Continent (4th in size), Western Hemisphere, comprising greater part of Latin America; 6,880,706 sq. mi. (17,821,029 sq. km.); ab. 4500 mi. (7240 km.) N to S and 3200 mi. (5150 km.) at max. width; pop. (2005e) 369,016,900.
On N, Caribbean Sea; chief inlets: Gulf of Darien, Gulf of Venezuela and Lake Maracaibo, Gulf of Paria; northernmost point, Point Gallinas in Colombia, 12°25′N; chief islands: Curaçao and Bonaire of Netherlands Antilles, Aruba, Margarita, and Trinidad and Tobago. On NE and E, Atlantic Ocean; chief inlets: mouth of Amazon, estuary of Río de la Plata, and in Argentina, Bahía Blanca, and San Matías Gulf and San Jorge Gulf; easternmost point, Point Coqueiros, just N of Recife, Brazil, 7°38′S, 34°47′W; off Brazil E of Cape São Roque is Fernando de Noronha I. and E of S extremity of Argentina lie the Falkland Is. On S, Drake Passage; Strait of Magellan borders on extreme S of mainland; to the S is large island of Tierra del Fuego and many adjacent smaller islands, incl. Horn I. on which is Cape Horn, generally considered the southernmost point of South America, 56°S; southernmost point of mainland is Cape Froward, S point of Brunswick Penin., Chile, 53°54′S. On W, Pacific Ocean; chief inlets: Corcovado Gulf and Gulf of Guayaquil; westernmost point, Point Pariñas, Peru, 81°20′W; islands: Galápagos Is., 600 mi. (965 km.) off Ecuador coast. On NW, Panama, republic and isthmus, connecting with Central America.
On W side bordering the Pacific for entire length of continent are the Andes (q.v.); highest point Aconcagua 23,834 ft. (7265 m.). Other ranges: in N, chiefly in Venezuela and on border bet. Venezuela and the Guianas (on N) and Brazil (on S), the Serras Curupira, Parima, and Acaraí, and the Tumuc-Humac Mts.; in E, the highland of Brazil (Goiás, Minas Gerais, Bahia, São Paulo, and Paraná states) and the Planalto do Mato Grosso; and in S the mountains in Córdoba prov., Argentina. Lowland regions are known as the llanos in the N, the selvas of the Amazon, and the pampas of the Paraná basin; the Gran Chaco is the swamp region of the S cen. part.
Amazon in N Brazil with headstreams in Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia and many large tributaries; Orinoco in the N (Venezuela and Colombia), connecting with Rio Negro of the Amazon system through the Casiquiare; Magdalena in Colombia, Essequibo in Guyana; in E, Paranaíba and São Francisco in E Brazil; in S, Uruguay (bet. Uruguay, Argentina, and Brazil), the Paraná system, with its two large headstreams the Alto Paraná and the Paraguay, and many tributaries, and in cen. and S Argentina the Salado, Negro, and Chubut; in W, in the Andes many short streams.
Lake Titicaca (Peru and Bolivia), one of the highest large lakes in the world (alt. 12,500 ft. or 3810 m.); Poopó in Bolivia, Lagõa dos Patos in S Brazil, Lagoa Mirím in Uruguay and Brazil, Mar Chiquita in cen. Argentina; many resort lakes in S Andes, esp. Nahuel Huapí, Todos los Santos, Llanquihue.
Argentina, Aruba, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Falkland Is., French Guiana, Guyana, Netherlands Antilles (Bonaire and Curaçao), Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
Fourth-largest continent, the southern of the two continents of America, in the Western Hemisphere, connected to North America by the isthmus of...
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