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South American Countries

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Description : Map showing the South American countries with the major cities in South America. Disclaimer

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South America, the fourth largest continent in the world, consists of twelve independent countries and three major territories. Culturally influenced by Spanish and Portuguese explorers and colonial rule, South America has rich traditions of art, literature, and music. This multifaceted continent has a history that dates back over a millennium. Economically, most South American countries have shown progress and growth in the past few of decades. The tourism industry has been an important economic factor in many South American countries.

Countries of South America and their capitals
S.N. Country and Territory Area in Sq. Km. Capital
1 Argentina 2,766,890 Buenos Aires
2 Bolivia 1,098,580 La Paz and Sucre
3 Brazil 8,514,877 Brasília
4 Chile 756,950 Santiago
5 Colombia 1,138,910 Bogotá
6 Ecuador 283,560 Quito
7 Falkland Islands (UK) 12,173 Port Stanley
8 French Guiana (France) 91,000 Cayenne (Préfecture)
9 Guyana 214,999 Georgetown
10 Paraguay 406,750) Asunción
11 Peru 1,285,220 Lima
12 South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands (UK) 3,093 King Edward Point
13 Suriname 163,270 Paramaribo
14 Uruguay 176,220 Montevideo
15 Venezuela 916,445 Caracas

Economy of South America
South American countries have recently shown tremendous economic development. Countries like Brazil, Argentina, Columbia, Peru, Chile, and Uruguay have had maximum growth even during the global recession (2008-2009); the South American countries have shown great resilience in comparison to other nations in the world. South America's GDP (PPP) as of 2010 was $3.5 trillion.
Agriculture and manufacturing industries are supporting the economies of many South American countries. Some of the major agricultural products are soybeans, coffee, rice, sugarcane, wheat, and corn. South America's mineral resources have also helped support the rapid growth of economy. Some major natural resources are petroleum, gold, iron ore, silver, and copper. Brazil has the sixth largest economy in the world and the largest economy in South America, but it is growing at a slower pace. Brazil also leads the continent in export of goods.

South America's economy faces some major challenges. In many countries of South America, extreme inequality between the rich and poor is a major concern. In fact the gap between the rich and the poor is highest in South American countries in comparison with other nations of the world.

South American countries have two trade blocs: Mercosur and the Andean Community of Nations. These trade blocks help the participating countries strengthen their economic ties.

Quick Facts about South America
Official NameSouth America
Origin of Name Amerigo Vespucci
International Divisions12 independent countries and three territories
Population387,500,000 (2011 est.)
Major LanguagesPortuguese, Spanish, English, Dutch, French
Major ReligionChristianity (Roman Catholicism)

South America Timeline
5000-1200BCAsian hunters cross the frozen Bering Strait on their way from Asia to Alaska and then move south.
900-300 BCAgricultural practices are developed in the highlands of Peru
1400-1550The Inca Empire spreads across Bolivia, Chile, Peru, Northern Argentina, and Ecuador
1492Christopher Columbus discovers the New World (the Americas)
1494Portugal and Spain sign the Treaty of Tordesillas, dividing the land into two sections. Spain controlled the western half, and Portugal controlled the east.
1500Amerigo Vespucci recognizes the New World as a separate continent. He is credited for writing his narratives about the voyage and discoveries with great passion and art. The Americas are named after him.
1533Spanish Army led by Francisco Pizarro captures much of Inca territory
1535Peru and Lima are founded
1536Argentina is established
1537Paraguay is founded
1693Gold is discovered in Brazil
1777Administrative units are established in Venezuela
1818Chile gains independence from Spain
1821Peru gains independence from Spain
1822Brazil gains independence from Portugal
1945Peru holds free election
1946Venezuela holds free election for the first time.
1983First free elections are held in Bolivia
2008Ecuador adopts a new constitution

Last Updated : October 22, 2014

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