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Geography of South America – The Ultimate Free Guide 2021

The Geography of South America contains many diverse regions and climates. Geographically, South America is generally considered a continent forming the southern portion of the landmass of the Americas, south and east of the Colombia–Panama border by most authorities, or south and east of the Panama Canal by some. South and North America are sometimes considered a single continent or super continent, while constituent regions are infrequently considered subcontinents.

  • South America is a continent entirely in the Western Hemisphere and mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere.
  • South America occupies the southern portion of the Americas. 
  • South America is home to the world’s highest uninterrupted waterfall, Angel Falls in Venezuela.
  • Brazil is the largest country in South America, covering approx. 47.3% of the continent’s land area and encompassing around half of the continent’s population.

Geography of South America


Map of South America with Countries and Capitals

Map of South America with Countries and Capitals
Fig: ontheworldmap.com

Region:

  • Patagonia
  • Andes Mountains
  • Brazilian Coastline
  • The Amazon
  • The Pantanal

Area:

17,840,000 km2

Population:

423,581,078

Population Density:

21.4/km2

Border:

  • Caribbean Sea to the northwest and north,
  • The Atlantic Ocean to the northeast, east, and Southeast, and the Pacific Ocean to the west.
  • Northwest by the Isthmus of Panama.

Demonym:

South America

Geographical Coordinates:

8.7832° S, 55.4915° W

World Region or Continent:

South America

General Terrain:

South America can be divided into three physical regions:

  • Mountains and highlands,
  • River basins, and
  • Coastal plains.

Mountains and coastal plains generally run in a north-south direction, while highlands and river basins generally run in an east-west direction.

Geographical Low Point:

The Valdés Peninsula

Geographical High Point:

 Andes, Aconcagua.

Climate:

The climate of South America can be broadly divided into seven different climate types:

  • Desert – Warm to high temperatures with very little rainfall.
  • Grassland – Hot summers and cold winters with above average rainfall.
  • Deciduous forest – Four distinct seasons with warm summers and cold, wet winters. The trees shed their leaves in autumn.
  • Rainforest – High temperatures and high rainfall throughout the year.
  • Savanna – This region has very high temperatures all year and rain during the summer season only.
  • Mediterranean – Warm to high temperatures with rainfall in the autumn and winter months.
  • Alpine/mountain – Cold, windy and snowy. It is winter from October to May with temperatures below freezing, while summer is from June to September where the temperature can reach 15’C.

Major cities:

  • São Paulo
  • Lima
  • Bogotá
  • Rio de Janeiro
  • Santiago
  • Caracas
  • Buenos Aires
  • Salvador
  • Brasília
  • Fortaleza

Major Land forms:

  • Coasts and Islands.
  • The Andes Mountains.
  • The Guiana Highlands and Angel Falls.
  • The Llanos (Plains of Venezuela)
  • The Amazon River lowlands.
  • The Brazilian Highlands.
  • The Pantanal.
  • The Gran Chaco.

Major Rivers and Lakes:

Major Rivers:

  • Amazon River
  • Parana River
  • Orinoco River
  • Rio de la Plata
  • Paraguay River
  • Rio Negro River

Dependencies:

  • Ascension Island
  • Bouvet Island
  • Falkland Islands
  • South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

Natural Resources:

  • Gold,
  • Silver,
  • Copper,
  • Iron ore,
  • Tin, and
  • Petroleum.

Major Geographical Features:

Biomes & Ecosystems:

7 Biomes include

  • Tropical rainforests,
  • Temperate forests,
  • Deserts,
  • Tundra,
  • Taiga
  • Grasslands and
  • Savanna.

Topography:

Topographic relief in South America is dominated by the Andes Mountains, which extend all along the Pacific Coast. These mountains are created primarily by the convergence of the Nazca and South American tectonic plates.

Oceans:

Atlantic Oceans – East,
Pacific Ocean – West

Islands:

  • Chiloé Island
  • Ilha Grande
  • San Andrés (island)
  • Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego
  • Navarino Island
  • Isla Margarita

Mountain Ranges:

  • Aconcagua
  • Ojos del Salado
  • Huascaran
  • Cotopaxi volcano
  • Mercedario
  • Chimborazo

Countries of South America :

  • Argentina,
  • Bolivia,
  • Brazil,
  • Chile,
  • Colombia,
  • Ecuador,
  • Falkland Islands,
  • French Guiana,
  • Guyana,
  • Paraguay,
  • Peru,
  • South
  • Georgia
  • South Sandwich Islands,
  • Suriname,
  • Uruguay, and
  • Venezuela.

Facts about South America:

  • There are 12 countries in South America
  • Some indigenous tribes have no contact with modern civilization
  • More than 300 languages are spoken on the continent
  • The Amazon Rainforest is the world’s most biodiverse place
  • It used to be connected to Africa
  • La Paz is the highest capital in the world

Map of South America:

Map of South America
Fig: ontheworldmap.com
Map of Central South America
Fig:ontheworldmap.com

See Also:

World Map

References:

Wikipedia

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