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Introduction to Amazonas Region Introduction to Andes Region Introduction to Caribbean Islands Region Introduction to Central & Cloud Forest Region Introduction to Los Llanos Region Introduction to Orinoco Rio - Delta Region Introduction to Gran Sabana Region

South America 
1 introduction 
South America or America of the South, subcontinent of America whose extension is of 17.819.100 km2 and that it embraces 12% of the terrestrial surface. It crosses the equatorial line and the tropic of Capricorn.  unites with Central America, in the north, for the isthmus of Panama. South America has a longitude of 7.400 km, from the sea Caribbean, in the north, until the end of Ovens, in the south. In their wider point it embraces 4.830 km, among the end of Asleep São, in the most oriental end, in the ocean Atlantic, and tip Pariñas in the ocean Pacific. 
In 1990 South America  had 304 million inhabitants approximately, what represents less than the world population's 6%.  understands ten countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela, Guyana, Surinam and the French Guayana (department of overseas of France). islands Exist in the coast of the Pacific located at great distance of the continent, as the archipelago Juan Fernández and the island of Easter that belong to Chile, and the islands Tortoises that belong to Ecuador. Next the archipelago of Fernando of Noronha is to the Atlantic coast, belonging to Brazil, and, much more to the south, the islands Malvinas, low British sovereignty and claimed by Argentina, also known as islands Falkland. The coastal line of South America is quite regular, except in the south end, where  fragments in numerous fiords. 
South America has seven big geographical areas: four high regions that extend from the costs toward the interior, and, among them, three low regions. The northern fringes and Westerner are dominated by the mountain range of you Walk them, the second higher mountainous chain of the world. Almost the whole oriental coast is skirted by the extensive -and generally less high - solid Guianese and Brazilian and the plateaus of the Patagonia. The most extensive region in low lands is in the immense amazon basin, in the equatorial area of the subcontinent that is watered by the river Amazons, the second longer river of the world. In the north, the smallest replica in low lands of the amazon basin is the region drenada for the river Orinoco; to the south the basin of the is located Paraguay-Paraná. The lowest point in South America, 40 m below the level of the sea, it is in the peninsula of Valdés, in the east of Argentina; and the highest point registers it the Aconcagua, the highest pick in the western hemisphere, to the west also of Argentina. 
2.1 geologic history 
The oldest and stable structural element in the subcontinent is constituted by the layer litológica that is in the Brazilian region of the solid ones and of the Guayanas, in the east and northeast of South America.  understands a complex of rocks igneous and metamorphic precámbricas of ago 570 million years. The layer is had in its biggest part by sedimentary rock, mainly of the period paleozoico (for 570 millions until ago 225 million years), although in some areas they are more recent basalts, mainly in the south of Brazil. They have been fossil in the solid ones Brazilian that they show evidences of the continental displacement and they indicate that in the era pérmica the subcontinent was together to Gondwana, the great terrestrial mass that  also understood África and Asia. 
The floor that is under the plateaus patagónicas is covered mainly for silts deposited in the mesozoico (for 225 millions until ago 65 million years) and in the tertiary period (for 65 millions until ago 2,5 million years), and for basalts of recent formation. 
The matter removed by erosion of the old layer has contributed to augment the deposits of silts in the surrounding marine waters. These sedimentary formations were lifted in repeated occasions during the mesozoico to form the coastal chains of Chile and the southern region of Peru, as well as the highest and extensive chain of you Walk them. The process of formation of these mountains continued along the tertiary period, and it was accompanied by magma intrusions (melted rock) and for the formation of volcanos. Due to the continuous volcanic and seismic activity, the western borders of the subcontinent collapsed, while the badge of the Pacific opened up step down (subduction area), forming both one of the South American tectonic badges. The Andean glaciers of the south end are remainders of the big times of glaciación of the quaternary period that it began 2,5 million years ago. The continuous erosion of the high lands provided silts to the surrounding low lands. 
2.2 regions fisiográficas 
Walk them they run off with abruptly from the northwest and from the western costs of the subcontinent. They extend from Venezuela, to the north, to Chile and Argentina, in the south; but in the central part the system opens up more or less in two or three axes parallel, well-known as Western mountain range, Central mountain range and Oriental mountain range. In the western part of Bolivia, among the chains of mountains, they are the extensive highlands. Among the two dozens of picks that overcome the 5.182 meters of altitude in the south and center of Chile, as well as in the south of Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador, they are numerous active volcanos. 
In the northeast of the Guayana and in the east of Brazil, the extensive ones solid they present a wavy surface full with knots or protuberances, with extensive plateaus and high tables. These are higher and less more extensive in the solid of the Guayanas. In the solid ones Brazilian, the biggest relief is in the mountains that extend along the oriental coast that you/they emerge of the sea in many places. In general, the erosion of the rocks of these mountainous regions has gone forming reddish and sterile floors. However, in the floors of many fertile valleys they have been derived of basaltic rocks. To the south of the subcontinent  is the relatively not very high and flat plateau patagónica. In that region the floors are in general fertile, although the adverse climatic condicionamientos limits their agricultural utility. 
In the northern end of the subcontinent they are the big extensions of low lands of the basin of the Orinoco that  understands The Flat -region of alluvial plains and low tables - and a vast system of valleys that they converge toward the Amazons, among the rivers Caquetá and Madeira. The amazon basin is properly a region of lightly wavy land. To the south of this area they are the not very deep valleys and the big plains of the Great Chaco and the Pampas that unite with the regions of floods and marshy plains of the rivers Paraguay and Paraná. 
2.3 Cuencas and resources hidrográficos 
Great part of the waters of South America ends in the ocean Atlantic for three systems hidrográficos: that of the Orinoco, that of the Amazons and that of the rivers Paraguay-Paraná. Each one of these big rivers also provides access toward the interior of the subcontinent. The river São Francisco drains in the Brazilian Northeast. Numerous rivers of half bed end in turn in the sea Caribbean and in the Pacific (in this last case, the fluvial courses travel the western slopes of you Walk them. The most important is the Magdalena whose main tributary is the river Cauca. This system that drains to the north through the Andean valleys of the Colombian occident to end in the sea Caribbean, has also provided a traditional route of access toward the interior of the subcontinent. A score of Andean rivers of smaller journey, as the Guayas, the Santa and the Biobío, they have sustained the agricultural activity during centuries in Peru, Chile and in the Argentinean northwest. The rivers of you Walk them, those of the Guayana and those of the region of the solid Brazilians possess a considerable and potential capacity of production of hydroelectric energy. 
South America has important lakes. Many of them are permanent and they are in the Andean summits, to many meters on the level of the sea. Among the main ones it is necessary to highlight the Titicaca, the Poopó, the Buenos Aires, the Argentinean 
2.4 climate 
In South America they dominate the relatively temperate climatic regímenes. The subcontinent is crossed from a region to another for the equatorial line as a great belt of humid tropical climate that changes gradually in extensive areas in the north and in the south, where the duration of the station of the rains and the quantity of precipitations diminishes. These areas have humid summers and dry winters, and they are subjected to lingering droughts that constitute serious problems, especially in the Brazilian northeast and the costs of the north of Venezuela and Colombia. The rainy regions and of tropical humid-dry climate they extend along the peaceful coast of Colombia and Ecuador, but they are very marked in the south for an abrupt transition in Peru and north of Chile whose costs are arid. In the northern half of South America, Walk them they constitute the only region of cold climate of the subcontinent. The temperatures diminish as the altitude increases. The tropical climate of the valleys and of the skirts of the mountains you restitution in subtropical in the intermediate elevations, and finally  opens the way to the alpine cold in the Andean summits. South America possesses a temperate climate, mainly to the south of the tropic of Capricorn, the winters they vary between fresh and cold, and the summers of fresh to hot. The south of Chile receives intense precipitations due to the cyclonal storms that blow inland from the Pacific coming from the West. 
The frequency of the storms, strong in the winter, it diminishes toward the north of Chile, being a region with mediterranean climate, with soft and humid winters and temperate and dry summers. This region opens the way to the desert that extends along the coast until the north of Ecuador. In the Chilean coast  is the desert of Atacama, one of the driest places in the world. To the east of the southern region of you Walk them conditions of total absence of humidity they prevail and of a complete aridity. In the pampas and in the high lands of the Brazilian south, however, the summers they spread to be humid, and in the winters the cyclonal storms bring rains and fresh time. In the highest lands they take place snowy occasional and the freezes extend toward the north of the tropic of Capricorn, for what you/they can cause big damages to the agriculture. 
2.5 Flora 
The South American regions of vegetation are closely related with the climatic regions. The forest of tropical and humid climate is covered with dense vegetation and forests. The region bigger boscosa of the world that covers great part of the equatorial South America, extends from the Brazilian coast to the skirts of you Walk them oriental, and it harbors all kinds of hard wood, arborescent ferns, bamboo, palms and lianas. The regions of open floresta and of overgrowth they are in the areas of winter drought, mainly in the Venezuelan coast, the Brazilian northeast and the Great Chaco. 
The fields or savannas are between the dry regions and those of forest (areas of high grass) and the closed fields (of grass and overgrowth). The forests of leaf trees expire or semicaduca is in the south of Brazil and along the hillsides of you Walk them. In the south of Brazil the forests open up to open the way to areas of wavy prairies interrupted by hoisted hills. The Great Chaco is characterized by its green plains and for its floresta of thorny overgrowths. The pampas, to the east of the central region of Argentina, constitute the biggest extensions in pastizales of South America. To the south, a mount area (overgrowth steppes) it determines the transition to the trash extensions and cowlicks of grass that cover the dry and cold steppe of the Patagonia. In the coast of the Pacific, toward the north, the vegetation of the floresta changes gradually through open forests, opening the way to bushes and grass in the central part of Chile, and to the overgrowth and vegetation massive desértica in the north of Peru, reaching the highest flanks in the mountain range of you Walk them. 
2.6 fauna 
South America, Central America, the low lands of Mexico and the Antilles can be considered as a single region zoogeográfica, well-known as region neotropical. The fauna is characterized by the variety and lack of likeness with the fauna of other continents, even with that of the north of United States and the Mexican plateau. In her families of mammals have been developed that don't exist in any other region of the world, among them two classes of monkeys completely different from those of the Old World, bats pacifiers of blood and a great variety of rodents. There is a single bear species and until the arrival of the Europeans there were not horses neither any type of equine, except kind of a tapir; neither ruminant, excepting to camélidos like the flames (that only inhabit in this area). Other characteristic animals of the subcontinent are: the vicuña, the German nickel, the jaguar, the pecarí, the bear anthill and the coatí. 
The variety of birds is even bigger due to its isolation and singularity. They are exclusively around 23 families and 600 species of birds neotropicales, and I lower this classification you can also determine great part of other families, as those of the colibríes (500 species), tanagras and macaws, together with an enormous variety of marine birds. The nandu, the condor and the flamenco are among the big birds. The boas and anacondas, the iguanas, the caymen and the crocodiles are among the most important reptiles. The fish of water candy are also varied and abundant. Some insects and other spineless ones are also exclusive of the region. In general, the fauna of South America is only, as it is it that of Oceanía; very probably more than the fifth four parts of the species that you/they inhabit it they are you would originate of this region zoogeográfica. The archipelago of the islands Tortoises is the hábitat of the big turtles, reptiles and birds whose rarity transforms them into exception animals. 
2.7 mineral resources 
South America possesses diverse mineral resources, many of which have not been exploited in its entirety. The locations are distributed by the whole region, but some areas of the subcontinent are famous in particular for their wealth mineralógica. The deposits of gold of you Walk them they have been exploited from before Columbus times. In the Central mountain range of Peru and in that of the south of Bolivia it is important the silver production and mercury from the colonial time and the wealth of their mineral locations: get paid, tin, lead and zinc. The copper is extracted of half dozen of locations in the south of Peru and north and center of Chile. Between Ciudad Bolívar and the north of Surinam -close of the northern riverbank of the solid one of the Guayanas -  extends a highly mineralized region that it contains bauxite, iron mineral and gold. The east of the central region of Brazil is specially rich in gold and diamond, exploited from the colonial time and whose extraction you continues at the present time. Although South America continues being the adult producing of strange metals, the big reservations of mineral of iron of high degree and the smallest reservations in bauxite are more important for the emergent one to be able to industrial of the subcontinent. 
South America lacks big reservations of coal. The coal is dispersed and in small locations in you Walk them and in the south of Brazil. The coal has been, mainly in Chile, Colombia and Brazil, an important fuel for the industry and the transport. However, another mineral energy, the petroleum, is very distributed. Most of the rich reservations of petroleum and natural gas of the subcontinent are in the willing structural basins along the riverbanks of you Walk them, from Venezuela until Earth of the Fire. The biggest locations are in the region of the lake of Maracaibo, in Venezuela. Other natural deposits are in the Oriental mountain range of you Walk them that it travels Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. They also possess locations of petroleum Argentina, Bolivia and, in smaller measure, Chile. 
3 population 
South America has more than 300 million inhabitants. Although the subcontinent represents little more than 12% of the terrestrial surface,  has less than the world population's 6%. However, the population has gone increasing in a considerable way on the whole, mainly in the tropical countries, and she has registered a high index of growth mainly in the urban population. From 1930 the immigration to South America has decreased to the minimum. Nevertheless, the internal migration has been very big, what has resulted in the concentration of important human groups in the periphery of the cities, while the regions of the interior were barely populated. Although, on the whole, the population's density is of 17 hab/km2, most of the population concentrates around the urban centers. More than half of their territory  has a density of less than 2 hab/km2. 

3.1 ethnology 
Although the population from South America possesses different ethnic inheritances, her main elements constitute it the natives and the descendants of Spaniards, Portuguese and black African, as well as the population with mixture of two or more than these elements. The racial spectrum taken place by the mixture of several groups is wide. That that more it characterizes South America they are the mestizos (Hispanic population's mixture and Portuguese with that of indigenous origin); they are less numerous the mulattos (Hispanics and Portuguese with black population) and they are still it less those of indigenous with black. The indigenous population is majority in the Andean countries. The descending population of Spaniards and other Europeans are more numerous in Argentina and Uruguay. In Brazil, the Portuguese is the predominant element, and the black groups and mulattos are more numerous in this region than in the rest of South America. The black population is also important in the Guayanas and in the coast of Colombia and Ecuador. 
The continuous flow of Spaniards and Portuguese to South America during the colonial time increased mainly in the century and half that continued to the independence, in the period understood among final of the XIX century and the decade of 1930, with the entrance of millions of Italian that you/they settled down mainly in Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. Small groups of other European nationalities also arrived, as German and Poles. Many of these European immigrants were hired mainly to carry out rural works, or as agricultural lessees in regions little populated of Argentina and Brazil. 
Some groups of these immigrants, as German, Italian and other, founded agricultural colonies. The German colonists established important colonies in the south and center of Chile. Other immigrants went toward the cities of the country that it welcomed them, and they augmented the manpower or they were devoted to activities in managerial sectors. Many also settled down in great number groups of non European origin, as Syrian and Lebaneses. The most numerous groups in Asian immigrants that arrived at the end of the XIX century came from the India, Indonesia and China; most settled down in the British Guayana (current Guyana) and in the Dutch Guayana (current Surinam), bound to work contracts after the abolition of the slavery. From 1900, important groups of Japanese colonists settled down in the south, north and northeast of Brazil. In Peru, from final of the XIX century, they also settled big groups of Chinese and Japanese. 
Although a conscience of the identity exists in terms of skin color and of the ethnic origin, they have not originated racial antagonisms so evident as in other places of the world. The South Americans in general attribute more importance to the differences of economic character and the desfases in the cultural and educational levels. 
3.2 demography 
The population from South America has increased more than twice as much between 1960 and 1990. Almost half of the population of the subcontinent  lives in Brazil. The average of the index of the population's growth came closer to 2,4 annual% between 1965 and 1990, although in Argentina and Uruguay the growth was slower. The population's increase is owed mainly to the natural growth; the index of natality is bigger than the 25‰, and the index of mortality around the 8‰. In many regions the rate of deaths has gone descending significantly during decades, while the high indexes of natality only show from very recent dates a tendency to the drop. The descent of the rate of natality won't reduce population's increment that will increase in what subtracts of the XX century, considerably because a great part of its inhabitants will be in reproductive age. In many countries, around half of the population it is smaller than 15 years. Only in Argentina, Uruguay and Chile the population's 60% has more than 15 years. 
The natural increment and the migration of the regions of the interior have increased the urban population yearly above 4%. In Argentina, Uruguay and Chile the growth has been more reduced, but in the tropical countries the cities have grown with great speed. In the urbanized countries -Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Venezuela - the population's 80% lives in urban centers, and in the less urbanized -Bolivia, Ecuador and Paraguay - less than the population's 60% it can be classified as urban. 
3.3 official and spoken languages 
Spanish is the official language of nine of the thirteen countries of the subcontinent. In Brazil the Portuguese is the official language; in Guyana, English; in Surinam, the Dutchman, and in the French Guayana, French. The three main indigenous languages are the Quechua one, the aymara and Guarani that are spoken by a great number of people. The population quechuahablante is distributed along you Walk them, among Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and the north of Argentina; the aymarahablantes is in the highland of Peru and Bolivia. Guarani is the official language of Paraguay, the same as Spanish. Also, numerous languages and native dialects exist in the Amazonia and in the south end of Chile. 
3.4 religion 
Almost the South American population's 90% professes the Catholic religion. Of the 11 million Protestants, most concentrates on Brazil and Chile, and the rest is very distributed in the other countries, mainly in urban centers. The 750.000 Jews from South America also spread to settle down in urban centers and they are very distributed: near the fourth three parts in Argentina and Brazil, and more than 10% in Uruguay and Chile. Between the Guyana and Surinam 550.000 Hindus, 400.000 Muslims and 375.000 Buddhists are distributed. The Catholic religion was established and diffused by the Spaniards and Portuguese at the beginning of the conquest. The Protestantism is a reflection of the later European immigration and of the missionary activity begun in the XIX century. The sects evangelical Americans have been specially active in the XX century. 
4 economy 
Of being historically a colonial area, clerk economically of the exports of agricultural and mineral products, South America has experienced from 1930 a remarkable growth and diversification in most of its economic sectors. After the II World War, the national politicians of substitution of imports (it manufactures national for cared articles) they reorganized the industry. The benefits of their express economic development were not redistributed in an equal way among the population's group, but rather  spread to accumulate more in the main cities and in their metropolitan areas, where the quality of life is in general much better than in the rural areas, the small cities and in the towns. 
4.1 agriculture 
Great part of the agricultural products and cattlemen are dedicated to the local consumption and the internal market. Nevertheless, the entrance of foreign currencies for the export of agricultural products is quite important in some South American countries. The treatment, the internal commercialization and the export of agricultural products occupy an outstanding part of the commercial activity and of the industry manufacturer. The agriculture, the fishing and the forestry represent 12% of the gross interior product (GDP) of the subcontinent. The agricultural activities use more than 30% of the manpower in Bolivia, Paraguay, Peru and Ecuador; between 20% and 30% in Colombia, Brazil and Guyana; and less than 20% in Surinam, Chile, Uruguay, Venezuela, Argentina and the French Guayana. 
The most intensive forms in the agricultural trade are carried out near the cities; the main products are the perishable ones: vegetables, fruits and milky products. The production of basic foods as tubers, corn or beans is dispersed. In many regions these cultivations are of subsistence and they are carried out on lands and unfavorable climates. The wheat and the rice demand lands and more appropriate climates. 
The industry of the meat of bovine dedicated to the internal consumption is very developed. Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Colombia are important countries in the breeding of bovine livestock for meat export. 
The tropical regions and those of temperate climate are devoted to the agriculture guided to the export, where they are favorable the arable lands and the access to the ports. The coffee is the most important tropical cultivation. Their production concentrates on high lands, mainly in the southeast of Brazil and in the central and western regions of Colombia. The cocoa is cultivated in the east of Brazil and in the central occident of Ecuador. In the whole tropic bananas and cane of sugar are cultivated going to the internal market. In Colombia and in the occident of Ecuador bananas are cultivated for the export; the traditional countries producing of sugar for the export are Peru, Guyana and Surinam. In the coast of Peru for decades cotton guided to the export is cultivated also. In the northeast and south of Brazil takes place cotton and cane of sugar going to the internal markets and for the export. From 1970, the soya (or soya)  has become an important cultivation for the export in the southern region. The cultivation of soya is less important in Argentina whose fertile prairies have been the biggest barn in the world and favorable areas for the livestock breeding. For Argentina, during more than half century they have been products of international trade the wheat, the corn, the linseed, the meat of bovine and the lamb, the skin and the wool. Uruguay also has long tradition in the trade of wool export and skin. 
4.2 forestry and  fishes 
50% of the surface of the region is covered with forests and surrounded of abundant seas in marine life; but the timber and fishing industries of the main South American countries are small and they are guided to the internal markets. However, hard wood and tropical fine wood are exported that come of the Amazonia, where talado big extensions of forests is had to transform them into fields for livestock and cultivation lands. Wood of pine of the south of Brazil is exported and of the south and center of Chile, besides wooden pulp. In Chile and Brazil considerable areas have been dedicated to plant forests dedicated to the trade. They have been historically important the big extensions of eucalyptus trees for firewood, wood and for the construction. 
The coastal waters of the South American Pacific are the most important for the commercial fishing. The capture represents thousands of tons of anchoveta in the Peruvian and Chilean costs. The tuna is fished in great volume in the costs of Peru and Ecuador; in smaller measure, the fishing of whales has also been undertaken. The capture of crustaceans is remarkable in Chilean waters, Brazilians and guyanesas. 
4.3 mining 
Great part of the mining production is dedicated to the export to great scale. The long history of control of the mining exploitation in South America on the part of foreign corporations is diminishing due to national political pressures. The main products in value and volume are the petroleum, the copper, the bauxite and the iron mineral, although the mining exports are vastly diversified. South America is the adult producing of lead, zinc, manganese and tin of the world. All the South American countries possess some type of mining production, but the petroleum and the gas of Venezuela they represent half of the total of the value of the production of the subcontinent. The mining production is of great importance in the national economy of several countries. The exports of Venezuela are based on the raw one, the refined petroleum and their derived; the dependence of the mineral exports is smaller in Surinam, Bolivia and Chile. Peru, and in recent years Ecuador, they have restarted with difficulty the sales of minerals. Such exports generate revenues to the public treasure, but the mining contributes very little to the gross national product (GNP) South American and to the employment. Nevertheless, the mineral products are important to increase the industrial diversification of the region. 
4.4 industry manufacturer 
At the end of the decade of 1970 the factories represented 25% of the GNP of South America, 20% more than in 1956, and for the first time it overcame in importance to the agriculture, to the trade and the finances. At the end of the decade of 1980, the industrial sector entered more than 30% of the GNP in Argentina, Venezuela, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Peru, Uruguay and Ecuador. 
The treatment of agricultural products continues being, nevertheless, the most extended and important economic activity, even in Argentina and Brazil that are the industrialized countries. The plants refinadoras of minerals are also important, although they are usually located near the mining locations. However, other industries are located in the vicinities of the big cities, as the refineries of petroleum, the steel plants of iron and steel, cement, factories and factories of consumption goods, as textile, drinks, motor vehicles, mechanical and electric teams, and plastics. 
The industrial development in the countries of South America has been low the state protection. Although many industries still operate with licenses or foreign patents, or as subsidiary of transnational companies, from 1930 the governments of the states have intervened directly in the heavy industry, as the siderometalúrgica, that of assembling of motor vehicles and the navies. In some countries the industries manufacturers are the sufficiently sophisticated ones as to produce tools, airplanes and military vehicles for the export. However, the industrial development of the region faces with many problems: reduced national markets, inadequate technology and nets of transport and insufficient distribution. 

4.5 energy 
The petroleum and the natural gas are the most important energy resources in South America. However, the oldest have been the firewood and the vegetable coal, very used to fuse iron and steel or to refine sugar. A great dependence of the petroleum exists and of the natural gas, because two countries of South America are only self-sufficient in these energy sources. The distribution necessities forced to build extensive systems of pipelines and gasoductos in Argentina, Venezuela and Colombia, as well as smaller systems in other places. Nevertheless, the main systems of pipelines of South America transport rawwer and gas to the export terminals that to the national markets. 
The coal whose reservations are not very important at the present time, was an energy used at the beginning in the development of the transport of rails and it dilutes and in the industry in Chile, Argentina, Brazil and Colombia, but a long time ago it lost its relevance like energy resource. In Brazil, the main fuel of automobiles is the derived alcohol of the cane of sugar. 
Only from the decade of 1950, the hydroelectric energy became the main alternative to the thermoelectric energy. The development of the hydroelectric energy began in Brazil, Chile and Colombia. The capacity of the hydroelectric power stations in operation constitutes today 60% of the electric potential in Paraguay, Brazil, Uruguay, Colombia and Bolivia. It is also important the hydroelectric energy in Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Surinam and Argentina, where the capacity of generated energy overcomes 40%. The hydroelectric development in chain goes from the small facilities that are used in the counties from the interior to the enormous facilities built in the high and half course of the Paraná, and in the high tract and I get off the river São Francisco. 
4.6 transport 
Although diverse forms of transport are used, from the most primitive to the most modern airplanes, the nets of highways and of railroads they are the most important for the quantity and load volume and transported passengers. The motor vehicle is the predominant element in the subcontinent. In Argentina, Brazil and Chile the railroad, the fluvial transport and the slab have a lot of importance; but in these countries the bus, the truck and the automobile still occupy a first order in the transport of passengers and of load. 
Nevertheless, the national and international air nets provide a system of more complete continental transport and for sure the one that is made by the net of highways, the strong lines or the fluvial ones. This is owed mainly to the shortage of populations inside the subcontinent; for example, the system of railroad lines that had ended in 1930, was guided to favor the transport between the interior and the port cities. The railroads and the net of highways are important only in the south of Brazil and in the Argentinean Pampas and, in smaller proportion, in the populous areas of Uruguay, Chile, Colombia and Ecuador. 
The construction of highways has been more intense from the decade of 1950. Venezuela and the Peruvian coast possess a good system of highways; in Paraguay and Bolivia, the infrastructure vial fewer developed is on the contrary. The Andean countries have gone building highways toward the interior for decades, and Brazil has enlarged its net toward the amazon basin. The national systems of highways, as the air ones, they have begun to accelerate the economic integration of the towns far from the interior with the heart of the industrial and commercial centers of several countries. 
4.7 trade 
The intercontinental trade of South America is carried out with United States, the European Union and Japan. The petroleum and their derived constitute the main components of this international trade. Brazil and Venezuela are located to the head as for the export trade, and the first one is leader in imports. The continental trade has been promoted from 1960 on the part of regional institutions of trade, the most important in them is the Latin American Association of Integration (ALADI). inside the continental commercial exchange the main products are the wheat, the meat of bovine, the wine and the bananas, and the commercial volume of manufactured articles has increased. However, the trade of export of agricultural products and of mining toward countries outside of the continent continues being more important than the one that it is distributed in the continental market. South America contributes significantly to the world trade of petroleum, copper, bauxite, coffee, fish flour and oleaginous seeds. The trade of these and other basic products is essential for the economic development of the whole region. 
In 1453, when the Turks completed the conquest of the Byzantine Empire and with it the control of the oriental Mediterranean, the western nations, mainly Portugal and Spain, they were forced to look for a new route to East. The Portuguese that had been pioneer when carrying out several trips for the ocean Atlantic, looked for toward the south the new route following the África coast, and in 1486 they arrived after New Esperanza. In 1492, Christopher Columbus tried to arrive in the India navigating toward West and crossing the ocean Atlantic, but he played earth in the current Antilles.  opened this way the doors from the New World to the civilization and the European trade. For further information on the before Columbus cultures of South America, to see Araucanian; Arawak; Archaeology: The American continent; Caribbean; Chibchas; Peru: History; Art and before Columbus architecture; Tiahuanaco; Obstruct-Guarani. 
With the return of Columbus to Europe, Spain and Portugal were implied in the controversy related with the rights on the lands of the New World. The dispute was solved by the potato Alejandro I SAW that awarded Portugal all the new territories to the east of a line that  reflected some 100 leagues (483 km), of north to south, to the west of the islands Goshawks and of the islands of Green End; and to Spain all the territories to the west of that line of Demarcation. This line demarcadora modified later in the Treaty of Tordesillas, for which Portugal acquired the sovereignty on the oriental territory of South America. This region would become the current Brazil later on. 
August of 1498, 1 during their third trip, Columbus arrived to a point of the outlet of the river Orinoco and it sighted the costs of South America. When traveling the coast during several days it distinguished the continental character of the explored earth. 
5.1 scanners poscolombinos 
Another European scanner that arrived to the subcontinent was the navigator Portuguese Pedro Álvares Cabral. In April of 1500, the fleet under its control anchored in the costs of the current Brazil and  took possession on behalf of Portugal. But the Portuguese that meantime had found a new route to the India navigating around África, they paid little attention to the territory explored by Cabral. Three decades must pass so that the Portuguese began their colonization. During this period, the Spaniards had intensified the exploration activities firmly and it conquers of the New World, being devoted the first twenty years to colonize the Antilles bigger than the sea Caribbean and the territories of Central America. Several navigators and scanners to the service of Spain visited the costs of the northeast of South America in the first years of the XVI century. They are worthy of mention, among other, the marine Vicente Yáñez Pinzón, Alonso of Ojeda and Pedro Alonso Niño; the navigator and Spanish geographer Juan of the Thing, and the navigator of Italian origin Américo Vespucio. In 1519, the Portuguese navigator Fernando Magallanes, to the service of the Spanish Crown that looked for a route then to East navigating toward the West, explored the estuary of the River of The Silver. The following year their search continued navigating toward the south. November 28 1520 crossed the strait that now takes their name, that that, in turn it allowed him to carry out the mission that had intended and  carried out the dream of countless navigators, to give the turn to the world, although  died in Filipinos before finishing the trip, for that that who indeed concluded the feat it was their lieutenant, the Spanish Juan Sebastián Elcano. 
5.2 exploration of the interior 
Paradoxically, the exploration and the systematic conquest of the interior of South America was begun by the Germans. In 1529, Bartolomé Welser received from the emperor Carlos V from Spain an immense territory in payment of the loans that had granted him. Welser sent an expedition immediately to that territory that  understood what is the current Venezuela. But seventeen years later the concession to Welser was revoked, in great measure for the extreme brutality that the German settlers used with the indigenous populations. 
The first European that penetrated with success toward the interior of the subcontinent was the Spanish conqueror Francisco Pizarro. In 1531, descending toward the south from Panama, it conquered the rich Empire of the Inca. In the five year-old lapse, by means of the use of the weapons and the betrayal, Pizarro ended up obtaining the control of that that understood the territories of the current Peru, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, south of Colombia and north of Argentina. Diego of Almagro, one of the men of Pizarro, Chile conquered. In 1534, Sebastián of Belalcázar, lieutenant of Pizarro, took possession of the Kingdom of I Remove. The conquest and colonization of the region that it skirts the River of the Silver were begun by Pedro of Mendoza in 1535. It founded an establishment with the name of Santa María of the Good Air in 1536. Between 1536 and 1538, Gonzalo Jiménez of Quesada subjected to the chibchas and Santafé of Bogotá, capital of the current Colombia was founded. In 1539, Gonzalo Pizarro, brother of Francisco, was in search of the route of the cinnamon, it crossed the you Walk and it arrived to the head of the river Amazons. One of their partners, Francisco of Orellana, navigated in 1541 I laugh below until his outlet in the ocean Atlantic. The previous year, for order of Francisco Pizarro, Pedro of Valdivia had continued the conquest of Chile, trying to conquer the resistance of the Araucanian Indians (the residents of the south of Chile). Valdivia Santiago was founded in 1541. Around 1530, the Portuguese had begun to establish populations in the oriental coast of South America. They provisionally occupied the whole territory that would be today's Brazil. 
5.3 of the XVI century to the XVIII one 
In 1600 numerous Spanish settlers they had settled down in a definitive way in South America. The viceroyalty of the Peru, created in 1542, and the diverse audiences, or territorial divisions in that the rest of the Spanish America was divided, they had possibility to be developed as powerful and rich colonies. Besides the locations of vastly productive minerals, mainly the mines of silver of Peru, there were other natural resources, as the wood and arable lands that were abundant in the Hispanic possessions. The agriculture and the livestock upbringing were flourishing activities, and the indigenous population and the black slaves represented an available manpower for the rich settlers. 
In the first half of the XVI century, impelled by the search of new rich lands, for the adventure or for the Christian interest of spreading the gospel among the natives, dozens of Spanish immigrants' thousands and Portuguese arrived mass to the domains of the American continent. Spain and Portugal, the new powers, received the support of the Catholic Church to consolidate their respective colonial empires. The Catholicism was the only religion admitted in the colonies, but the ecclesiastical politics was determined and controlled by the Crown. The Church and several of their religious orders they obtained many privileges and enormous extensions of lands in retribution for the services lent in the Christianization, education and the natives' pacification. 
At the end of the XVII century, Spain and Portugal they exercised the domain in all South America, except the Guayana that had been invaded and divided among Great Britain, France and Low Countries. However, the wars that had taken place in the course of the century had weakened the naval force of the Iberian powers seriously, and so much their coastal possessions in the New World like their merchant ships suffered the frequent attacks of the corsairs and English, French and Dutch pirates. 
One of the consequences of the loss of the treasures real Spaniards and Portuguese were the imposition of oppressive taxes on the colonies. The two metropolises that had monopolized the trade from the beginning in their colonies, also imposed more and more severe restrictions about the colonial economies, and this increased the difficulties and it caused the dissatisfaction of the inhabitants of the colonies. 
Along the XVIII century, the popular uneasiness in the Spanish colonies ended in numerous occasions in jumbled, especially in Paraguay, of 1721 at 1735, in Peru, of 1780 at 1782, and in New Granada, in 1781. 
The social inequalities constituted another cause of dissatisfaction between the population of the Spanish colonies and Portuguese. The peninsular ones born in the metropolis, when they were correspondents to the colonies they occupied the highest public positions. They usually belonged to the nobility, they maintained a pejorative attitude with other social groups and their maximum interest was only to accumulate wealth in the colonies and to return to Europe. The social group that was located below the peninsular ones was the compound for the Creoles, children of Spaniards born in America. Although to the Creoles the law gave them right to the same prerogatives of those that enjoyed the peninsular ones, in the practice these rights you incumplían, and most of the Creoles was excluded of the high civil and ecclesiastical positions. The hate to the peninsular ones made the Creoles to unite to the mestizos and mulattos. 

5.4 the wars of independence 
After three centuries of economic exploitation and social and political injustice, the South American colonies were convulsed by a powerful revolutionary movement. This that was directed basically by the Creoles and era of liberal character, was stimulated by the success that had achieved the rebellion of the British colonies in the north of the continent and for the French Revolution. 
In general, the fight for the political freedom in the Spanish America can be divided in two phases. During the first one, understood between 1810 and 1816, the viceroyalty of the River of The Silver (the current republics of Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay) it achieved the independence in a partial way; in the second phase, of 1816 at 1825, the colonies became independent totally of Spain. Among the most excellent characters in the fight for the freedom and the independence were also the eminent Francisco of Miranda and the liberator Simón Bolívar, both Venezuelans, and the Argentinean liberator José of San Martin. 
May 25 1810 the Creoles from Buenos Aires deposed the Spanish viceroy and they constituted an advice of provisional administration for the Counties Together of the River of The Silver. Although this advice was constituted on behalf of the king, it would not be restored the authority neither the Spanish genuineness. August of 1811, 14 the Paraguayans that had rejected the help of Buenos Aires, proclaimed their independence of Spain and, in 1813, they also constituted their provisional government. In 1814, José of San Martin began to organize an Army of patriots in the occident of Argentina whose mission would be to liberate Chile, and then to continue for sea toward Peru that was the true center of the Spanish power in the continent. In their victorious campaign of 1817-1818 to liberate Chile, San Martin received the revolutionary patriot's Bernardo O'Higgins valuable help. February 12 1817 San Martin's Ejército Libertador defeated to Spanish in the battle of Chacabuco, and that same day the independence of Chile was declared. To San Martin  was offered the new government's headquarters, but he gave up in favor of O'Higgins. With the defeat of the Spanish troops in Maipú, April of 1818, 5 the independence of Chile was insured and San Martin began to get ready to attack Peru. 
The following great victory of the wars of independence was achieved in Colombia. Bolivar, to the head of an Army of patriots and of soldiers to salary recruited in England, it defeated to the realistic troops August of 1819, 7 in the battle of Boyacá. While the fight still continued, in Narrowness (current Ciudad Bolívar)  met a congress to organize the state that the Great Colombia should call herself, and that  would understand the audience of New Granada (that then also included Panama) and, after its liberation, Venezuela and I Remove (Ecuador). later, Bolivar ended up being president and military governor. Although the independence of Venezuela had been declared July of 1811, 7 the colony it was recaptured by the realists. June of 1821 Bolivar 24 defeated to the Spanish Army in the battle of Carabobo, assuring the independence of Venezuela definitively. Antonio José of Sucre, lieutenant of Bolivar, directed the Ejército Libertador that conquered to the realistic forces in the battle of Pichincha, May of 1822, 24 sealing the independence of Ecuador. 
In September of 1820 San Martin's Army, composed by 6.000 men, disembarked in Pisco, in the south coast of Peru, and July 9 1821  entered in the capital, Lima. The independence of Peru was proclaimed July of that same year 28, but the realistic forces still maintained the control of great part of the country. For this circumstance, after the battle of Pichincha, Bolivar and Sucre they began to prepare a military expedition to support the patriots sieged in Peru. A contingent of advanced of this Army was defeated in 1823, but Bolivar and Sucre they left victorious in the battle of Junín, August of 1824, 6 and Sucre it conquered December of that same year 9 in the decisive battle of Ayacucho. Although the last forces realists were not expelled of Peru until January of 1826, the battle of Ayacucho it was the most important combat and the end of the fight for the independence of the colonies of Spain. The High Peru proclaimed its independence January of 1825, 5 and August of that same year 25  took the name of Bolivia in its liberator's honor. 
Brazil had achieved the independence of Portugal October of 1822, 12 but it maintained the monarchy up to 1889, year in that the republic settled down. To see Emancipation of Latin America. 
5.5 the problems of the XIX century 
At the end of the wars of independence, the new independent states arisen in South America were the Republic of the Great Colombia, Peru, Chile, the Counties Together of the River of The Silver (later Argentina), Paraguay and Bolivia. Between 1830 and 1832, the Great Colombia was divided in the sovereign states of Venezuela, Ecuador and New Granada. To 1903 New Granada that later would become in Colombia, it included Panama. This territory was dismembered by maneuvers desestabilizadoras promoted by United States when finding resistance on the part of Colombia for the construction of the channel of Panama. Uruguay, after some periods of Portuguese and Brazilian control, reached the sovereignty like state in 1828. 
In spite of the narrow cooperation during the revolutionary period, the Spanish colonies of South America didn't get the ideal of Bolivar of forming a confederation of nations, mainly for regional differences, the desmesurada geographical extension, insufficient communications, ambition personal and the political inexperience of many of their leaders, as well as the lack of democratic traditions. 
These last two characteristics would contribute decisively also to the political uncertainty of the new republics. The wealth and the political power were still in hands of the Church and in a handful of Creole families. The conservative and liberal political groups were combatted each other the same as Creoles and peninsular during the colonial time. The revolutions were very frequent, and some countries were subjected to military dictatorships for long periods. As consequence, the social and economic development of South America stagnated during the XIX century. Starting from 1900 the advance was quicker, mainly in Argentina, Brazil and Chile. 
The bordering problems were cause of bitter disputes often among the different nations that sometimes took them to the war. Among these it is necessary to mention the war of the Triple Alliance (Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay) against Paraguay, between 1864 and 1870, one of the cruellest that have taken place in the American continent. The population from Paraguay was so decimated that you/he/she took more than one century in recovering. Another important South American war was the war of the Pacific that faced Chile against Peru and Bolivia, in which these last ones lost territories in the coast of the Pacific, as Tacna and Arica. The war of the Chaco got rid between Paraguay and Bolivia from 1932 to 1935, as culmination of a long territorial dispute between both countries. 
The Doctrina Monroe, promulgated by United States in 1823, played an important part in the continent during the XIX century; in theory, this doctrine was developed in prevention of the European intervention in South America, but in the practice what allowed to this country was to exercise more and more influence on the new republics, in substitution of the Spanish Empire, mainly in the political and economic control. 
5.6 the XX century or the interventionism of United States 
In occasions, during the second half of the XIX century and principles of the XX one, the government from United States intervened actively in the South American matters. It was based on the theory that United States, as the most powerful nation in the continent, possessed a ' I dedicate manifiesto' to regulate the destination of the unstable republics of the south. Such a politics woke up the rejection and the antagonism of the countries of Latin America. To qualify this stage of the American diplomacy they were used diverse qualifying, as ' diplomacy of the dólar' and ' politics of the great garrote'. 
In 1933 president Franklin Delano Roosevelt announced that United States wanted to be a ' good vecino' of the countries of America, beginning this way the new American diplomacy of friendship and well-known cooperation as ' politics of good vecindad'. In both wars, most of the nations of the continent cooperated decisively with United States. During the II World War it was developed as much the military cooperation as the economic one. 
In 1960, six South American countries and Mexico they signed a treaty that created the Latin American Association of Free Trade (ALALC). the following year, president John F. Kennedy gave a new focus to the economic help for Latin America with the creation of the Alliance for the Progress. It was a program that  promised to carry out economic and social reformations in the American republics. In April of 1967 the countries members of the Alliance met in Tip of the East, Uruguay, to evaluate the advances and to reaffirm their commitment with the subscribed program. The most important point that  remembered the creation of a Market Common Latin American that would replace to the Latin American Association of Free Trade was. 
Toward 1971, ten years after the creation of the Alliance, problems arose for the decepcionantes, due to the population's unexpected increase, the growing unemployment and the persistent unequal distribution of the wealth and of the earth. At the beginning of the decade of 1980 these problems were increased in most of the South American countries because of the international economic recession, and the load of a foreign debt in continuous increase it drained the economic vitality of the region during the rest of the decade. 
In the decade of 1990 the perspectives improved for most of the countries of South America. The average of the gross national product (GNP) it increased more than 3% in the first half of the decade, and the high foreseen inflation level began to be controlled. In 1995, the creation of the commercial organization Mercosur (integrated by Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, although Chile and Bolivia acquired in 1997 the condition of associate members)  tried to help to the economies of the subcontinent to achieve the self-sufficiency. However, the most promising feature is maybe the rejection of the countries from South America to the military dictatorships and the impulse in democratic governments' favor. 
For more information on the political history of the diverse countries of South America, to see the individual articles of each one of them. See you also American Organization of States (OAS); Pan Americanism; Pan-American union.



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