The continent of South America is home to 18 countries and territories, including Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Colombia, Bolivia, Venezuela, Chile, Paraguay, Ecuador, Guyana, Uruguay, and Suriname. Most of its current population speak Portuguese or Spanish, though French, Dutch, English, and a large number of indigenous languages are also represented. Geographically, its features include the Amazon river and rainforest, the Andes mountain range, and the Atacama Desert. Geologically, the continent spent a fair amount of time isolated from other landmasses, which allowed it to develop a distinct, highly diverse flora and fauna. The history of South America is rich with ancient civilizations at least as advanced as the ancient Egyptians, starting from the development of agriculture and the domestication of llamas, alpacas, and their relatives in the Andes around 3500 BCE, to the great cities of the Incan Empire in place at the time Europeans began arriving in the 1500s.
In the articles below, learn about all aspects of South America, past and present - maps and geography, paleontology and archaeology, ecology, history, culture and lesson plan ideas. From fossils to famous landmarks, South America has something of interest for everyone.