South America is a continent that encompasses the nations of the western hemisphere from Colombia and Venezuela in the north, then south to Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Uruguay, Paraguay, and further south to Chile and Argentina. Early immigration came mainly from Spain and Portugal, so people mostly speak Spanish with Portuguese being spoken in Brazil, which occupies nearly half the continent. The indigenous peoples are sometimes called Indians. Before colonisation, major tribes and civilsations that exited included: Cañaris, Chibchas, Xinguanos, Caral Supe, Norte Chico, Chavín, Moche, Tiwanaku, and Inca.
South America sits between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, with the Great Southern Ocean to the south and the Caribbean Sea to the north. Most of the continent resides in the southern hemisphere. The Andes runs the entire length of the continent and creates many different climatic conditions. Climates range from tropical, sub-tropical, desert, semi-arid, mediterranean, temperate, and alpine.
Outstanding natural features in South America are as diverse as huge mountain ranges, volcanoes, to plains; and tropical rainforests to the driest deserts in the world. This continent has a massive coastline with outlying islands.
Top 10 cities
Rio de Janeiro Brazil, is famous for carnivals, beaches, and an outstanding landscape;
Sao Paulo Brazil is the largest city in South America.
Buenos Aires Argentina, deserves the title, 'The Paris of South America';
Quito Ecuador, the first city in the world to be designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Santiago Chile, where old and new architecture sit side by side;
Lima Peru, has extensive Incan archeological sites and colonial architecture;
Cusco Peru, an ancient Incan city high up in the Andes.
Cartegena Colombia, is a tropical, colourful, colonial city on the Caribbean coast.
Bogota Colombia, has huge modern malls and historic neigbourhoods side by side;
Florianopolis Brazil, a historic city with great beaches, surfing, and seafood.