South America is the 4th largest continent according to land mass. It has an area of 17.6 million sq. km (17,832,000 km2). It is location: 12°27' north to 55°59' south latitude and 34°41' west to 81°2' west longitude. It is bounded by The Atlantic Ocean in the east, The Pacific Ocean in the west, The Panama Canal and Caribbean Sea in the north, and The Antarctic Ocean in the south. There are 12 countries with 4 territories in the region. It occupies 12% of the world's landmass. The Red Indians are the oldest natives of the continent.
The major rivers in the continent are The Amazon River, which is the biggest, widest and second longest river of the world, Parana River, San Francisco River, Orinoco River, Paraguay River, etc. The mountain ranges here are the Andes Mountain Range, which is the longest mountain range of the world that stretches 7,000 km nearly along the coast from north to south, the Brazilian Highland, the Guiana Island, Mt. Aconcagua, which is the highest peak in South America and has a height of 6960m, Mt. Cotopaxi, Mt. Khinbozaro, Mt. Corupuna, etc.
The Titicaca Lake is the largest lake at the highest altitude, 160 km, lies along the Peru-Bolivian border. The Atacama Desert is the driest place in the world. The Cape Horn is the wildest and stormiest place of the world. The Amazon forest is the largest rainforest of the world.
South America has some unique physical features. They are divided into three physical regions:
The region lies to the West of the continent. Andes Mountain Chain is the longest mountain chain of the world which lies in this region. It stretches about 7200 km from Venezuela in the north to the Southernmost part (Cape Horn) of Chile in the South. The altitude of the mountains decreases from north to south. The Atacama Desert also lies in this region. Similarly, Lake Titicaca, the largest fresh water and Navigable Lake, situated at the highest altitude also lies here. The major peaks are Mt. Aconcagua, Mt. Cotopaxi, Mt. Chimborazo, Coropuna, etc. is also located in this region.
The Central lowland lies in between Western Mountain Region and Eastern Highlands. It has covered almost half territory of South America. They are drained by river Orinoco in the North, river Amazon and its tributaries in the center, and Parana-Paraguay River has formed a fertile plain in the Pampas. It has provided irrigation facility to the Pampas Grassland for cultivation.
The Eastern Highlands consist of two major highlands. There are Guiana Highlands in the South and Brazilian Highland in the North-East. These Highlands are older than Andes. To the Southeast part of Brazilian Highlands, there lies a fertile plain. Major cities of Brazil are also located here.
The amazing facts of South America continent are given below:
The area of South America is