South America Facts

Our South America Facts for Kids bring you lots of interesting and fun facts on the South American continent.

South America is the fourth largest continent in size and the fifth largest when we consider population. The South American continent houses 12 countries and three dependencies. The continent is located in the western hemisphere and mainly in the southern hemisphere.

Top 20 South America Facts 

1. There are 12 countries in South America (see list on the right) and 3 dependencies with a total of more than 385 million people living on the continent.

Sao Paulo in Brazil

2. Largest Country: Brazil. The country is covering more than half the continent's landmass. Did you know that Brazil is only slightly smaller than the USA?

3. Largest City: Sao Paolo in Brazil. With more than 20 million inhabitants (2014) Sao Paulo is also one of the 10 biggest cities in the world.

4. Smallest Country: Suriname. The country is one of the 10 most sparsely populated countries in the world.

5. Biggest Island: Tierra del Fuego (Spanish meaning: Land of Fire), at the southern tip of Argentina and Chile

6. Longest River: Amazon River (6,437metres/4,000miles). The Amazon is not only the second longest river in the world after the Nile, but also the Amazon carries more water than the world's other 10 biggest rivers combined!

Amazon River

7. Highest Mountain: Aconcagua in Argentina. The mountain (6,961metres/22,837ft) is located in the Andes mountain range.

Read our facts about Argentina here.

The Aconcagua is considered the second highest of the world's Seven Summits after Mount Everest which is in Asia.

Aconcagua in the Andes mountains

8. Biggest Lake: Lake Titicaca (shared by Bolivia and Peru)

Lake Titicaca

9. Driest Place: While South America's rain forests also are some of the wettest places on the earth, the Atacama desert in Chile is considered the driest place on earth.

Atacama Desert by Anton Ivanov/Shutterstock.comIn the Atacama Desert

10. There are two landlocked countries in South America: Paraguay and Bolivia are located in the interior of the continent and have neither access to the Atlantic Ocean nor to the Pacific Ocean.

More South America Facts

11. History: Evidence of human life in South America dates back to 9000BC. One of the earliest South American civilisations are recorded in Peru. South America was colonised from the late 15th century by foreign conquistadores mainly from Spain and Portugal, but also from the Dutch, British and French.

Indigenous People in Chile

12. People of South America: The Incas were the largest group of indigenous people in South America when the Europeans arrived. The Incan Empire lasted from 1438 until 1533. Indigenous cultures still are present in South America but the numbers are diminishing. There are still Arawaks and Caribs in Venezuela as well as Guarani in Brazil.

13. Languages in South America: Spanish is the main language in South American countries, only in Brazil people speak Portuguese and in Surinam, formerly a Dutch colony, the official language is still Dutch. Many people speak also English as a second language. Quechua, the language spoken by the Inca, is the most common indigenous language.

14. Religion: Most of the South American people are Catholics (90%), some Protestants, Jews and some indigenous people have their indigenous beliefs.

15. Tourist attractions in South America: The most popular attractions are:

  • Macchu Picchu in Peru
  • Iguazu Falls in Argentina/Brazil
  • Angel Falls in Venezuela
  • Rio de Janeiro and its Carnival in Brazil
  • Patagonia in Argentina/Chile
  • Amazon in Ecuador
  • Pantanal in Paraguay/Brazil
  • Torres del Paine National Park in Chile
Torres del Paine National Park in Chile
Rio de Janeiro

16. Biggest Cities: The most populous city in South America is Sao Paulo. Almost half of the population of the South American continent lives in Brazil.

Other big cities in South America are:

  • Lima (Peru)
  • Bogota (Colombia)
  • Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
  • Santiago (Chile)
  • Buenos Aires (Argentina)

Did you know? The southernmost city in the world is on the South American continent! The city is called Ushuaia, is located on the Argentinian part of the Tierra del Fuego and more than 55,000 people live there.

17. Animals: In South America there are tapirs, piranhas and anacondas and many other animals. 

Jaguar in the Pantanal region of the Amazon Basin

South America is also home to many endangered animals such as the jaguar, the giant otter or the Amazonian manatee.

18. Main natural resources in South America are minerals such as iron ore (used to make steel) or copper and agricultural produce such as corn, coffee, wheat, soybean and cocoa.

19. Nature superlatives

  • Atacama desert is the driest place on earth
  • Angel Falls are the world's highest waterfalls 
  • Amazon River Basin is the world's largest river basin
  • The Andes are the world's longest mountain range
Angel Falls in Venezuela

20. South America's landscape is dominated from mountains and highlands such as the Andes, river basins such as the Amazon and Orinoco and coastal plains where the Atacama Desert also belongs to.

Countries in South America that are located in the Northern Hemisphere:

  • Venezuela
  • Guyana
  • Suriname
  • French Guiana
  • and (the northern regions of) Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela and Brazil

Useful Resources for South America Facts:

CIA World Fact Book: Last accessed 3.05.2016

National Geographic Education. South America. Last accessed: 3.05.2016

National Geographic: World Atlas for Young Explorers. Washington: 2010. pages 86-92

Earth Condensed. The World Atlas by Millennium House. 2009

South America Facts Fun Quiz by Last accessed: 3.05.2016

Image Credits on South America Facts page: and wikipedia commons

Return from South America Facts to Kids-World-Travel-Guide Homepage


'South America is the 4th largest continent in size  and the 5th largest continent in population.'

Click on the map image and zoom in to see the cities, rivers and places.

The Countries in South America 

  1. Brazil
  2. Argentina
  3. Chile
  4. Venezuela
  5. Colombia
  6. Peru
  7. Suriname
  8. Bolivia
  9. Uruguay
  10. Paraguay
  11. Guyana
  12. Equador

Dependencies in South America

  1. French Guiana (France)
  2. Falkland Islands (Britain, but Argentina still claim it)
  3. South Sandwich and South Georgia Islands (Britain)

More about Countries in South America

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