How Many Countries Are There In South America Today?
South America is the fourth largest of the world’s continents.

Why called South America?

This continent occupies the entire southern part of the supercontinent of the Americas, that's why is called South America.

The name America is derived from that of the Italian navigator Amerigo Vespucci, one of the earliest European explorers of the New World. The term America originally was applied only to South America, but the designation soon was applied to the entire landmass. Because Mexico and Central America share an Iberian heritage with nearly all of South America, this entire region frequently is grouped under the name Latin America.

South America is the fourth largest of the world’s continents. It is the southern portion of the landmass generally referred to as the New World, the Western Hemisphere, or simply the Americas. The continent is compact and roughly triangular in shape, being broad in the north and tapering to a point—Cape Horn, Chile—in the south.It is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean from the west, by the Atlantic Ocean from the east and north, by the Caribbean Sea from the northwest and connected with North America in the northeast part. An overland border between two continents stretches along the Panama-Colombian state boundary.

In total, there are 12 independent countries and 3 dependent territories in South America. The largest country by area and the most populated is Brazil, it occupies about 50% of the total mainland area, and more than 52% of the population live on its territory. The smallest independent state is Suriname, it is the only nation in this region, speaking Dutch as an official language.

The original inhabitants of South America are believed to have descended from the same Asiatic peoples who migrated to North America from Siberia during the most recent (Wisconsin) ice age. Few of these peoples, however, survived the arrival of Europeans after 1500, most succumbing to disease or mixing with people of European and (especially in Brazil) African origin. Some parts of the continent are now industrialized, with modern cities, but the people in rural areas still follow an agricultural way of life. The wealth of mineral products and renewable resources is considerable, yet economic development in most of the continent lags behind the more industrially advanced regions of the world. Nonetheless, concern has arisen about the rapidly increasing and often destructive exploitation of these resources.

Key Facts about South America:

*South America contains 12 countries and 2 dependencies.

*Brazil is the largest and most populous county in South America, while the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) is the least populous and smallest.

*More than 433 million people live in South America.

*Peru was the home of the Inca civilization.

How many countries are there in South America Today?

The List of 12 Countries Of South America













Let’s count right below!

Nationality plates







Buenos Aires

Spanish*, English, Italian, German, French

Argentinian, Argentine




La Paz (administrative)

Spanish*, Quechua, Aymara, Guarani














Santafé de Bogotá






Spanish*, Quechua










Spanish*, Guaraní





Spanish*, Quéchua*, Aymara





Dutch*, Surinamese, English












South America: 12 countries but hundreds of languages

Despite being made up of only 12 sovereign countries in the continent, South America is one of the most linguistically diverse areas in the world, with about 450 recorded languages.

Spanish and Portuguese top the list with the highest numbers of speakers (both over 200 million). Among the major imported languages are English (over 5 million), German (about 2 million), Italian (1.5 million), Arabic (about 1.1 million), Chinese, Ukrainian, Japanese, and Dutch.

When it comes to indigenous languages, Quechua is the most used with about 8 million speakers, followed by Guarani with 5 million, and Aymara with about 2.5 million.

What is the biggest country in South America?

Brazil covers about 47,3% of the continent and is the largest country both by population and land area. Brazil is home to more than 210 million people, and it’s also one of the largest countries in the world.

Out of the total of 12 countries in South America, the largest one, Brazil, shares borders with all but Chile and Ecuador.

What is the smallest country in South America?

On the other side of the scale, Suriname holds the title as the smallest country in South America, and it is also one of the least densely populated countries in the world.

Suriname has around 568,000 inhabitants and a land area of 163,821 km2 (63,252 sq mi).

Some indigenous tribes have no contact with modern civilization

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Photo SwedishNomad

In the global world, we’ve come to know it might be hard to imagine that there are still some indigenous tribes out there in the world which have had little or no contact at all with modern civilization.

Some of these indigenous tribes have been discovered in the past years, deep into the Amazon rainforest. But scientists believe that there are more tribes out there which are hiding even further inside the forest.

This is definitely one of the most interesting facts about South America!

Fun Facts about South America

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Photo SwedishNomad

-Brazilians are the most frequent internet users on the continent

It was named after the Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci

-South Americans are famous for their beauty

-Maria and Gabriel are the most common names in South America

-The guinea pig is a delicacy in Ecuador, Bolivia, and Peru

-About 90% of the South American population consider themselves to be Christians, and over 80% are Roman Catholics.

What are the 12 countries of South America?


Argentina is located in the southern half of South America, alongside Chile to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. The country has four geographic regions: The Andes in the north, the Pampas in the country’s center, and Patagonia in the south. Argentina has a population of more than 45 million people, the vast majority of whom live in cities. The largest city in Argentina is its capital, Buenos Aires. The city has a population of just over 13 million. Most of Argentina’s population is concentrated in its northern half of the country. Spanish is the country’s official language, though interestingly, more than half of Argentina’s population is of Italian descent.


Bolivia is a landlocked country in the center of South America. Three main geographic areas exist in the country: The Alto Plano highlands, the valleys, and the tropical lowlands. Bolivia contains about 11 million people. More than half of the country’s population is of indigenous origin, with the rest being of mixed or European ancestry. Spanish is the country’s most understood language, but the indigenous languages of Quechua and Aymara are also prevalent. Bolivia has the unfortunate distinction of being the poorest country in South America.


Brazil is the largest country in South America. It contains the bulk of the Amazon Rainforest. Brazil is also the most populous country in South America. More than 212 million people call Brazil home. Most of the country’s people live in urban centers. The majority of Brazil’s biggest cities are concentrated on the country’s coastline. The largest city in Brazil is Sao Paolo, with a population of more than 10 million. Brazil’s official language is Portuguese, as it was formerly a Portuguese colony, though the Portuguese spoken in Brazil is significantly different from that which is spoken in Portugal.


Chile is located on the Pacific coast of the South America’s southern half. The country has a unique geographical configuration, as it is very long from north to south, but is very narrow from east to west. The country’s population is roughly 19 million, most of whom live in cities. Chile’s population is largely concentrated in the country’s northern half. In fact, one fifth of the country’s population is concentrated in the capital, Santiago, which boasts more than 4 million residents. Some consider Chile the continent’s most stable and prosperous country.


Colombia is located in the northwest corner of South America. The country can be divided into six natural regions, which are the Andes Mountain range, the Lianos plains, the Pacific coastal region, the Caribbean coastal region, and the Amazon Rainforest region. Colombia contains more than 51 million people. More than 80% live in cities, the largest of which is the capital, Bogota, with a population of more than 7 million. Most of Colombia’s population is concentrated on the Caribbean coast and the Andean highlands. Colombia contains the 3rd largest population of Spanish speakers in the world, after Mexico and the United States.


Ecuador is Spanish for equator. Indeed, the world’s equator passes right through the country, which lies on the Pacific coast of South America’s northwest. Ecuador has three distinct regions. One is the central highlands, otherwise known as Sierra. The second is the Oriente in the east, which is largely covered by jungles. The third region is the coastal plains. The Galapagos Islands to the west of the mainland, are also controlled by Ecuador. These are the islands that Charles Darwin traveled to in the 19th century. His observations there helped him come up with his Theory of Evolution. Today, Ecuador is a country of nearly 18 million people, of which nearly two thirds live in cities.


Guyana is located on the northern Atlantic coast of South America. Guyana’s population is about 789,000. Nearly a third of this population lives in the country’s capital, Georgetown. The two largest ethnic groups are the Indo-Guyanese, who are of Indian descent, and the Afro-Guyanese, who are of African descent.


Like Bolivia, Paraguay is also a landlocked country. Its population is approximately 7 million, most of which is urban. Paraguay’s largest city and capital is Asuncion. The most common indigenous people in Paraguay are the Guarani, though most of the country’s population is of mixed ancestry. The Paraguayan economy is still very much underdeveloped. Agriculture is the largest sector of the economy. Paraguay is also rich in hydro-electric power.


Peru is located on the Pacific coast of South America, in the northern half of the continent. Generally, the country consists of three geographic regions, including the Andes Mountains, the coast, and Amazon Rainforest region. Peru has a population of over 33 million, most of whom live in cities. The largest population center is the country’s capital, Lima, in which approximately 7.7 million people live. Spanish is the most widely-spoken language in the country, however, two indigenous languages, Quechua and Aymara, also have many speakers. Quechua was the language of the pre-Colombian Inca civilization, whose heartland was in Peru. Various Inca sites, such as Machu Picchu are located in the country.


Suriname has a population of around 590,000, most of whom live on the country’s Atlantic coastline. In fact, more than 40% of Surinamese live in the country’s coastal capital, Paramaribo. People of East Indian descent make up about a third of the population, while Creoles, who are of mixed European and African descent, make up another third. The remaining population are of mostly Indonesian or African descent.


Uruguay is a small country in South America’s southeast, on the Atlantic coast. It is sandwiched between Brazil to the north and Argentina to the west. The country has a population of roughly 3.5 million. About a third of Uruguayans live in the country’s capital, Montevideo. The overwhelming majority of Uruguayans are of European descent. Uruguay’s economy is heavily dependent on exports, of which beef is the most significant.


Venezuela is located in northern South America, on the Caribbean coast. The country has four geographic regions: the Maracaibo lowlands of the northeast, the northern mountains, the Orinoco plains in the country’s center, and the Guiana highlands in the southeast. Venezuela’s population is an estimated 28 million, most of whom are urban dwellers. Caracas, the country’s capital, is also the country’s largest city, with around 3 million inhabitants. Most of Venezuela’s population is concentrated in the north of the country. Venezuela is well-known for its vast oil resources.

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Photo SwedishNomad
The tallest waterfall

South America is home to the tallest waterfall in the world, the Angel Falls, also referred to by its indigenous name Kerepakupai Merú. The 979 m (over 3,000 ft) high waterfall lies in the Venezuelan Canaima National Park, a part of Unesco Heritage.

The Amazon Rainforest is the world’s most biodiverse place

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Photo SwedishNomad

Even though the Amazon rainforest suffer from illegal deforestation as well as legal deforestation, and illegal pet trade, it is still home to more than 40% of the world’s plants and animals. It is incredibly biodiverse, and that’s why it needs to be protected.

It used to be connected to Africa

About 550 million years ago, it is believed that the South American continent was puzzled together with Africa, Australia, and Antartica as well as the Indian subcontinent and Arabian peninsula, which formed the supercontinent known as Gondwana.

It broke apart 180 million years ago, and the continents as we know them today were created.

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