Map of South America

Comprising 12 Countries, South America is a continent in the Western Hemisphere, the 4th largest continent in the world by area and the fifth-most populous. South America is bordered to the west by the Pacific Ocean and to the north and east by the Atlantic Ocean, with North America and the Caribbean Sea situated to the northwest.

Map of South American Countries

South America Map
About Map: South America map showing political divisions and countries.

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About South America

Situated in the Western Hemisphere, being mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, and with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere, South America is the fourth-largest continent.

It is made up of twelve independent countries and three major territories: the Falkland Islands, Galapagos Islands and French Guiana. The continent covers an area of 6,890,000 square miles. The estimated population is more than 432,105,011 as of 2020. The per capita nominal GDP of South America was $8,560 as of 2019. Christianity is the most widely practiced religion. People also follow other religions and faiths such as Islam, Judaism, Bahai, and Buddhism. The main languages spoken in the continent are Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, English, and French. Italian, German, Hindi and Arabic are also spoken.

Also Read South American Countries and Capitals List

South America is thought to have been first inhabited by at least 15,000 years ago. The people were moving south through North America, and eventually reached South America through the Isthmus of Panama. The natural resources of the region were constantly exploited by the European conquests (Portugal and Spain) during the 1530s.

Tourism is an important industry enhancing the GDP of the continent. Historical places, architectural and natural wonders and beautiful landscapes attract millions of tourists every year from all across the globe to the continent. Machu Picchu, the Amazon Rainforest, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Fortaleza, Maceio, Bogota, Florianopolis, Isla Margarita, Natal, Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Angel Falls, Cuzco, Lake Titicaca, Patagonia, Cartagena and the Galapagos islands are the most visited places.


These nations then claimed the land and resources as their own and divided it into colonies. After a series of battles fought, South American countries finally won their independence at the end of 1823 from the Spanish Crown in the Spanish American wars of independence. The important leaders during the independence struggles were Simon Bolivar of Venezuela and Jose de San Martin of Argentina.

Country and dependency in South America

#Country (or dependency)Population 2023Density (P/Km²)Land Area (Km²)
13French Guiana312,155482,200
14Falkland Islands3,791012,170

Largest Cities in South America

1São PauloBrazil12,038,17514MedellínColombia2,434,647
4Rio de JaneiroBrazil6,476,63117CuritibaBrazil1,879,355
7Buenos AiresArgentina3,054,26720Santa Cruz de la SierraBolivia1,614,224
8SalvadorBrazil2,921,08721Porto AlegreBrazil1,476,867
13Belo HorizonteBrazil2,502,55726GuarulhosBrazil1,324,781

South America Facts

Area17,840,000 km2 (6,890,000 sq mi) (4th)
Population (2020)432,105,011
Literacy Rate93.9 percent
Largest CountryBrazil
Highest PeakAconcagua (more than 6,706 meters (22,000 feet) high)
Lowest PointValdés Peninsula (131 feet (40 metres) below sea level)
Longest RiverAmazon River
Principal ReligionsChristianity is the main religion.
Major LanguagesSpanish, Portuguese, Guaraní, English, French, Dutch, Quechua, Aymara, Chinese, other languages
Time zonesUTC-2 to UTC-5
DemonymSouth American
Last Updated: November 24, 2023