Population of South America

The history of South America goes many centuries back

Therefore, the population of South America is very multinational. Today, the mainland population consists of about half a billion people.

The population of South America consists of various races representatives:

  • American (indigenous people – Indians);
  • Caucasian (descendants of immigrants from Europe);
  • Negroid (descendants of slaves exported from Africa);
  • The mixed groups (mestizos, mulattos, sambo).

There are 15 states and territories on the modern South America political map. 13 of them are sovereign independent states. Most of them gained political independence at the end of the 19th century.

The largest states of South America are:

  • Brazil (the capital is Brasilia);
  • Argentina (the capital is Buenos Aires);
  • Peru (the capital is Lima);
  • Chile (the capital is Santiago);
  • Venezuela (the capital is Caracas).

The largest colony belonging to France is Guiana

All South America countries belong to the group of developing states. Their economic and political development is affected by the main developed countries of the modern world.

The formation history of the Population of South America
Before the Europeans expansion at the end of the 15th century, South America was inhabited by various Indian tribes and peoples who have spoken Quechua, Arawak, Chibcha, Tupigua-Rani, and other languages.

After the European conquerors’ expansion (Spaniards and Portuguese) the fundamental changes happened in the ethnic structure of the continent. Thousands of Africans were imported as slaves for mining to Peru and sugarcane plantations of Venezuela and northeast Brazil.

Negroes mostly assimilated inside the local population of the Central Andean Highlands; in two other regions, their participation in ethnic processes and their contribution to culture were great. There were large mixed European-Negro and Negro-Indian populations.

After gaining of independence in South America, dramatic changes in ethnic composition occurred in Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay due to the massive influx of immigrants from Italy, Germany and other European countries (mainly involved to the development of national territories in 19-20 centuries), as well as in Guyana and Suriname – due to immigration from Asia (mainly from China and India).

Languages of South America

In addition, in the outlying regions of almost all states (for example, northern Argentina, Amazonia in Brazil, north-west of Colombia, etc.), small Indian tribes and peoples, speaking their own languages, also survived. The official languages of the South America majority are Spanish, Brazil is Portuguese. There is a single Native American language: Quechua in Peru.

Paraguay is distinguished by a great peculiarity, where the majority of the population uses the Native American language of Guarani, but at the same time, everybody speaks and understands Spanish. In Guyana, Trinidad, and Tobago, the official language is English; in the former Dutch colony Suriname – Dutch, in French Guiana – French.

Most of the modern population of South America is mixed Indian-European people, but in the northeast of the continent, the population of Negro-European origin is dominative. In a number of countries in South America, big Indian peoples still exist Quechua in Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador, Aymara in Bolivia, Araucanas in Chile.

The racial mixing in South America countries is still proceeding. So that the new racial types are developing gradually.

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