The South American hydrography shows the Amazon, Orinoco and Paraná basins that together cover an area of over 11,000,000 km².
The largest system consists of the Amazon River and its tributaries, including some of a wide range, such as the Negro, Juruá, Purus and Madeira.
Also noteworthy are the São Francisco rivers in Brazil and the Magdalena in Colombia.
Most of the South American lakes are located in the Andes. The largest of these is Titicaca, considered the highest navigable lake in the world, located between Bolivia and Peru. In the Atlantic Strip, the two largest are the Patos Lagoon in Brazil and the Maracaibo in Venezuela.
The climate of South America is marked by four very specific climate zones: temperate, tropical, dry and cold and are distributed according to the relief of each region.
Rainfall is abundant in most of South America, except for the desert areas of northern Chile and Peru, northeastern Brazil, and Argentine Patagonia. The Atacama Desert, located in Chile, is considered one of the driest regions on the planet.
Fauna and Flora
The Amazon has the largest portion of tropical rainforest in the world. Temperate araucaria forests cover part of the plateaus and plateaus of the Paraná basin and the peripheral depression of the eastern border of the Paraná basin, while cold forests line the Andes.
The Orinoco basin is characterized by "llanos", savanna areas. In the semi-arid region of northeastern Brazil stands out the caatinga vegetation. Steppes are located in the highlands of Ecuador and Peru and in the platinum region. The central plateau of Brazil is characterized by the cerrado.
The South American fauna is estimated to have approximately 2,700 bird species. In the rainforests there are abundant monkeys, tapirs and rodents, among them is the capybara, considered the largest rodent in the world. Already the Andes are populated by a peculiar fauna, presents animals such as llama and alpaca, of great use to man, as it provides wool, meat and cargo transportation.
In the Amazon basin there is a wide variety of fish, reptiles and insects, mainly. The manatee, aquatic and vegetarian mammal, and the piranha, small fish and great ferocity, are characteristic of the region.
The South American population is made up of three large groups: indigenous, white (mainly Spanish and Portuguese) and African, with strong mestizaje. Indians and their descendants, whether or not mixed with the other formative elements, are mostly in Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Paraguay.
Whites are majority in Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. Blacks predominate in Guyana. In Brazil there is a strong presence of black and indigenous people. Since the early 20th century, new immigrant groups, especially Asians, have arrived in South America. Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay and Brazil have received a large number of Japanese, who form a minority but significant group in São Paulo.
South America has the largest linguistic integration of all continents: most of its people speak Spanish or Portuguese. Portuguese is spoken in Brazil while Spanish is the official language in nine countries. English (Guyana), Dutch (Suriname), French (French Guiana) and various indigenous languages are also spoken.