South America stretches 65 degrees of latitude all the way from the warm Caribbean Sea to cold and windy Cape Horn deep south,
covering steamy rainforests, mighty rivers, dry deserts, towering snow-capped volcanoes and icy glaciers.
The 7000km long Andes mountain
range that splits east and west is rich in minerals like gold, copper and lithium.
The Amazon rainforest functions
as the lungs of the world. At least according to some.
Pundits think first humans entered the continent on foot 15.000 years
ago, but the Monte Verde site is older, so others propose a much earlier date via
coastal migration by people with common
ancestry to modern-day Australiods
Until we find their travel diaries we just do not know.
First Europeans arrived in the
16th century and Spanish and Portuguese conquistadors overpowered the local civilizations, robbed their gold and colonized
In the 19th century the colonies gained independence and, after a century of military regimes, dictatorships
and bloody revolutions, today 11 of the 12 countries in South America are democracies, be it with a very Latin touch. The
exception being Venezuela.
The economy of most of the countries depends heavily on mining, agriculture, forestry and petroleum