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South America FAST FACTS

Population: 349,510,000 (5)
Area: 6,884,000 Sq. miles (4)

South America NATIONS


  Brazil is the largest nation in South America. It is also the only
nation in the continent with Portuguese as its official language. Brazil is home to the Amazon Rainforest, the largest rainforest in the world. Large portions of the Amazon are cleared each year to make room for Brazil's growing population.
Population: 192,300,000 (5)
Area: 3,287,597 sq. miles (5)
Language(s): Portuguese
Capital: Brasilia
Largest City: Sao Paulo
Currency: Real


  Chile's Easter Island, the world's most remote inhabited island, is famous for its mysterious figure-like statues called Moai carved by indigenous peoples in the 11-17th centuries. There are nearly 300 such statues that weigh, on average, 14 tons. Scientists believe they symbolize power and religion.
Population: 17,063,000 (60)
Area: 292,183 sq. miles (38)
Language(s): Spanish
Capital: Santiago
Largest City: Santiago
Currency: Peso


  Argentina has many different landforms including the Pampas (plains), Patagonia (desert, river valleys and towering mountains), and Tierra Del Fuego (archipelago of plains, glaciers and moun-tains). Argentina's Aconcagua is the highest peak outside of Asia.
Population: 40,134,425 (31)
Area: 1,068,302 sq. miles (8)
Language(s): Spanish
Capital: Buenos Aires
Largest City: Buenos Aires
Currency: Peso


  Bolivia is one of two landlocked countries in South America. Bolivia's capital, La Paz, is the highest capital city in the world in terms of elevation.
Population: 10,908,000 (84)
Area: 424,163 sq. miles (28)
Language(s): Spanish
Capital: Sucre
Largest City: Santa Cruz de la Sierra
Currency: Boliviano


  Paraguay is one of two landlocked nations in south America. It is divided by the Paraguay River - one of the world's largest rivers.
Population: 6,349,000 (101)
Area:157,048 sq. miles (59)
Language(s): Spanish
Capital: Asuncion
Largest City: Asuncion
Currency: Guarani


  Peru is a nation dominated by the Andes Mountains. Many peaks exceed 20,000 feet in height. Machu Picchu, and ancient Incan city some 8,000 feet in the mountains, is one of the most spectacular places in the world.
Population: 29,500,000 (41)
Area: 496,225 sq. miles (20)
Language(s): Spanish
Capital: Lima
Largest City: Lima
Currency: Nuevo Sol


  Galapagos Islands, apx. 600 miles west of Ecuador, in the Atlantic Ocean, was the site of the formation of one of the most important theories in modern times: Charles Darwin's Theory of Evolution. While observing different finches in the Galapagos Islands, Darwin argued that organisms most fit (adapted) to survive in their environments were able to succeed (live and breed), and those that were not would die off.
Population: 13,275,000 (67)
Area: 109,415 sq. miles (66)
Language(s): Spanish
Capital: Quito
Largest City: Guayaquil
Currency: U.S. Dollar


  Colombia is a land of contrasts. The western part is dominated by the Andes Mountains. Many peaks are more than 15,000 feet high. The eastern half is hot and rainy. Some of the world's best coffee is made in this part of Colombia.
Population: 45,393,000 (29)
Area: 440,839 sq. miles (26)
Language(s): Spanish
Capital: Bogota
Largest City: Bogotaa
Currency: Peso


  Venezuela was originally discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1498. It was named in 1499 by Amerigo Vespucci. Its name means "Little Venice". Today, Most of Venezuela's population lives on the oil-rich northern coast.
Population: 26,815,000 (40)
Area: 353,831 sq. miles (33)
Language(s): Spanish
Capital: Caracas
Largest City: Caracas
Currency: Boliva fuerte


  Uruguay is one of the top tourist destinations in South America. Although much of the interior of the nation is covered by low, rolling hills, there are world class beaches near the capital city of Montevideo.
Population: 3,394,000 (131)
Area: 68,037 sq. miles (90)
Language(s): Spanish
Capital: Montevideo
Largest City: Montevideo
Currency: Uruguayan Peso


  Guyana is a rugged country covered by tropical rainforests. It was a British colony before gaining independence in 1966. It is the only nation in South America where English is the official language.
Population: 772,000 (160)
Area: 83,000 sq. miles (84)
Language(s): English
Capital: Georgetown
Largest City: Georgetown
Currency: Guyanese Dollar


  Suriname is a small, developing nation. Nearly 80 percent of it is covered in thick rainforests. Much of central Suriname is dominated by rivers and transportation through this region is primarily achieved by water.
Population: 481,267 (167)
Area: 63,251 sq. miles (91)
Language(s): Dutch
Capital: Paramaribo
Largest City: Paramaribo
Currency: Surinamese Dollar

French Guiana

  French Guiana has been a colony of France since 1817. Most of the nation is covered by rainforests, and the vast majority of the population is concentrated along the coast.
Population: 221,000
Area: 32,252 sq. miles (140)
Language(s): French
Capital: Cayenne
Largest City: Cayenne
Currency: Franc