Landlocked Countries of South America
A landlocked country is a country that is entirely bordered by land and has no access to marine water bodies. South America has 12 sovereign states. Of the 12 sovereign states, only two are landlocked; Bolivia and Paraguay. Bolivia and Paraguay are the only land-locked countries outside the Afro-Eurasian plate, which is made up of Asia, Africa, and Europe. The two landlocked countries in South America are as discussed below.
Bolivia is situated on western-central part of South America. The capital city of Bolivia is Sucre. However, the seat of the government is located in La Paz. Bolivia, at 1,098,581 square kilometers, is the largest landlocked country in South America. The country is bordered by Brazil to the north and to the east, Paraguay to the southeast, Argentina to the south, Peru to the northwest, and Chile to the southwest.
Initially, Bolivia was not landlocked. It had a coastline along the Pacific Ocean. However, during the War of the Pacific that was fought between 1879 and 1883, Bolivia lost its coastline to Chile. On the March 23 of every year, Bolivians celebrate ‘The Day of the Sea’ to commemorate their lost coastline and their sea access. It is quite intriguing that Bolivia, even after becoming landlocked, still has a navy. It uses Lake Titicaca for its naval training.
A Treaty of Peace and Friendship was signed between Chile and Bolivia after Bolivia kept insisting that it be given access to the sea. Chile thereafter built a railway that would allow the Bolivians to access the sea with ease.
The Republic of Paraguay is located in central South America. Because of its centrality in South America, it is often referred to as the ‘Heart of South America’. It has a total area of 406,752 square kilometers. Paraguay is the smallest landlocked country in the Americas. It is bordered to the south and to the southwest by Argentina, to the east and to the northeast by Brazil, and to the northwest by Bolivia.
Just like Bolivia, Paraguay, despite being landlocked, still has a navy because it can access the Atlantic Ocean through Paraguay–Parana Rivers.