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Map of South America: A Source for All Kinds
of Maps of South America

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South America Of Interest

At approximately 6,880,000 square miles, South America is the world's fourth largest continent. It is about 3,300 miles wide and 4,750 miles long north to south. The great mountain chain of the Andes rises to numerous snowcapped peaks. Mt. Aconcagua (22,835 feet) in Argentina is the highest point in the Western Hemisphere. The Andes region, paralleling the Pacific Ocean, is seismically active and prone to earthquakes. South America has a wide variety of climatic zones - high alpine, tropical, and desert. The vegetation reflects that climatic diversity.

South America first started seeing European explorers at the beginning of the 1500s. Portugal claimed what is now Brazil, and Spanish claims were established throughout most of the rest of the continent. The conquering of the indigenous civilizations was a brutal result of settlement efforts, particularly those of Spain. The Inca Empire, centered at Cuzco, Peru, was conquered in 1531 by Pizarro. Other native cultures soon retreated due to conquest and supression. Spain and Portugal maintained their settlements in South America until the early 1800s when many groups achieved successful revolutions, resulting in the creation of independent states.

South America's population is over 300,000,000. Native peoples comprise the majority of the continent's Andean population. Elsewhere in South America the population is mostly mestizo, although the southern and eastern regions have primarily European populations. There are significant populations of African descent in northeast Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, French Guiana, and Suriname. Immigration since 1800 has brought European, Middle Eastern, and Asian peoples to the continent. Most of the national capitals have the largest population concentrations. Outside the cities the population density of the continent is very low, with much of the interior nearly uninhabited; most of the people live within 200 miles of the coast.

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