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South America is a continent crossed by the equator, with most of its area
in the Southern Hemisphere. South America is situated between the Pacific
Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean. It became attached to North America only
recently, geologically speaking, with the formation of the Isthmus of
Panama. The Andes, likewise a comparatively young and seismically restless
mountain range, run down the western edge of the continent; the land to the
east of the Andes is largly tropical rain forest, the vast Amazon River
It is thought to have been first inhabited by humans crossing the Bering
Land Bridge, now the Bering strait, though there are also suggestions of
migration from the southern Pacific Ocean.
From the 1530s, the indigenous inhabitants of South America were subjugated
by European invadors, first from Spain, later from Portugal, who divided it
into colonies. In the course of the 19th century, these colonies won their
independence. Nowadays, South America consists of the following twelve
and the following three non-independent territories:
* Falkland Islands (UK)
* French Guiana (France)
* South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (UK)
The region of South America also includes various islands, most of which
belong to countries on the continent. The Caribbean territories are grouped
with North America. The largest country, both in area and in population, is
by far Brazil.
List of countries/dependencies by population density in inhabitants/km2.
Unlike the figures in the country articles, the figures in this table are
based on areas including inland water bodies (lakes, reservoirs, rivers) and
may therefore be lower here.
country pop. dens. area population
Ê (/sq.km) (sq.km) (2002-07-01 est.)
Ecuador 47 283,560 13,447,494
Colombia 36 1,138,910 41,008,227
Venezuela 27 912,050 24,287,670
Peru 22 1,285,220 27,949,639
Brazil 21 8,511,965 176,029,560
Chile 20 756,950 15,498,930
Uruguay 19 176,220 3,386,575
Paraguay 14 406,750 5,884,491
Argentina 14 2,766,890 37,812,817
Bolivia 7.7 1,098,580 8,445,134
Guyana 3.2 214,970 698,209
Suriname 2.7 163,270 436,494
French Guiana (Fr.) 2.0 91,000 182,333
Falkland Islands (UK) 0.24 12,173 2,967