45+ Beautiful Facts About South America

  1. South America is the 4th largest and 5th most populous continent. There are 12 sovereign countries and three dependencies on this continent.
  2. Spanish is the majority language in most countries of South America (except Brazil, French Guiana, Guyana, and Surinam). Due to this factor, the continent is also called Latin America.
  3. Bolivia (55%) and Peru (45%) are the only two South American countries with a majority of the indigenous population.
  4. People of European descent are the largest ethnic group in Argentina (97%), Uruguay (88%), Chile (55%), and Brazil (48%).
  5. Colombia, Peru, and Brazil have the highest number of bird species, with more than 1,800 species each. Ecuador, Bolivia, and Venezuela have the world’s 5th, 6th, and 7th highest bird species. (Source)
  6. Brazil (1,022), Colombia (771), Ecuador (626), and Peru (572) have the highest number of amphibian species in the world. (Source)
  7. Football is the most popular sport in South America. The teams of the S. American continent have won 9 out of the total 20 FIFA World Cup titles since 1930 (Brazil 5 times while Argentina and Uruguay twice each).
  8. Machu Picchu in Peru and Christ the Redeemer in Brazil are 2 of the New 7 Wonders of the World. It was announced in 2007 by the New7Wonders Foundation of Switzerland. (Source)
  9. Arica in Chile is the 2nd driest place on earth after Dry Valleys in Antarctica. Ica (Peru) and Iquique (Chile) are also among the world’s driest places.
  10. The largest rainforest in the world is the Amazon rainforest in South America. It covers a vast area of Brazil, Peru, and Colombia.
  11. According to an estimate, there are around 390 billion trees of 16,000 species in the Amazon rainforest. (Source)
  12. South America is the continent with the largest production of coffee in the world. Brazil and Colombia are the largest and 3rd largest producers of coffee. 
  13. Brazil, Venezuela, and Colombia are on the list of countries with the highest rate of crimes. It is due to drug markets, various conflicts, and corruption in these countries. (Source)
  14. The Andes is the world’s longest mountain range. Its location is in South America along the Pacific Ocean.
    Andes mountain range in South America
    Andes on the western part of South America

  15. Mount Aconcagua (6961 m) in Argentina is the tallest mountain outside Asia. The top 10 tallest mountains outside Asia are part of the Andes in South America. All these mountains are above 6,000 meters. The only other mountain above 6,000 m outside Asia is Denali in Alaska (North America).
  16. In December 2003, the world’s highest UV index of 43.3 was recorded in Bolivia. It is comparable to Mars, where the surface can receive a UV index of 43. The high Andes in South America (Bolivia, Peru, Argentina, and Chile) usually measure a UV index of 25 and above. High elevation, low ozone levels, and tropical sun are the main reasons behind the high UV index in this area. (Source)
  17. Angel Falls in Venezuela is the world’s highest waterfall (979 m). Three of the world’s five highest waterfalls are in South America. The other two are present in Peru.
  18. The world’s largest swamp is present in South America. Most of the Pantanal is present in Brazil, while small areas are in Paraguay and Bolivia. It covers an area of 150,000 km2. (Source)
  19. Most South American countries gained independence from Spain and Portugal in the first half of the 19th Century after around 300 years of colonial rule.
  20. Brazil is the largest country in South America by both area and population, while Suriname is the smallest and the least populous country in this continent.
  21. Brazil is the largest Portuguese-speaking country in the world. It is due to the colonization of Brazil by Portugal for centuries. 
  22. The three largest salt flats on earth (Salar de Uyuni, Salinas Grandes, and Salar de Atacama) are present in Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile.
  23. Researchers have discovered a weak spot in the earth’s magnetic field over South America and the South Atlantic Ocean. This dent is increasing continuously, which can interfere with computers and satellites. (Source)
  24. The Pan-American Highway is the longest drivable road. This 19,000 miles long road covers five South American countries: Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.
  25. Most of the people in South America follow Roman Catholic Christianity. It is the result of missionary activities by its two main Catholic colonizers: Spain and Portugal. 
  26. The Amazon basin is the largest drainage basin in the world. It drains an area equal to 7 million sq. km. Rio de Plata basin in South America is the world’s 6th largest river drainage basin. (Source)
  27. Amazon River in South America is the world’s largest river by volume and the 2nd longest river by length (few South American sources claim it to be the world’s longest river). (Source)
    Amazon river satellite image
    Amazon is largest river by volume and 2nd longest by length

  28. An underground river, 4 km beneath the Amazon River, was discovered in 2011. The Rio Hamza is as long as the Amazon but hundreds of times wider. (Source)
  29. Lake Titicaca in Peru and Bolivia is the highest navigable lake in the world. It is also the 2nd largest lake in South America, covering more than 3,200 square miles. (Source)
  30. After WW2, the South American countries of Brazil, Argentina, and Chile became a haven for Nazis. These countries provided shelter to nearly 9,000 Nazi officers and collaborators. (Source)
  31. Venezuela in South America has the world’s largest known reserves of oil. It is the only country in this continent with notable oil reserves. (Source)
  32. Chile (190 million MT) and Peru (81 million MT) have the world’s largest and 3rd largest copper reserves. (Source)
  33. Eight of the ten biggest copper mines in the world are in South America. These mines are in Chile (6) and Peru (2). (Source)
  34. Tierra del Fuego, located near the southern tip of the continent, is the largest island in South America. Two-thirds of the island belongs to Chile, while the remaining is Argentinean.
  35. Paraguay and Bolivia are the only two landlocked countries in South America.
  36. Cocaine is one of the most harmful and addictive substances. Therefore, several countries have banned cocaine and coca leaves. However, people in many South American countries have been using coca leaves in their daily lives for thousands of years. (Source)
  37. There are five countries in the world with more cattle than humans. Three (Uruguay, Argentina, and Brazil) of these are in South America. (Source)
  38. Green Anacondas are the heaviest snakes on earth. They are present only in tropical South America.
  39. South America is also home to the world’s largest flying bird, the Andean Condor. It is depicted in the coat of arms of Ecuador, Colombia, Chile, and Bolivia.
  40. Capybara is the largest living rodent on earth. These semi-aquatic rodents are present only in South America from Panama to Argentina.
  41. Nevados Ojos del Salado at the Chile-Argentina border is the highest volcano on earth. All the 20 highest volcanoes in the world are in South America. (Source)
    Volcanic landscape in Central Andes
    World's highest active volcano is in South America

  42. Three of the four highest capital cities in the world are present in South America. These are La Paz (Bolivia), Quito (Ecuador), and Bogota (Colombia) at the 1st, 2nd, and 4th positions.
  43. La Paz (Bolivia) and Quito (Ecuador) are the two highest cities in the world. Cochabamba (Bolivia) and Bogota (Colombia) are the world’s 4th and 5th highest cities. (Source)
  44. According to recent findings, around 140 human children and 200 llamas were sacrificed in Peru more than 550 years ago. It is considered to be one of the largest human sacrifices in history. (Source)
  45. Inca is the most famous empire in South America. The location of this empire was in present-day Chile, Ecuador, Peru, and other parts of the Andean mountains.
  46. Almost the entire South American continent is in the southern hemisphere, except for a small northern area. Guyana, French Guiana, Venezuela, Suriname, and the northern parts of Brazil, Ecuador, and Colombia are in the northern hemisphere.


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