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South America

South America is a continent crossed by the equator, with most of its area in the Southern Hemisphere. South America is situated between the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean. It became attached to North America only recently (on geological timescales), with the formation of the Isthmus of Panama[?]. The Andes mountains run down the western edge of the continent; the land east of the Andes includes large amounts of tropical rain forest. Most of South America east of the Andes is drained by the Amazon River.

It was first inhabited by humans crossing the Bering Land Bridge, now the Bering strait, though there are suggestions of migration from the southern Pacific Ocean.

From the 16th century to the early 19th century, most of the continent of South America was divided into colonies, ruled mostly by Spain and Portugal. Now it consists of several republics, with French Guiana and the Falklands and neighbouring islands the only non-independent territories.

The region of South America also includes various islands most of which are controlled by the countries on the continent. The Caribbean territories are grouped with North America.

The territories of South America are:

Satellite image - Large version (/upload/2/2e/SouthAmericaSatelliteImage.jpg)

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