South America

Subject: Social Studies and Population Education

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South America is the fourth largest continent in the world with an area of 17,819,000 which is just 12% of the world's total area. This note provides us the brief description about physical features and socio-economic life of South America.
South America

South America is the fourth largest continent in the world with an area of 17,819,000 which is just 12% of the world's total area. It extends from 120N to 560S latitude and longitudes from 350W to 810W. Pacific Ocean lies to the west and Atlantic lies to the east. The Panama Isthmus lies to the north -west while the Caribbean Sea in the north.

The population of South America is about 300 million that counts 6% of the world's total.

List of South American Countries with their capital cities

Country Capital City
Brazil Brasilia
Argentina Buenos Aires
Chile Santiago
Paraguay Asuncion
Bolivia Lapaz
Colombia Bogota
Uruguay Montevideo
Ecuador Quito
Peru Lima
Venezuela Caracas
Suriname Paramaribo
Guyana Georgetown

Physical divisions

The Andes Mountain ranges: It stretches north to south along the western coast. Mt. Aconcagua (6960m) lies in this range.

Lowlands: They lie between the mountain ranges of the Andes and Eastern Highlands. They are three in number, namely the Orinoco Valley, Amazon Basin and the lowlands in Uruguay, Paraguay, Parana and Salvador.
The Eastern Highlands: They are made up of Guyana Highlands and Brazilian Highlands.
River: Amazon is the biggest river in South America. The Orinoco and the Magdalena are also some of the important highlands.

Climate and Natural Vegetation

The climate of this continent is affected by latitude, Andes Mountain range, wind and the seas and ocean currents.

The Amazon Basin has equatorial climate. There are high temperature and heavy rainfall throughout the year. Atacama desert is hot and dry. Andes are always covered with snow.

South America has different types of vegetation. There are dense and thick rain forests in the Amazon Valley. Desert consists of a cactus and thorny bushes. Llanos and Campos They are the grasslands found in South America.


The Red Indians are the original inhabitants of this region. People migrated to this place from East Asia. There are European people residing as well and they are more advanced than the original Red Indians. Christianity is the major religion. HDI is not satisfactory in most of the countries.

Comparison of Economic and social life of people living in South America and North America

North American people are highly educated and skilled whereas the people of South America are not as educated and innovative as those of North America. Human development index is high in North American countries rather than South American countries.

Things to remember
  • South America is the fourth largest continent in the world with an area of 17,819,000
  • The climate of South America is affected by latitude, Andes Mountain range, wind and the seas and ocean currents.
  • The Red Indians are the original inhabitants in this region.
  • It includes every relationship which established among the people.
  • There can be more than one community in a society. Community smaller than society.
  • It is a network of social relationships which cannot see or touched.
  • common interests and common objectives are not necessary for society.
Videos for South America
Countries of the world -South America with Capital Cities
Geography of Latin America Overview
Overview of Climate and Vegetation in Latin America
Rivers of the Sun - Amazonian Basin - part1
The Most Beautiful Places In World-South America
Weird & Wonderful Animals -Wild South America - BBC
Questions and Answers

Selves are the area of vastly covered equatorial rainforest in the Amazon basin of South America.

The three major physical divisions of South America are:

  1. The Andes Mountain
  2. The Central Plains
  3. The Eastern Highlands

The name two big countries situated in South America are Brazil and Argentina.

Calama in Atacama Desert is the driest place in the world.

The amazing facts of South America continent are given below:

  1. The largest mountain chain in the world the Andes stretches nearly 7000 km from north to south of this continent.
  2. The highest lake of the world Lake Titicaca is located at the latitude of 2,812 m.
  3. The largest rainforest is that of the Amazon Basin in Brazil.
  4. The highest waterfall in the world is the 979 m high Angel Falls in Venezuela.
  5. The wildest, stormiest stretch of sea is Cape Horn at the southern tip of the continent.
  6. The biggest tortoise, 1.5 m long, live on the Galapagos Islands.

The people of South America adopt agriculture and trade as their economic activities.

Argentina is the largest meat exporter to Europe because it has got a vast grassland area called the Pampas, where excessive animal rearing is done for the supply of meat to other parts of the world.

The measure to make agriculture sector of Nepal business oriented like that of South America is to adopt a modern method of farming.

Lama is a yak like small animal. It has the capacity of working or carrying more though it eats less in comparison to other animals. It can easily cross hills. It is mostly found in Peru, Bolivia, Chili and Argentina.

South America is the richest continent because:

  1. It has a large number of gold mines and other minerals by exporting which it derives a lot of income.
  2. It has good access to thesea and so water transportation (trade) is much easier.
  3. It lies in the Mediterranean region. Agriculture here is much more favorable in comparison to other continents.

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