South America is one of the most diverse and most culturally intriguing continents on the planet. It is home to miles of rainforest and possesses some of the world’s most important historic artefacts. What’s more, it intersects the equator perfectly, making it a fantastic holiday destination. There is certainly more to South America than you might assume if you’ve never been before!
Whether you’ve been to this part of the world before, or are just keen to learn more about the continent, here are a few interesting facts about South America to help whet your appetite.
- Many people will know that some of the most commonly-spoken languages in South America are English, Portuguese and Spanish. However, did you know that there are more than 300 languages, it’s thought, still spoken at any given time on the continent?
- In fact, it’s thought that around 180 different languages are spoken in Brazil alone.
- South America is home to some of the biggest cities in the world. In fact, five of the biggest cities on the globe are here – Rio, Lima, Santiago, Sao Paulo and Bogota.
- South America plays host to the longest mountain range on the planet. That range is, of course, the Andes, which you will find stretches a mind-boggling 4,500 miles.
- The highest peak on the continent can be found in Argentina. It’s Cerro Aconcagua, and it’s around 22,832 feet above sea level.
- Puerto Williams, Chile is home to the most southern city in the world. It used to be Ushuaia in Argentina.
- The highest waterfall in the world is in South America, too. Venezuela’s Angel Falls cascade 2,648 feet.
- The Amazon rainforest is a fantastic, biodiverse location for thousands and thousands of species. In fact, it’s thought that more than 40% of animals and plant life can be found in this one location! It is constantly under threat of deforestation, too, which is why there have been so many big pushes to safeguard it.
- Brazil is home to 21 UNESCO World Heritage Sites at present, though Peru has 12 to its name, which does of course include the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu.
- Brazil is also home to the largest city in South America – Sao Paulo, with a population of 12.18 million (2018). To put this in context, London had a population of 8.9 million in 2018. Put another way – Sao Paulo is home to more people than populate the countries of New Zealand, Mauritius and Ireland combined!
- There are around 390 million people who live in South America. However, that compares to around 579 million people who live in North America, and a staggering 741 million who live in Europe!
- South America is responsible for a fifth of all the world’s oxygen. That’s all the more reason to protect the forestry!
- If you keep guinea pigs as pets, be sure to get someone to look after them if you holiday in Bolivia or Ecuador. In these regions – as well as elsewhere on the continent – they are a tasty treat!
- It’s thought that traces of early human life dating back 11,000 years can be found here.
- The Atacama Desert is the driest desert in the world which isn’t found at either of the poles.
- 90% of people in South America identify as Christians.
- Around 75% of electricity used by homes and businesses in Paraguay come from hydroelectrics. The Itaipu Dam, based in Paraguay, also offers 17% of Brazil’s electricity.
- At over 10,000 square kilometres, The Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia are the largest salt flats in the world. It was recently a location for filming the Star Wars movie, The Last Jedi. It’s also used as a breeding ground for flamingos.. who knew?!
Do you know any interesting or fun facts about South America? Share them here in the comments section below!
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