South America

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South America is a continent of the Americas, situated entirely in the Western Hemisphere and mostly in the Southern Hemisphere. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and in the north and east by the Atlantic Ocean; to the north is Central America followed by North America, and the Caribbean Sea lies to the northwest.


South America was named in 1507 by cartographers Martin Waldseemüller and Matthias Ringmann after Amerigo Vespucci, who was the first European to suggest that the Americas were not the East Indies, but a New World unknown to Europeans.

South America has an area of 17,840,000 square kilometres (6,890,000 sq mi), or almost 3.5% of the Earth's surface. As of 2005, its population was estimated at more than 371,000,000. South America ranks fourth in area (after Asia,Africa, and North America) and fifth in population (after Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America).

South America in time became entirely colonised by European powers. With the exception of Brazil, which was Portuguese, and the three Guianas (French, Dutch & British), the rest of the continent fell to Spain. Along with Central America it is often referred to as Latin America. The only remaining colony today is French Guiana.

Countries and territories

South America consists of the following twelve countries