South America

In the Amazon lowlands and on the east side of the Andes are the world’s largest contiguous area of ​​tropical rainforest. The diversity is very high; Ecuador has at least 18,000 species of vascular plants, and Brazil perhaps 40,000. Important families of woody plants are Arecaceae (palm family), Cyclanthaceae, Lecythidaceae, etc.; among epiphytes, the orchid and pineapple families are prominent. From the Amazon region come, for example, rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis) and giant water lily (Victoria regia).


In drier tropical areas, parts of Colombia, Venezuela and Brazil, deciduous forest and savannah (campos, llanos) occur. In subtropical and temperate regions of Argentina, Uruguay, etc. there are prairie-like vegetation (pampas) as well as steppes and semi-deserts; The steppes of Patagonia form a transition to the Antarctic flora.


In the Andes, many species grow from northern genera such as currant, violet, lion’s foot and stonewort, but here also occur Antarctic genera such as Gunnera and rubber pillow (Azorella). Above the tree line in the equatorial areas is the vegetation type paramo with rosette trees of the same type as in the high East African mountains, but belonging to other systematic groups such as the pineapple family; a drier alpine vegetation type further south is called puna. From the mountain forests of the Andes come coca bush and china tree. West of the mountain range between approximately 31 ° and 38 ° occurs a Mediterranean vegetation type similar to that in California. Further north, it turns into one of the driest deserts in the world, the Atacama.

Many important cultivated plants come from northern South America and Central America, such as corn, cocoa, pineapple, tomato, paprika, passion fruit, Brazil nut and cassava. Potatoes come from the Andes, where there are many wild species and forms.

South America – language

In most South American countries, the national language is Spanish; however, Brazil, Guyana, French Guiana and Suriname have, respectively. Portuguese, English, French and Dutch as national languages. In a number of countries, some of the Native American languages ​​are also national languages, such as Guaraní in Paraguay and Quechua in Peru. In addition, there are several hundred thousands who speak Romani across national borders.

German immigrants have preserved their language in several countries, including in Paraguay, where minorities speak German and Plautdietsch ‘Low German’, and in Venezuela alemán coloneiro ‘colonial German’, which differs greatly from standard German. In Argentina, Italian is spoken by approximately 3% of the population.

Creole languages, although unofficial and not used in educational contexts, are the most important languages ​​in the northeastern countries of Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. In Guyana, the English-based Creole is spoken by approximately 85% of the population, in Suriname the English-based sranan of approximately 80% of the population, and in French Guiana the French-based patwa of approximately one third of the population of the capital Cayenne and of the majority of the rural population.

There are about 430-480 South American languages, distributed among 5-40 Native American languages ​​in most countries, in Colombia and Peru over 50 and in Brazil alone almost 200. The proportion of people who have Native American languages ​​as their mother tongue is in Paraguay approximately 95%, in Bolivia approximately 60%, in Peru approximately 35%, in Ecuador approximately 20% and in the other South American countries below 5%.

South America – health conditions

The disease pattern is characterized by the different climatic conditions. In the tropical countries, there are still a large number of tropical diseases, including malaria and Chagas’ disease, which hits the rural population hard. Also diarrheal diseases caused by poor water supply particularly affect people in rural areas, leading to a high mortality of children under five years of age. Malnutrition and malnutrition are also prevalent in many countries among the most disadvantaged groups. Civilization diseases such as atherosclerosis and diabetes have increased in frequency and are also shown by the fact that cardiovascular disease has become a frequent cause of death. In many countries, the spread of infection is involved HIV large with consequent increasing incidence of AIDS. Accidents are a common cause of death in most countries, and other forms of violent death are common in some countries. Overall, there has been a significant increase in life expectancy and a decrease in infant mortality since 1970. However, there are large differences between countries, and in most countries the differences between the best and most disadvantaged regions do not seem to have diminished.

In the majority of southern America countries listed by Countryaah, there is no public health service that covers the entire population. Some countries have programs regarding pregnancy, childbirth and the first years of life incl. vaccinations. By far the largest part of the healthcare system is private in most countries, and there is generally a very unequal distribution of hospitals and healthcare professionals between the regions and between country and city. In several countries, health insurance systems have been introduced, which, however, are most often conditioned by an employment relationship.

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