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SOUTH AMERICA

South America always caught my atention. It is a continent that has a lot of thing to visit, where you can learn a lot of thing and experiment things that you only can experiment over there. Also for me is easier to travel around South America since in most of the countries spanish is spoken as first language. In South America there are a lot of unic thing to visit, as the Mayan, Azteca, Inca culture, some of the 7 new wonders of the world, as Chichen Iztxa, and Machu Pichu, the longest waterfall in the world and the biggest river in the world, the Amazon, but also incredibles cultures and much more, don't miss South America and all the information that you can find here about it.

Countries:

Argentina
Bolivia
Brazil
Chile
Colombia
Ecuador
Falkland Islands
French Guiana
Guyana
Paraguay
Peru
Suriname
Uruguay
Venezuela


South America is the southern continent of the Americas, situated entirely in the Western Hemisphere and mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east by the Atlantic Ocean; North America and the Caribbean Sea lie to the northwest.

South America was named in 1507 by cartographers Martin Waldseemüller and Matthias Ringmann after Americo Vespuccio, who was the first European to suggest that the Americas were not the East Indies, but a New World unknown to Europeans.

The rise of agriculture and the subsequent appearance of permanent human settlements allowed for the multiple and overlapping beginnings of civilizations in South America.

The earliest known settlements, and culture in South America and the Americas altogether, are the Valdivia on the Southeast coast of Ecuador.

One of the earliest known South American civilization was at Norte Chico, on the central Peruvian coast. Though a pre-ceramic culture, the monumental architecture of Norte Chico is contemporaneous with the pyramids of Ancient Egypt. The Chavín established a trade network and developed agriculture by 900 BC, according to some estimates and archaeological finds. Artifacts were found at a site called Chavín de Huantar in modern Peru at an elevation of 3,177 meters. Chavín civilization spanned 900 BC to 300 BC.

The Muisca were the main indigenous civilization in what is now modern Colombia. They established a confederation of many clans, or cacicazgos, that had a free trade network among themselves. They were goldsmiths and farmers.

Other important Pre-Columbian cultures include: Moche (100 BC – 700 AD, at the northern coast of Peru); Tiuahuanaco or Tiwanaku (100 BC – 1200 AD, Bolivia); the Cañaris (in south central Ecuador), Paracas and Nazca (400 BC – 800 AD, Peru); Wari or Huari Empire (600 – 1200, Central and northern Peru); Chimu Empire (1300 – 1470, Peruvian northern coast); Chachapoyas; and the Aymaran kingdoms (1000 – 1450, Bolivia and southern Peru).

Holding their capital at the great cougar-shaped city of Cusco, the Inca civilization dominated the Andes region from 1438 to 1533. Known as Tawantin suyu, or "the land of the four regions," in Quechua, the Inca civilization was highly distinct and developed. Inca rule extended to nearly a hundred linguistic or ethnic communities, some 9 to 14 million people connected by a 25,000 kilometer road system. Cities were built with precise, unmatched stonework, constructed over many levels of mountain terrain. Terrace farming was a useful form of agriculture.

In 1494, Portugal and Spain, the two great maritime powers of that time, on the expectation of new lands being discovered in the west, signed the Treaty of Tordesillas, by which they agreed that all the land outside Europe should be an exclusive duopoly between the two countries.

The Treaty established an imaginary line along a north-south meridian 370 leagues west of Cape Verde Islands, roughly 46° 37' W. In terms of the treaty, all land to the west of the line (known to comprehend most of the South American soil) would belong to Spain, and all land to the east, to Portugal. As accurate measurements of longitude were impossible at that time, the line was not strictly enforced, resulting in a Portuguese expansion of Brazil across the meridian.

Beginning in the 1530s, the people and natural resources of South America were repeatedly exploited by foreign conquistadors, first from Spain and later from Portugal. These competing colonial nations claimed the land and resources as their own and divided it into colonies.

European infectious diseases—to which the native populations had no immune resistance—and systems of forced labor, such as the haciendas and mining industry's mita, decimated the native population under Spanish control.

African slaves were brought in large quantities for several centuries for a number of reasons, both political and economical; however, it was mainly because they were much better fitted than the American natives for hard labor in tropical climate such as sugar cane plantations or gold mining.

The Spaniards were committed to convert their native subjects to Christianity and were quick to purge any native cultural practices that hindered this end; however, most initial attempts at this were only partially successful, as native groups simply blended Catholicism with traditional idolatry and their polytheistic beliefs. Furthermore, the Spaniards did impose their language to the degree they did their religion, although the Roman Catholic Church's evangelization in Quechua, Aymara, and Guaraní actually contributed to the continuous use of these native languages albeit only in the oral form.

Eventually, the natives and the Spaniards interbred, forming a mestizo class. Essentially all of the mestizos of the Andean region were offspring of Amerindian mothers and Spanish fathers. Mestizos and the Indian natives were often forced to pay extraordinary taxes to the Spanish crown and were punished more harshly for disobeying the law.

Many native artworks were considered pagan idols and destroyed by Spanish explorers; this included many gold and silver sculptures and other artifacts found in South America, which were melted down before their transport to Spain or Portugal.

Guyana was a Portuguese, Dutch, and eventually a British colony. The country was once partitioned into three, each being controlled by one of the colonial powers until the country was finally taken over fully by the British.

The South American possessions of the Spanish Crown won their independence between 1804 and 1826 in the South American Wars of Independence. Simón Bolívar of Venezuela and José de San Martín of Argentina were the most important leaders of the independence struggles. Bolívar led a great uprising in northern South America, then led his army southward towards Lima, the capital of the Viceroyalty of Peru. Meanwhile, San Martín led an army from the Viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata across the Andes Mountains, meeting up with General Bernardo O'Higgins in Chile, and then marched northward to gain the military support of various rebels from the Viceroyalty of Peru. The two armies finally met in Guayaquil, Ecuador, where they cornered the Royal Army of the Spanish Crown and forced its surrender.

In the Portuguese colony of Brazil, Dom Pedro I, son of the Portuguese King Dom João VI, proclaimed the country's independence in 1822 and became Brazil's first Emperor. This was peacefully accepted by the crown in Portugal.

Although Bolivar attempted to unify politically the Spanish-speaking parts of the continent into the "Gran Colombia", they rapidly became independent states without political connections between them, despite some later attempts such as the Peruvian-Bolivian Confederation.

A few countries did not gain independence until the 20th century:

Guyana, from the United Kingdom, in 1966
Suriname, from Dutch control, in 1975
French Guiana remains part of France.

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