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South American Continent Map

Introduction about South America

South America is a continent situated entirely in the western hemisphere and mostly in the southern hemisphere, bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east by the Atlantic Ocean; North America and the Caribbean Sea lie to the northwest.

As part of the Americas 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 New World unknown to Europeans.

South America has an area of 17,840,000 km2 (6,890,000 sq mi), or almost 3.5% of the Earth's surface. As of 2005, its population was estimated at more than 371,000,000. It ranks fourth in area and fifth in population.

It is divided politically into 12 independent countries—Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, and Venezuela—and the overseas department of French Guiana. The continent extends c.4,750 mi (7,640 km) from Punta Gallinas, Colombia, in the north to Cape Horn, Chile, in the south. At its broadest point, near where it is crossed by the equator, the continent extends c.3,300 mi (5,300 km) from east to west.

South America is connected to North America by the Isthmus of Panama; it is washed on the N by the Caribbean Sea, on the E by the Atlantic Ocean, and on the W by the Pacific Ocean.

Climate of South America

South America has a wide variety of climates. They range from the dry desert conditions of northern Chile to the heavy rains along the windswept southwestern coast of the continent. Steamy heat characterizes the tropical rain forest of the Amazon basin, while icy cold air surrounds the lofty, snow-capped Andean peaks. In general, however, most of the continent has warm weather the year around. Only in the high Andes is it always cold.

The hottest weather in South America occurs in Argentina's Gran Chaco, where the temperature reaches 110 degrees F. (43 degrees C). Temperatures in the Amazon region generally range from 70 degrees to 90 degrees F. (21 degrees to 32 degrees C) and rarely reach 100 degrees F. (38 degrees C). South of the equator, summer lasts from late December to late March, and winter runs from late June to late September. In the far south of Argentina, the temperature generally ranges from 32 degrees F. (0 degrees C) in July to 60 degrees F. (16 degrees C) in January, but it has dropped to as low as -27 degrees F. (-33 degrees C).

Brazil's northeastern regions are well-known for wet, tropical climates that spread to parts of the northwest as well, but much of the surrounding areas, such as Columbia, Venezuela and Bolivia in the north and Chile and central Argentina to the south have hot, dry climates that dramatically opose the damp rainforests that dominate Brazil's Belem and Amara. To the very south the chilly, polar temperatures of Antarctica freeze the southern tips of Argentina.

Countries in South America

Antigua and Barbuda
British Virgin Islands
Cayman Islands
Dominican Republic
El Salvador
French Guiana
Puerto Rico
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Lucia
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Trinidad and Tobago
Turks and Caicos