South America also considered as a subcontinent of the Americas is a continent in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere with a small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. It is the fourth largest continent with an area of 6.8 million square miles. The population is the 5th amongst the 7 continents at nearly more than 420 million. Majority of the population live near the continent’s western or eastern coasts.
The long history of colonialism, the majority of South Americans speak Spanish. Indigenous people’s interaction with European conquerors and immigrants was the basis of the continent’s cultural and ethnic outlook. South America has been home to many interesting species of animals. The rainforests of Amazon has made this continent one of the most biodiverse. The export of manufactured goods and natural resources is what South America relies on. In terms of politics, all South American countries are presidential republics except for Peru which is semi-presidential republic and Suriname, a parliamentary republic.
Many diverse regions and climates contain the geography of South Africa. It is a continent forming the southern portion of the landmass of the Americas, south, and east of the Panama-Colombia border or south and east of the Panama Canal by some. This continent includes several islands most of which belong to countries within.
Geographically, South America’s structure is deceptively simple for a huge size landmass. It is often compared to a massive bowl owing to its flat interior almost ringed by mountains.
This continent is home to the world’s highest uninterrupted waterfall; Angel Falls in Venezuela; highest single drop waterfall Kaieteur Falls in Guyana; the largest river, the Amazon River; longest mountain range, which is the Andes; the driest non-polar place on Earth, which is the Atacama Desert; the largest rainforest, the Amazon rainforest; the highest capital city, La Paz, Bolivia; the highest commercially navigable lake in the world, which is Lake Titicaca; as well as the world’s southernmost permanently inhabited community, Puerto Toro, Chile.
Cities in South America
South America’s history of geology is summarized in three developmental stages that each corresponds to a major division in time. Precambrian Time characterized by a complex series of amalgamations of steady blocks of protocontinental crust called Cratons is the first stage. The second stage, the Paleozoic Era, cratons and material accreted to the formation first of the supercontinent Gondwana and the larger Pangea. The last stage, the present continental structure occurred in the Mesozoic and Cenozoic eras. This last stage includes the split-up of the subcontinents Gondwana and Pangea, the opening of the South Atlantic Ocean and the generation of the Andean cordillera.
As the most extensive part of this continent is in the equatorial zone, this region has more areas of equatorial plains than any other region. In its latitudes, winters are moderate and summers are warmer than in North America.
With over 420 million inhabitants and population growth to a rate of about 0.6% per year, there are still several areas of sparse demographics such as tropical forests, Atacama Desert and Icy portions of Patagonia. The inhabitants are formed by progenies of Europeans, Africans, and indigenous people. Mestizos presence varies in composition by region. Brazil also has a minor populace of Asians. Spanish and Portuguese with approximately 200 million speakers each are the most spoken languages in South America. While Spanish is the national language in most countries of South America, Brazil remains to have Portuguese as its national language.
The culture of South America stems from a various set of cultural traditions dating back to pre-Colombian civilizations and indigenous tribes. While many countries here were formed rather recently, indigenous tribes had long been established in this continent. Even before Spanish and Portuguese colonialists came. Large amounts if emigration has contributed to the continents rich culture. In cuisine, food varies with each region so there is something interesting to find in every country. Ancient civilizations to indigenous tribes have a wide variety of art with most cities having many museums to choose from. The European influence is also felt in South American architecture mostly in cities of Buenos Aires and in colonial towns.
Many significant countries from this continent rely on their source of income in Tourism as it has increasingly become active. The colorful and loud culture, natural wonders, historical sceneries contribute to why it attracts millions of tourists every year.