South America Website and sovereign states

1. Venezuela

  • Biographical:
  • ◦Colonized by Spain in 1522, however pre-Columbian societies are said to have been inhabiting the area as early as 15,000 years ago.
  • ◦Francisco de Miranda declared Venezuelan independence on July 5, 1811. Miranda was a veteran of both the American and French revolutions.
  • ◾This was later crushed due to an earthquake in 1812 and actual independence was not achieved until July 23, 1823
  • ◦Slavery in Venezuela ended in 1854
  • ◦Large Oil Deposits found in the 20th century brought much manufacturing and money to the country through its later history.
  • ◦A revolution of the more left-wing party in Venezuela, called the Bolivarian put Hugo Chavez into power until his passing in 2013, leading to the current president Nicolas Maduro
  • Geographical:
  • ◦occupies most of the northern coast of South America and the nearest body of water is the Caribbean Sea.
  • ◦bordered by Brazil, Guyana, Colombia, and the West Indies and slightly more than double of California’s and size.
  • ◦Venezuela’s regions are divided by mountain range into four major sectors: Guiana highlands, Orinoco basin, Maracaibo lowlands, and the Andes mountains.
  • Cultural:
  • ◦population is consisted of mixed (European/Native), white(Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese), black (Afro Caribbean), and Indian (Native Americans).
  • ◦92% Roman Catholic, 8% Protestant
  • ◦Common dishes are empanadas, cachapas, and arepas. Fruit drinks are also extremely popular.
  • Political:
  • ◦The current president is Nicolas Maduro, who resides in Venezuela’s capital city, Caracas.
  • ◦Is a Federal Republic with five branches: judicial, executive, electoral, citizen, and legislative.
  • ◦Political parties: United Socialist Party of Venezuela, Mesa de la Unidad Democrática, and Fatherland for All.
  • Places of Interest:
  • ◦Angel Falls, Coro (town), Mochima National Park, National Pantheon of Venezuela, and Caracas Cathedral.
  • Additional Websites:
  • National Geographic, Insider Monkey, Every Culture, Venezuela Analysis

2. Brazil

  • Biographical:
  • ◦Portugal’s territory starting in 1500.
  • ◦In 1822 Brazil declared independence from Portugal.
  • ◦Most of the country was ruled by dictatorship or military rule.
  • Geographical:
  • ◦Almost half of the land in South America making it the largest nation.
  • ◦Divided into highlands and river basin.
  • ◦3,265,059 sq mi.
  • Cultural:
  • ◦Considered a melting pot of Native, African American and European influence.
  • ◦80% Roman Catholic faith.
  • ◦Large focus on the family and this usually consists of many people.
  • Political:
  • ◦Dilma Rousseff current President as of 2011.
  • ◦Government: Federal Republic
  • Places of Interest:
  • ◦Christ the Redeemer
  • ◦Iguazu Falls
  • ◦Rio Carnival
  • Additional Websites:

3. Argentina

  • Biographical:
  • ◦First explored in 1516 by Juan Diaz de Solis, Argentina developed slowly under Spanish colonial rule. Buenos Aires was settled in 1580; the cattle industry was thriving as early as 1600.
  • ◦The Argentinians set up their own government in 1810. On July 9, 1816, independence was formally declared.
  • ◦On March 24, 1976, a military junta led by army commander Lt. Gen. Jorge Rafael Videla seized power and imposed martial law.
  • Geographical:
  • ◦Second in South America only to Brazil in size and population, Argentina is a plain, rising from the Atlantic to the Chilean border and the towering Andes peaks.
  • ◦South of that are the rolling, fertile Pampas, which are rich in agriculture and sheep-and cattle-grazing and support most of the population.
  • ◦Further south is Patagonia, a region of cool, arid steppes with some wooded and fertile sections.
  • Cultural:
  • ◦Initial greetings are formal and follow a set protocol of greeting the eldest or most important person first.
  • ◦A standard handshake, with direct eye contact and a welcoming smile will suffice.
  • ◦The Argentine constitution guarantees religious freedom.
  • ◦Roman Catholicism acts as the official state religion.
  • ◦Other world religions, notably Islam, are gaining a foothold within the country during the last ten to fifteen years.
  • Political:
  • ◦President: Mauricio Macri
  • ◦Republic
  • Places of Interest:
  • ◦Iguazu Falls
  • ◦Glaciar Perito Moreno
  • ◦Cementerio de la Recoleta
  • ◦Ushuaia
  • Additional Websites:

4. Uruguay

  • Biographical:
  • ◦Prior to European settlement, Uruguay was inhabited by indigenous people, the Charrúas.
  • ◦Juan Díaz de Solis, a Spaniard, visited Uruguay in 1516, but the Portuguese were first to settle it when they founded the town of Colonia del Sacramento in 1680.
  • ◦A decline began in the 1950s as successive governments struggled to maintain a large bureaucracy and costly social benefits. Economic stagnation and left-wing terrorist activity followed.
  • Geographical:
  • ◦Uruguay borders Argentina to the south-west and Brazil to the north.
  • ◦Most of the land is covered by low lying grasslands and agricultural farm lands.
  • ◦Most citizens live in urban areas (91%), leaving the rural areas mostly uninhabited by civilization.
  • Cultural:
  • ◦The church and state have been officially separated since 1917. The constitution protects religious freedom, but people are not devout and daily life is highly secular. More than one-third of the people profess no religion.
  • ◦Uruguayans are quite traditional and do not welcome criticism from foreigners. They also do not appreciate being confused with Paraguayans or Argentineans.
  • Political:
  • ◦Constitutional Republic
  • ◦President: Tabaré Vázquez
  • Places of Interest:
  • Solis Theatre, Isla de Lobos, Colonia del Sacramento, and Punta del Este
  • Additional Websites:

5. Bolivia

  • Biographical:
  • Bolivia, named after independence fighter Simon Bolivar, broke away from Spanish rule in 1825
  • Democratic civilian rule was established in 1982, but leaders have faced difficult problems of deep-seated poverty, social unrest, and illegal drug production.
  • Geographical:
  • Rugged Andes Mountains with a highland plateau (Altiplano), hills, lowland plains of the Amazon Basin
  • Total Area: 1,098,581 sq km
  • Climate: varies with altitude; humid and tropical to cold and semiarid
  • Cultural:
  • Bolivians are overwhelmingly Catholic (at least formally), and the Catholic Church has historically wielded enormous influence.
  • Social interaction is governed by norms emphasizing respect and formality and marking age, gender, status, and class differences. Shoppers are expected to be polite and convey deference to shopkeepers by using the adverb "please."
  • Political:
  • Presidential Republic
  • President: Evo Morales
  • Places of Interest:
  • Isla del Sol
  • Salar de Uyuni
  • Parque Nacional y Área de Uso Múltiple Amboró
  • Additional Websites:

6. Chile

  • Biographical:
  • Chile was originally under the control of the Incas in the North and the nomadic Araucanos in the south.
  • In 1541, a spaniard established Chile as a province of Spain.
  • 277 years later, in 1818 Chile won its independance from Spain.
  • The dictator from 1830 to 1837, Diego Portales, fought a war with Peru from 1836—1839 that expanded Chilean territory.
  • Geographical:
  • 2,880mi between the Andes and Pacific
  • ⅓ of Chile is covered by range of the Andes mountain.
  • North of Chile is one of the driest place on earth: Atacama Desert
  • Cultural:
  • Most Chileans are Roman Catholic
  • Family is an integral part of the culture. Extended families often gather on special occasions. Most small firms are 100% family run.
  • Chilean class is divided amongst wealth.
  • Political:
  • Republic
  • President: Michelle Bachelet
  • Places of Interest:
  • San Christobal Hill
  • La Moneda Hill
  • Valle de la Luna
  • Valle Nevado
  • Osorno
  • Additional Websites:

7. Ecuador

  • Biographical:
  • The first settlements consisted of Quito and the Inca Empire. It was then inhabited by a thriving Spanish Settlement in the 17th century.
  • 1819 they joined Venezuela, Colombia, and Panama in a confederacy known as Greater Colombia.
  • 1999 Peru and ecuador signed a peace agreement after a long time of war over territory
  • Geographical:
  • North to Columbia and South/East to Peru
  • Has the same size of land mass as Nevada
  • Cultural:
  • Roman Catholicism
  • Mostly influenced by the large population of Spanish culture
  • Political:
  • Republic
  • Places of Interest:
  • Cotopaxi (volcano), Galapagos Islands, Compañía de Jesús, Quito
  • Additional Websites:

8. Suriname

  • Biographical:
  • Inhabited and controlled by Spanish, Dutch and English
  • The earliest inhabitants were Suiran Indians
  • November 25, 1975 was when this country declared independence but since then there has been many oppressive rulers.
  • A peace treaty was signed in 1992 between several guerrilla groups and the Suriname government and have since eliminated import tariffs on basic goods and created a better price control system.
  • Geographical:
  • Northwest coast of South America
  • About one tenth the size of Michigan
  • Cultural:
  • Known for diversity, with a combination of African, Asian and indigenous culture.
  • Political:
  • Constitutional democracy
  • President: Desi Bouterese
  • Places of Interest:
  • Fort Zeelandia, Onafhankelijkheidsplein, Presidential Palace, and Central Market.
  • Additional Websites:

9. Paraguay

  • Biographical:
  • In 1811 Paraguay revolted against Spanish rule and become its own country.
  • The country was ruled by 3 dictators
  • Geographical:
  • About the size of California
  • Located in south central South America
  • Cultural:
  • Influenced mainly by European countries particularly Spain.
  • Spanish and Guarani are the primary languages
  • Roman Catholic
  • Political:
  • Constitutional Republic
  • Horacio Cartes
  • Places of Interest:
  • Ciudad Del Este Falls, Pepresa Hidroelectrica Itaipu Binacional, La Santisima Trinidad de Parana
  • Additional Websites:

10. Guyana

  • Biographical:
  • Originally inhabited by 9 indigenous tribes: the Wai Wai, Macushi, Patamona, Lokono, Kalina, Wapishana, Pemon, Akawaio, and Warao
  • The british took control of the land in 1796, and Venezuela after receiving its independence claimed western lands for themselves.
  • This later drove a clash between the two powers that lasted into the early 1900s
  • Guyana only received its independence in 1966 from Great Britain, and in 1970, it became a republic
  • In 1978, the cult lead by Jim Jones came to Guyana and committed a mass murder/suicide that lead to over 300 children dying with a death toll near 1000.
  • Geographical:
  • About the size of Idaho
  • 80% of the country is made of tropical forest
  • Northern coast of South America
  • Cultural:
  • One of the few mainland territories of South America that is considered to be in the Caribbean region
  • Mixture of African, Asian and European influences
  • Political:
  • Republic
  • Hive
  • President: David Granger
  • Places of Interest:
  • Promenade gardens, Kaieteur Falls, St. George’s Cathedral, Guyana Botanical Gardens
  • Additional Websites:

11. Columbia

  • Biographical:
  • Columbia has always been a pivotal part of mesoamerican movements across the continent.
  • Exploration of the country began in 1499 by spanish explorers, but the first major city, Santa Maria la Antigua del Darien was founded in 1510.
  • Columbia received its independence in November of 1811. Many smaller rebellions by native citizens of the country were crushed due to being too weak or too small much earlier.
  • Geographical:
  • Colombia is bordered on the northwest by Panama, on the east by Venezuela and Brazil, and on the southwest by Peru and Ecuador.
  • Through the western half of the country, three Andean ranges run north and south.
  • The eastern half is a low, jungle-covered plain, drained by spurs of the Amazon and Orinoco Rivers, inhabited mostly by isolated tropical-forest Indian tribes.
  • The fertile plateau and valley of the eastern range are the most densely populated parts of the country.
  • Cultural:
  • Many aspects of Colombian culture can be traced back to the early culture of Spain of the 16th century and its collision with Colombia's native civilizations (see: Muisca, Tayrona).
  • The Spanish brought Catholicism, Africans, the feudal encomienda system, and a caste system that favored European-born whites.
  • Political:
  • President: Juan Manuel Santos
  • Republic
  • Places of Interest:
  • The Iberoamericana, Bogotá, Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, and the Ring of Fire.
  • Additional Websites:

12. Peru

  • Biographical:
  • Peru was once part of the great Inca Empire and later the major viceroyalty of Spanish South America.
  • It was conquered in 1531–1533 by Francisco Pizarro. On July 28, 1821, Peru proclaimed its independence, but the Spanish were not finally defeated until 1824.
  • For a hundred years thereafter, revolutions were frequent; a new war was fought with Spain in 1864–1866, and an unsuccessful war was fought with Chile from 1879 to 1883 (the War of the Pacific).
  • Geographical:
  • Peru, in western South America, extends for nearly 1,500 mi (2,414 km) along the Pacific Ocean.
  • Colombia and Ecuador are to the north, Brazil and Bolivia to the east, and Chile to the south.
  • Five-sixths the size of Alaska, Peru is divided by the Andes Mountains into three sharply differentiated zones.
  • To the west is the coastline, much of it arid, extending 50 to 100 mi (80 to 160 km) inland.
  • The mountain area, with peaks over 20,000 ft (6,096 m), lofty plateaus, and deep valleys, lies centrally. Beyond the mountains to the east is the heavily forested slope leading to the Amazonian plains.
  • Cultural:
  • Many of the festivals, rituals, and actual ways of life remain from pre-Columbian time. From traditional clothing to popular folk art expressions, and belief systems to ways of working and even cooking, Peru is full of customs that maintain the legacy of its ancient cultures.
  • Political:
  • Constitutional Republic
  • President: Ollanta Humala
  • Places of Interest:
  • Machu Picchu, Sacred Valley, Santa Catalina Monastery, Cusco Cathedral
  • Additional Websites:

Addition Websites can be found on the Google Document: https://docs.google.com/a/jcsnc.org/document/d/1ENQyTmJ_Atggbq7lQluWfHl5ryXkOj8KNP7BLotAhlE/edit?usp=sharing

Credits:

Created with images by Geraint Rowland Photography - "Everyone Loves a Llama, Cusco Portraits"

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