CIPR | Center For Inter-American Policy & Research

Tulane University

South America

South America is the fourth largest of Earth‘€™s seven continents (after Asia, Africa, and North America), occupying 17,820,900 sq km (6,880,700 sq mi), or 12 percent of Earth‘€™s land surface. It lies astride the equator and tropic of Capricorn and is joined by the Isthmus of Panama, on the north, to Central and North America. The continent extends 7,400 km (4,600 mi) from the Caribbean Sea on the north to Cape Horn on the south, and its maximum width, between Ponta do Seixas, on Brazil‘€™s Atlantic coast, and Punta Pariñas, on Peru‘€™s Pacific coast, is 5,160 km (3,210 mi).

South America has a 2009 estimated population of 394 million, or 6 percent of the world‘€™s people. The continent comprises 12 nations. Ten of the countries are Latin: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Two of the nations are former dependencies: Guyana, of the United Kingdom, and Suriname, of the Netherlands. South America also includes French Guiana, an overseas department of France. Located at great distances from the continent in the Pacific Ocean are several territories of South American republics: the Juan Fernández Islands and Easter Island (Chile) and the Galápagos Islands (Ecuador). Nearer the coast, in the Atlantic Ocean, is the Fernando de Noronha Archipelago, which is a Brazilian territory, and, farther south, the British dependency of the Falkland Islands, which is claimed by Argentina as the Islas Malvinas. The coastline of South America is relatively regular except in the extreme south and southwest, where it is indented by numerous fjords.

South America consists of four upland provinces, extending inland from the coasts, and, between them, three lowland provinces. The northern and western fringes are dominated by the Andes Mountains, the second highest mountain range in the world. Most of the eastern coast is fringed by the broader‘€“and generally less elevated‘€“highland areas of the Guiana and Brazilian massifs and the Patagonian Plateau. The main lowland is the vast Amazon Basin in the equatorial part of the continent; it is drained by the Amazon River, the world‘€™s second longest river. The Orinoco River drains a lowland in the north; to the south lies the Paraguay-Paraná basin. The lowest point in South America (40 m/131 ft below sea level) is on Península Valdés in eastern Argentina, and the greatest elevation (6,960 m/22,834 ft) is atop Aconcagua in western Argentina, the highest peak in the Western Hemisphere.

MSN Encarta: South America

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CIPR Fall Speaker Series

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Please join us Mondays at noon for our Fall speaker Series
Markets, the State, and Democracy in Latin America
October 14, October 21, November 11, and November 18.

In the 2019 fall series, Markets, the State, and Democracy in Latin America, speakers will discuss emerging issues that have surfaced as the result of the opportunities and challenges to democratic governance that markets have brought to the region. Latin America experienced a major influx of investment, particularly in the resource sector, over the past several decades. While this foreign investment helped hasten economic development, it also brought a backlash of resource nationalism and increased calls for redistribution. Moreover, Latin America is now a model in its own right, with other countries in the Global South adopting its state-sponsored development strategies in the resource sector. These presentations will also explore how Latin America is navigating a sea change in geopolitics, with China emerging as a challenger to the United States as the region’s main trade partner and ally.

For more information, check out our Fall Series Poster

Latin American Writers Series: Alberto Barrera Tyszka

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Ecuadorian writer and Tulane Visiting Scholar Gabriela Alemán interviews Venezuelan writer Alberto Barrera Tyszka about his life, interests, and influences. Their discussion will be followed by an open Q&A and an informal reception. This event will be held in Spanish.

About the Latin American Writers Series

This series brings together Latin America’s most representative creative voices and the editorial entrepreneurs that publish them. By way of interviews conducted by renowned Ecuadorian writer Gabriela Alemán and presentations of various editorial missions, the guests will shed light on a literary world shaped by the contemporary issues of the continent. Moving forward, their conversations will comprise the centerpiece of a digital archive that introduces their ideas to a global audience.

Este serie reúne a los autores más representativos de la escritura continental y los editores que los publican. A través de entrevistas con la reconocida escritora ecuatoriana Gabriela Alemán y presentaciones de proyectos editoriales, los invitados explorarán los vínculos entre el mundo literario y la realidad continental. Sus conversaciones se convertirán después en el eje de un archivo digital que busca llevar estas ideas a un público global.

About the Author

Born in Caracas, Alberto Barrera Tyszka has published over a dozen works of poetry, short story, chronicle, novel, and biography. His most recent publications include the novels Patria o Muerte (2015) and Rating (2011), the poetic anthology La inquietud (2013), the collection of chronicles Un país a la semana (2013), and the short story collection Crímenes (2009). In 2005, he collaborated with Cristina Marcano to write the definitive biography of Hugo Chávez, Hugo Chávez sin uniforme: una historia personal (2005). Patria o muerte won the 2015 Premio Tusquets de Novela, and his novel La enfermedad, translated into English as The Sickness (2010), received the 2006 Herralde Award. Barrera also writes for television and has scripted soap operas for Venezuelan, Mexican, Colombian, and Argentinian networks.