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South America

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South America is a continent[lower-alpha 7] entirely in the Western Hemisphere[lower-alpha 8] and mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere at the northern tip of the continent. It can also be described as the southern subregion of a single continent called America.

Quick facts: Area, Population, Population density, GDP&nbs...
South America
Area17,840,000 km2 (6,890,000 sq mi) (4th)
Population434,254,119 (2021; 5th)[1][2]
Population density21.4/km2 (56.0/sq mi)
GDP (PPP)$7.61 trillion (2022 est; 5th)[3]
GDP (nominal)$3.62 trillion (2022 est; 4th)[4]
GDP per capita$8,340 (2022 est; 5th)[5]
DemonymSouth American, American[7]
Time zonesUTC−02:00 to UTC−05:00
Largest cities
UN M49 code005 – South America
419Latin America and the Caribbean
Map of South America showing physical, political, and population characteristics, as per 2018

South America is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east by the Atlantic Ocean; North America and the Caribbean Sea lie to the northwest. The continent generally includes twelve sovereign states: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, and Venezuela; two dependent territories: the Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands;[lower-alpha 9] and one internal territory: French Guiana.[lower-alpha 10] In addition, the ABC islands of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Ascension Island (dependency of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, a British Overseas Territory), Bouvet Island (dependency of Norway), Panama, and Trinidad and Tobago may also be considered parts of South America.

South America has an area of 17,840,000 square kilometers (6,890,000 sq mi). Its population as of 2021 has been estimated at more than 434 million.[1][2] South America ranks fourth in area (after Asia, Africa, and North America) and fifth in population (after Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America). Brazil is by far the most populous South American country, with more than half of the continent's population, followed by Colombia, Argentina, Venezuela and Peru. In recent decades, Brazil has also generated half of the continent's GDP and has become the continent's first regional power.[9]

Most of the population lives near the continent's western or eastern coasts while the interior and the far south are sparsely populated. The geography of western South America is dominated by the Andes mountains; in contrast, the eastern part contains both highland regions and vast lowlands where rivers such as the Amazon, Orinoco and Paraná flow. Most of the continent lies in the tropics, except for a large part of the Southern Cone located in the middle latitudes.

The continent's cultural and ethnic outlook has its origin with the interaction of indigenous peoples with European conquerors and immigrants and, more locally, with African slaves. Given a long history of colonialism, the overwhelming majority of South Americans speak Spanish or Portuguese, and societies and states are rich in Western traditions. Relative to Europe, Asia and Africa, post-1900 South America has been a peaceful continent with few wars.[10][11][lower-alpha 11]