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South America

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World map showing where South America is

South America is the continent to the south of North America.[1][2] These two continents are separated by the Panama Canal. It is bounded on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the east by the Atlantic Ocean.


A composite image of South America taken from space.
The Andes.

South America is attached to Central America at the boundary of Panama.[3] Geographically[4] all of Panama – including the part east of the Panama Canal in the isthmus – is usually included in North America alone.[5][6][7] and among the countries of Central America.[8][9] This long continent is from the Caribbean Sea almost to Antarctica.[3] It separates the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.[3] South America can be divided into four parts.[3] The Caribbean Republics include Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana.[3] The Andean Republics include Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, and Peru. The River Plate Republics have Uruguay, Paraguay, and Argentina. Brazil, the largest country, is a alone.[3]


The climate in most of South America is usually tropical.[3] It is humid (dry) tropical and tropical savanna in the north. It is humid subtropical in the southeast. Rainfall is different depending on the place. The Atacama Desert is one of the driest places in the world. In the Amazon basin, the average rainfall is 2,000 millimetres (79 in). The Brazilian plateau receives rainfall between 1000 and 2000 mm.[3] Temperatures can also be very different. The usual temperature in the mountains is 15 °C (59 °F) degrees, while temperatures in the Tropics can be more than 38 °C (100 °F) degrees.[3]

Natural resources

The soil in Argentina's Pampas is among the best in the world. Brazil's soil is very good for growing coffee.[3] A great number of minerals have been found. Few, however, have been mined.[3] Among those that were mined are iron, manganese, gold, and gemstones.[3] The tropical forests are rich in valuable trees, like mahogany, ebony, and rubber.[3] Oil is also a resource in some places.[3]


  1. "South America. The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. 2001–6. New York, Columbia University Press": "fourth largest continent ..., the southern of the two continents of the Western Hemisphere."
  2. "Countries in Latin America & the Caribbean". Retrieved 6 April 2010.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 Koontz, Terri; Mark Sidwell, S.M.Bunker. World Studies. Greenville, South Carolina 29614: Bob Jones University Press. ISBN 1-59166-431-4 .
  4. Cohen, Saul Bernard. 2003. "North and Middle America" (Ch. 5). Geopolitics of the World System (ISBN 0847699072)
  5. "Americas" Standard Country and Area Codes Classifications (M49), United Nations Statistics Division
  6. "The Atlas of Canada - North America". Retrieved 6 April 2010.
  7. "Atlas - Xpeditions @". Retrieved 6 April 2010.
  8. "Panama". Britannica Concise Encyclopedia
  9. Geography: Panama CIA World Factbook 2008.