Map Exercise: South America


The Orinoco River begins in the southern arm of Venezuela, and then flows north along the border between Venezuela and Columbia, picking up a number of tributaries along the way. At the city of Puerto Carreño, the Orinoco and Meta rivers collide and the Orinoco continues northeast, following the edge of the Guiana Highlands towards the coast. Before the Orinoco River reaches the coast, it turns into a delta and swamp-land, until it finally reaches the Atlantic Ocean (right near Trinidad and Tobago).
The São Francisco River begins in the mountains of the Brazilian state, Minas Gerais, and flows north, through the Tres Marias Reservoir, into the state of Bahia, through another reservoir (Sobradinho), along the border between Bahia and Pernambuco (heading east now), through one more reservoir (Itaparica), then along the borders between the states of Sergipe and Alagos until it finally reaches the Atlantic Ocean. Fun fact, the people in Brazil loving refer to the river as "Old Frank".
The Loa River begins near the border between Bolivia and Chile. It flows south, past the Volcano San Pedro and then west to the Atacama Desert. It makes it through the desert, still flowing, and reaches the Pacific Ocean.
The Marañón River begins at the mountain Yerupaja in the Andes of central Peru. It flows northwest along a deep valley and out into the beginning of the Amazon Basin. From there, it flows almost completely east until it reaches the beginning of the Amazon River. (I have this weird hunch that the Marañón River *isn't* counted as part of the Amazon so that the Nile could keep its title of longest river ;-) )
The Rio Grande begins on the western edge of Tierra Del Fuego in Chile, and from there flows east, crossing the Chile / Argentina border and continuing east to the Atlantic Ocean.


The Tumuc Humac mountain range runs east and west along the southern borders of Suriname and French Guiana and a northern edge of Brazil.
The Serra Da Mantiqueira run along the coast of Brazil between the major cities of São Paulo and Rio De Janeiro.
The Cordillera Real range of mountains runs North and south from Lake Titicaca on the Peru / Bolivia border and south to the Bolivia / Argentina border. Really, this is just the Bolivian extension of the Andes and the Cordillera Oriental, but it gets a new name when it resides within the borders of Bolivia.

Site and Situation

South America is situated in the south-western hemisphere, and reaches from 10 degrees north to 55 degrees south (almost to Antarctica!) To the west is the Pacific Ocean and to the East the Pacific. The northern edge of the continent touches the Caribbean, but then juts out into the Atlantic Ocean. South America is fairly isolated from the other Continents, having large swaths of ocean between it and the rest of the world. Despite this, South America became a popular destination for European settlers, and you can find little European-style villages along the eastern coast of the continent.

South America is a large landmass separating the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Along the western edge is the longest mountain range in the world, the Andes. The northern edge of South America is well populated and covered in forests, grasslands and moderate mountain ranges. To the south is the Amazon River Basin, the largest drainage system in the world. This area is covered with vast tropical rainforests and is characterized by extreme wetness. To the east of the river basin lies another highland area, in Brazil. This area is covered in grasslands and open forests. The coast along this region is also well populated. On the western edge, the land is characterized by a sparsely inhabited desert coast and moderately inhabited, but still dry, coastal range and plateaus merging with the heights of the Andes. Once we reach about 30 degrees south, the wind changes direction and the western coast becomes very wet and covered in temperate forests while the eastern plains (on the other side of the ever-[resent Andes) are covered in grasslands. When we finally reach the tip of South America, the climate becomes pretty chilly and the highs in the summer can reach all the way up to 50 degrees F.


Describe a migration that has occurred in South America any time in history.

One migration that I find fascinating is the creation of the city of Brasília, Brazil. It was conceived of in the early 1800s, but not actually built until the 1950s. The city has since grown to about 2 million plus, although the original planners originally planned for only 500,000 inhabitants by the year 2000. A large portion of these "extra" immigrants are the workers who built the city, but then had no way to return home once the city had been completed. The city responded to this dilemma by building satellite cities around the new capital for these workers to settle in. More immigrants were attracted by the promise of new jobs in manufacturing and the service industry. Although Brasília was originally designed to integrate the classes, the large influx of new residents created class segregation anyhow with the poorer residents being segregated to the outer area of the city and the elite living closer to the center. One interesting thing that happened was that because the people of Brasília were from all parts of Brazil, their cultures meshed and merged, creating new Brazilian traditions and stories that are a blend of the people who migrated there.

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