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PEOPLE, COUNTRIES, AND CITIES

Where is South America's population clustered?

The population of South America is approximately 371 million (23 percent higher than the United States). In South America, much of the population is found along the Atlantic Coast. Brazil's Atlantic coast is home to two of the world's largest urban areas—Sao Paulo (18.84 million people) and Rio de Janeiro (11.75 million people). Buenos Aires, Argentina (12.8 million people), is also a major urban area on the Atlantic coast.

What percentage of the world's poor live in South America?

Approximately 3.93 percent of all of the world's poor people live in South America. They are mostly concentrated in Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, and Ecuador. Poor is defined as people having incomes of less than $1.00/day.

What are the most heavily urbanized countries in South America?

Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, and Venezuela all have an urbanization level (the percent of population who live in urban areas) of approximately 85 percent (the same percentage as the United States).

What is the largest city in the Amazon River basin?

Manaus, Brazil, is the largest city in the basin, with a population of just over 1.6 million. Manaus is the capital of Brazil's largest state, Amazonas, and is a major trading center for the region. When the Amazon basin was the only known source of rubber, Manaus experienced a boom, but subsequently declined in importance due to the planting of rubber in other regions of the world. Manaus has since recovered by becoming a duty-free trade area of 1.6 million people.

What is MERCOSUR?

The Southern Cone Common Market, also known as MERCOSUR, is a trade group that includes Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay. It was established in 1995 to reduce trade barriers between those four countries and to promote economic unity.

How large is Brazil?

Brazil makes up just under 50 percent of the land area of the entire South American continent. It is the world's fifth-largest country, with 3.3 million square miles (8.5 million square kilometers) of territory.

When did Brazil move its capital city?

In 1960, Brazil moved its capital city from Rio de Janeiro to a brand new city in the center of the country, called Brasilia. Brasilia was designed and constructed on empty land near the center of the country in the 1950s. Brazil moved its capital from Rio de Janeiro to Brasilia to assert its independence, exchanging a colonial capital on the coast for a new interior capital. The interior, underdeveloped, location of the new capital allowed a fresh start as well as an opportunity to develop the region.

Who designed and planned the capital of Brazil?

Brasilia was created in 1956 by two people: urban planner Lucio Costa and architect Oscar Niemeyer.

What statue overlooks Rio de Janeiro?

The 100-foot-high (30.5-meter-high) statue of "Christ the Redeemer" stands, arms outstretched, over the city of Rio de Janeiro. The statue of Jesus Christ, with its base on top of Corcovado Mountain at 2,340 feet (713 meters), was built in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of Brazilian independence.

What are the capitals of Bolivia?

Bolivia has two capitals—La Paz is the administrative capital, while Sucre is the constitutional and judicial capital. Several countries divide national functions between cities.

What country is crossed by both the equator and a Tropic?

Brazil is the only country crossed by the equator at 0° and the Tropic of Capricorn 23.5° South.

What South American city has more Japanese residents than any city outside of Japan?

Sao Paulo, Brazil, has more Japanese residents than any other city outside of Japan. Well over two million Japanese live in this urban area. The original settlers—791 farmers—traveled to Brazil from Kobe, Japan, in 1908.

A beach near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (photo by Paul A. Tucci).

A beach near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (photo by Paul A. Tucci).

An early twentieth-century Japanese poster advertising work opportunities in Brazil (image courtesy of Historical Museum of Japanese Immigration).

An early twentieth-century Japanese poster advertising work opportunities in Brazil (image courtesy of Historical Museum of Japanese Immigration).

 
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