CIPR | Center For Inter-American Policy & Research

Tulane University

Southern Cone

The Southern Cone is a geographic region composed of the southernmost areas of South America, south of the Tropic of Capricorn. Although geographically this includes part of southeastern Brazil, in terms of political geography the Southern cone has traditionally comprised Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay. Starting in the 1990s, and especially since the creation of the southern common market in 1991, the term is often used to refer to a larger area also including Brazil, Bolivia and Peru.

When only entire countries are included, in most of cases only Argentina, Uruguay and Chile are included in the Southern Cone. In some other definitions, when used for describing the countries under military dictatorship during the middle of 20th century, Brazil is fully included, although most of the Brazilian lands are geographically outside the Southern Cone.

Nowadays, the southernmost states of Brazil (the states of São Paulo, Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul) are generally included because they share the same characteristics with Uruguay, Argentina and Chile: above average standard of living, mild climate, high level of industrialization and strong European immigration.

—Southern Cone

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