South America
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Venezuela

Population: 28,121,688 inhabitants
Land surface: 912,050 km2
Currency: Venezuelan Bolivar
GDP per capita: US$ 6,632
Language: Spanish
Official name: República Bolivariana de Venezuela.
Capital: Caracas 3,226,000 inhabitants (2003).
Other cities (inhabitants – 2000): Maracaibo 1,847,000 inhabitants; Valencia 1,719,500; Barquisimeto 1,027,700; Ciudad Guayana 748,200.
Government: presidential system
Religion: predominantly catholic 92.7%.

  Geography. Venezuela has three natural regions. First, the Andes and other non- Andean ranges to the west and north, as well as important elevations in the south. The center, occupied by the Llanos del Orinoco, is a livestock area. And finally in the southeast, ancient massifs covered by sandstone rocks extend until the borders with Brazil and Guyana (Venezuelan Guayana). This is a region that is sparsely populated, with jungles, savannahs and rivers. Peculiarities of the region are the tepuis (plateau mountains) and the strange abysses of Sarisariñama. Most of the population is concentrated in the northern mountains. The most important oil fields are in: the Lake Maracaibo (State of Zulia), the Orinoco River Basin (States of Delta Amacuro, Monagas and Guarico), the Falcón Basin (State of Falcon), the Apure-Barinas Basin (States of Apure and Barinas) and the Cariaco Basin (State of Sucre). In the Gulf of Paria and the center of the State of Anzoategui, there are significant reserves of natural gas. Besides oil, the country has deposits of iron ore, bauxite, manganese, tungsten, gold, diamonds and chromium.


Colombia

Population: 46,741,096 inhabitants
Land surface: 1,138,910 km2
Currency: Colombian Peso
GDP per capita: US$ 7,304
Language: Spanish
Official name: República de Colombia.
Capital: Bogota 7,290,000 inhabitants (2003).
Other cities (inhabitants – 2000): Medellin 2,962,900; Cali 2,732,300; Barranquilla 1,841,700; Cartagena 837,600.
Government: presidential.
Religion: Catholicism is the official religion, to which 93% of the population adheres to; there is also liberty of cults.

   Geography. The great Andes crosses the country from north to south and is divided into three branches: the Western Cordillera, next to the Pacific; the Central and the Eastern, separated by the wide valleys of Cauca and Magdalena. The swampy delta of the Magdalena opens to the north of the Andes; the Pacific plain to the west, and the forest and savannah plains, which stretch until the Orinoco and Amazon, to the east. This configuration results in a wide and varied climate: from the frozen lands of the Andean peaks to tropical climate of the Amazonia. The population is concentrated in the Andean, which is a temperate region. Coffee is the main legal export, probably overcome by the illegal sale of cocaine, which is processed from coca leaves harvested in Peru and Bolivia. The Colombian subsoil contains deposits of oil, coal, gold, platinum, silver and emeralds. Coca plantations in Colombia increased by almost 25 % by 2001, from 33,600 hectares to a total of 169,800 hectares.


Peru

Population: 28,221,492 inhabitants Land surface: 1,285,220 km2
Currency: Sol
GDP per capita: US$ 6,039
Language: Spanish and Quechua
Official name: República del Perú.
Capital: Lima 7,899,000 inhabitants (2003).
Other cities (inhabitants – 2000): Arequipa 720,400; Trujillo 590,200; Chiclallo 481,100; Cuzco 279,600.
Government: presidential
Religion: Catholic (official and predominant), also with syncretic expressions associated with indigenous beliefs.

   Geography. The Andes divide the country into three regions. The coast is desert-like but has large commercial plantations based on an artificial irrigation that is historically the most modern and westernized. Half of the population is concentrated n the mountains, between two branches of the Andes. Many of the farmers there continue to organize themselves into ayllus (communities) of the inkaicas roots. They practice a self-subsistence farming (corn and potatoes). The grazing of llamas and alpacas has retreated to the higher areas, due to the advance of mining and commercial sheep farming. The region consists of the eastern Amazonian lowlands, is a sparsely populated area, and has tropical climate and jungle vegetation. Peru is one of the largest producers of coca plant with energy and medicinal properties, commonly used in the indigenous culture, with which cocaine is produced artificially.


   1. Indicate which country the statement refers to: Venezuela, Colombia or Peru.
 

It is the most populous country

 

It is a great producer of coca

 

The capital is Caracas

 

It is the largest country

 

It has illegal sale of cocaine

 

It has the highest GDP per capita

 

The capital is Lima

 

Coffee is its main legal product

 

It has the Plains of the Orinoco

 

The capital is Bogota

 

Its plantations have artificial irrigation

 

It has oil reserves

 

Brazil


Population: 194,227,983 inhabitants
Land surface: 8,547,400 km2
Currency: Real
GDP per capita: US$ 8,402 Language: Portuguese
Official name: República Federativa do Brasil.
Capital: Brasilia 3,099,000 inhabitants (2003).
Other cities (inhabitants – 2000): São Paulo 17,800,000; Rio de Janeiro 10,600,000; Belo Horizonte 4,310,100; Salvador 3,095,100; Porto Alegre 3,576,500; Recife 3,377,600.
Government: presidential Religion: predominantly Catholic, though often mixed with cults of African origin, in syncretic religious forms (Macumba, Umbanda and Candomblé).

  Geography. There are five distinguishable regions in the country. The Amazon, located in the north, consists of plains covered by equatorial forests and crossed by large rivers. In the highlands of the Carajás is one of the largest mineral formations in the world (iron, manganese, copper, nickel and bauxite). The economy is basically based on extracts. In the northeast, the hinterland consists of crystalline plateaus, with a semi- arid climate and sparse vegetation where livestock predominates. The most humid littoral belt (Zona da Mata) has plantations of sugar cane and cacao. The southeast is known for its great economic development. Its topography is composed by extensive plateaus, blocked on the east by the sierra of the Sea. The main agricultural products of the region are coffee, cotton, corn and sugar cane. The south includes the Southern plateau, which has a subtropical climate and is the main agricultural area with coffee, soybeans, corn and wheat. At the southern end, there are important cattle ranching activities conducted in the Gaucho countryside. Finally, the Midwest consists of vast plains, where livestock is predominant.


Chile

Population: 16,802,953 inhabitants

Land surface: 756,630 km2

Currency: Chilean Peso

GDP per capita: US$ 12,027

Language: Spanish

Official name: República de Chile.

Capital: Santiago 5,478,000 inhabitants (2003).

Other cities (inhabitants – 2000): Concepción 963,800; Valparaíso 888,300; Viña del Mar 356,800; Temuco 280,200.

Government: presidential

Religion: Catholic, 77%, Protestant, 13%

  Geography. Chile is limited by the Andes Mountains to the east and by the Pacific Ocean to the west. The country is shaped like a narrow strip that at no point exceeds 360 km wide, while from north to south measures 4,200 km. This extension explains the succession of climates and landscapes. Under the influence of cold currents, the north is deserted, where there are major copper mines and nitrate. Chile is the largest producer and exporter of copper in the world. The central region is of temperate climate and is suitable for agriculture. 65% of the population is concentrated here.


Argentina

Population: 39,934,110 inhabitants

Land surface: 2,780,400 km2

Currency: Argentinian Peso
GDP per capita: US$ 14,280

Language: Spanish
Official name: República Argentina.
Capital: Buenos Aires 3,047,000 inhabitants (2003); metropolitan area 13,047,000 inhabitants (2003).
Other cities (inhabitants – 2000): Córdoba 1,521,700; Rosario 1,339,100; Mendoza 957,400; La Plata 813,800.
Government: presidential system
Religion: Catholic (92%, official), Protestant, Evangelical, Jewish and Islamic minorities.

  Geography. The Andes Mountains unfold west of Argentina, which crosses the entire country from north to south. In the sub-Andean region there is a succession of an oasis of an irrigation-based agriculture: sugar cane, citrus (in the north) and vine (in the center). Plains extend to the east of the Andes: the Chaco plain in the north, with subtropical vegetation and cotton crops; the Pampa plain with fertile and deep soils in the center, and a temperate climate, where sheep and cattle ranching and agriculture of wheat, corn, soybeans and forages develop. Patagonia is a low, arid and cold plateau in the south. It has steppe vegetation where sheep is extensively raised and oil extracted. Argentina claims sovereignty over the Falkland Islands, located in the South Atlantic, in front of Tierra del Fuego, as well as a section of Antarctica having a total area of 1,250,000 km2.


   2. Indicate to which country the statement refers to: Brazil, Chile or Argentina

Its economy is basically extractive

 

The capital is Santiago

 

It is the most populous country

 

It reclaims the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands

 

It is the largest country

 

The country is a narrow strip

 

The capital is Brasilia

 

It has the highest GDP per capita

 

The capital is Buenos Aires

 

It is the largest producer of copper

 

Patagonia is an arid and cold plateau

 

Bolivia

Population: 9,694,231 inhabitants
Land surface: 1,098,580 km2
Currency: Bolivian Boliviano
GDP per capita: US$ 2,819
Language: Spanish
Official name: República de Bolivia.
Capital: Sucre with 212,000 inhabitants is the Constitutional capital and headquarters of the Judiciary power. La Paz 1,477,000 inhabitants (2003), including El Alto with 766,100 inhabitants, which since 1988 was established as a separate city and is the seat of the government.
Other cities (inhabitants – 2000): Santa Cruz 1,089,400; Cochabamba 558,500.
Government: presidential
Religion: predominantly Catholic 95%.

  Geography. Bolivia does not have a coastline. There are three distinguishable natural regions: The plateau, with an average altitude of 4,000 m has a dry and cold climate, and houses most of the population. The country’s wealth is based on its minerals: tin, gold, silver, zinc, lead, tungsten and copper. The Bolivian Yungas and the valleys on the eastern slopes of the Andes have a subtropical climate and make up the main area for the production of coffee, cocoa, sugar cane, soybeans, citrus fruits, bananas and coke. In the tropical lowlands in the east and the north, which is a region full of forests and savannas, cattle farming is practiced while rice, soybean and sugarcane are grown. There are also deposits of hydrocarbons. Bolivia is geographically divided into three basins: Lake Titicaca (in the plateau), the Amazon River in the north and the Rio de la Plata in the south.


Ecuador

Population: 13,481,180 inhabitants

Land surface: 283,560 km2

Currency: US Dollar

GDP per capita: US$ 4,341

Language: Spanish and Quechua

Official name: República del Ecuador.

Capital: Quito 1,451,000 inhabitants (2003).

Other cities (inhabitants – 2000): Guayaquil 2,627,900; Cuenca 271,400; Machala 211,300.

Government: presidential

Religion: predominantly Catholic 95%.

   Geography. The country has three natural distinguishable regions: the coast, the mountains and the east. More than half of the population lives on the coast, where export crops predominate: bananas, cocoa, rice and coffee. Subsistence farming dominates in the mountains, between two branches of the Andes Mountains. The archipelago of Columbus, or the Galapagos Islands, belongs to Ecuador.


Paraguay

Population: 6,238,376 inhabitants
Land surface: 406,750 km2
Currency: Guaraní
GDP per capita: US$ 4,642
Language: Spanish and Guaraní
Official name: República del Paraguay.
Capital: Asunción 1,639,000 inhabitants (2003).
Other cities (inhabitants – 2000): Ciudad del Este 254,300; San Lorenzo 224,900; Lambaré 167,900; Fernando de la Mora 160,300.
Government: presidential
Religion: predominantly Catholic. Protestant groups.

   Geography. Paraguay does not have a coastline neither on the Atlantic or the Pacific oceans. It is located in the center of the Rio de la Plata and is divided by the Paraguay River into two natural regions: the eastern, with plains watered by the Paraguay and Parana rivers as well as jungle vegetation. It has large agricultural production (besides soy, which is its main export, there is production of wheat, corn and tobacco). The western region, the Chaco Boreal, is the driest, has savannah, and is the region where cotton is grown and livestock are raised.


Uruguay

Population: 3,350,454 inhabitants
Land surface: 176,220 km2
Currency: Uruguayan Peso
GDP per capita: US$ 9,962
Language: Spanish
Official name: República Oriental del Uruguay.
Capital: Montevideo 1,237,000 inhabitants (1999).
Other cities (inhabitants – 2000): Salto 86,600; Paysandú 76,400; Las Piedras 70,700; Rivera 69,400; Maldonado 40,600.
Government: presidential system
Religion: Catholics, 66%; Protestants, 2%; Jews, 2%. These percentages do not exclude the participation of most of the population of Afro-Brazilian rituals.

  Geography. Uruguay has a territory full of hills. Its topography is an extension of the foothills of southern Brazil, belonging to an ancient massif, the Brazilian Guayánico. Its average altitude is 300 meters above sea level, which together with its location and latitude, explain its warm and humid subtropical climate with rainfall distributed throughout the year. There is an almost continuous vegetative cover of natural pastures, suitable for raising cattle and sheep. Its territory, well watered by numerous streams, presents more than 1,100 kilometers of navigable waters, especially the Black and Uruguay rivers as well as on the estuary of the Plata. The coast also offers a succession of sandy beaches that attract many tourists.


   3. Indicate which country the statement refers to: Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay or Uruguay

Its plateau is 4,000 meters

 

The capital is Montevideo

 

Half of its population lives on the coast

 

It exports soybean

 

The capital is Quito

 

Its average altitude is 300 meters

 

It is the most populous country

 

It grows cotton

 

It is the largest country

 

The capital is La Paz

 

It has sandy beaches

 

The capital is Asuncion

 

It exports bananas and cocoa

 

It is very rich in tin

 

It has the highest GDP

 

    4. Other countries in South America:

Country Population Extension, km2 Capital Currency Language
French Guiana 206.972 90.000 Cayenne Euro French
Suriname 460.530 163.270 Paramaribo Surinamese Dollar Dutch
Aruba 103.530 190 Oranjestad Aruban Florin Dutch

   5. Indicate the capital of the following countries:

Peru

 

Brazil

 

Bolivia

 

Venezuela

 

Argentina

 

Paraguay

 

Colombia

 

Chile

 

Ecuador

 

Uruguay

 




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