goes north and south with periodic dry seasons in savannas. These include the “Llanos” (river plains) of the Orinoco, the Campos of central Brazil and the Gran Chaco. The grasslands of the pampas adjoin this park landscape. The even drier southern tip only allows shrub steppes with tufted grasses. The west side of South America has tropical rainforests in the north, then semi-desert and desert, and finally hard deciduous plants in central Chile like in the European Mediterranean countries.

South America has a diverse animal world: anteater, sloth, jaguar, tapir, capybara, armadillo and guanaco are typical for mammals, and for birds, crocodiles, condors, rheas and many hummingbird and parrot species. Crocodiles are represented by several species, with the freshwater fish the predatory fish (piranhas) are among the special features.

The population is shaped by modern immigration. The indigenous Indian population is strongly pushed back by whites and blacks, only in the Andes of Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador has it been able to assert itself. The Spanish and Portuguese made South America an area of Romance languages and cultures (“Latin America”). Because of the slavery for the plantation economy, Brazil in particular still has a high proportion of blacks. The 19th century saw strong European immigration flows BC. a. to Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil and Chile.

The economy shows that most South American countries are heavily dependent on raw material exports according to Countryaah. Coffee is the leading cultivated and exported product, followed by cocoa, bananas, sugar cane and citrus fruits. The maize and wheat production in the Argentine pampas is also important, along with tobacco, soy and cotton. The abundant mineral raw materials are not generating the desired income due to the constant drop in prices, and oil production (Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina) also did not bring the expected rates of increase.

The industry shows a very uneven distribution. B. 80% of the industrial production of Brazil to the city triangle São Paulo – Belo Horizonte – Rio de Janeiro; 75% of the industry in Uruguay and Argentina is concentrated around Montevideo and the Buenos Aires region. One attempted to counteract this with large-scale colonization projects; their ecological consequences (destruction of forests, greenhouse effect ) are incalculable today.

The transport system is characterized by the transatlantic road on the west coast (Panamericana), the large port cities on the Atlantic with their hinterland connections and the partially navigable power systems. Air traffic is of increasing importance.

History: The earliest settlement in South America is around 30,000 BC. Proven. Regionally different cultures developed; Agriculture and pottery were from the 3rd millennium BC. Known. In the 1st millennium BC The first Indian civilizations emerged in the Andes with cities characterized by monumental buildings. Goldsmithing and pottery were highly developed. In the 3rd century AD, high cultures emerged in Bolivia and Peru, which from the 10th century onwards became the empire of Incas belonged.

In the 16th century, the Europeans began to conquer South America. The Spaniards were the first to establish colonial empires, such as the Viceroyalty of Peru with its capital Lima in 1543, New Granada in 1739, which included today’s Ecuador, Colombia, Panama and Venezuela, and in 1776 Rio de la Plata, which is now Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia managed. Brazil was conquered by the Portuguese. The aspirations for independence in the individual countries began (with the support of the USA) in the 19th century.

South America Overview