South America is the fourth largest continent in the world and covers an area of 6.89 million square miles. The continent is made up of 12 sovereign countries: Colombia, Bolivia, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Uruguay, Brazil, Paraguay, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, and Ecuador.
Area of South America
Brazil is the largest country in South America, covering an area of 3.288 million square miles, which is about half of the continent’s total land area. Brazil’s coastline stretches for 4,655 miles, which is the longest coastline of any South American country. Argentina is the second-largest country in South America, covering an area of 1.073 million square miles. The coastline of Argentina stretches 3,180 miles along the Atlantic Ocean. The third largest country in South America is Peru, with an area of 496,225 square miles. Suriname is the smallest South American country, with an area of 64,000 square miles.
Geography of South America
Santa Catalina in Colombia marks the northernmost point of South America, while the Aguila Islet in Chile is the southernmost point of the continent. Argentina is home to the highest point of elevation in the continent. Aconcagua, in the Andes, whose elevation of 22,838 feet, is it the highest mountain outside Asia. The county is also home to the lowest point in South America, Laguna del Carbon, which has an elevation of 344 feet below sea level. Venezuela is home to the highest waterfall in the world, Angel Falls, with a height of 3,212 feet, while Guyana is home to Kaieteur Falls, which is the continent’s highest single drop waterfall. The driest hot desert in the world, the Atacama Desert, is situated in Chile and covers an area of 40,541 square miles.
Population of South America
The total population of South America is estimated at 414.663 million people. Brazil has the largest population of any South American country, with a population of 204.519 million people, which is equivalent to 49.36% of the continent’s total population. Colombia’s population of 48.549 million people is the second largest in South America, followed closely by Argentina, with a population of 43.132 million people. The least populated country in the continent is Suriname, with a population of 560,000 people, and it is also the least densely populated country, with a population density of 7.5 persons per square mile. Ecuador has the highest population density in South America, with a population density of 152.7 persons per square mile.
Economy of South America
Figures from the 2016 CIA World Factbook state that all South American countries had a combined GDP of $6.432 trillion. Brazil accounted for about half of the total GDP of the continent, having GDP of $3.135 trillion. Argentina is the second richest country in South America, with a GDP of $0.879 trillion. According to the report, Guyana had the lowest GDP in the continent, with a GDP of $6 billion.
Apart from the 12 sovereign countries, South America is also comprised of three dependent territories which are located within its maritime boundaries. These dependent territories include the Falkland Islands of the United Kingdom, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands of the United Kingdom, and French Guiana of France.
How Many Countries Are in South America?
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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