South America Countries and Capitals

America received two types of colonization: exploration and settlement. The continent of South America has a total of 12 countries.

America was discovered by the Europeans, after that event several countries of the old continent headed for the new land. The American continent was colonized mainly by Portuguese, English, Spanish, French and Dutch. However, the colonization process took place differently between the countries of the continent.

Countries considered Latin had a colonization of exploitation; that is, they only provided wealth from nature (wood, precious stones, among others) and cultivated tropical products (sugar cane, coffee, rubber, among others). As a result of this intense exploitation, Latin countries inherited from this period a great socioeconomic backwardness that reflects today.

On the other hand, the countries that are part of Anglo-Saxon America had a settlement colonization. This means that the metropolis’ interest was to populate and develop the place. In this type of colonization, the intention was not linked to the exploitation of wealth in order to send it to the metropolis, but to supply the residents themselves. In short, the wealth produced remained in the country. This characteristic was of fundamental importance for countries like the United States and Canada to become great nations, the first being the greatest world power.

In view of the considerations presented, it is clear that the determining factor for the development or underdevelopment of American countries is linked to historical facts. The form of occupation is the root of the current conditions in the countries of the continent.

Check abbreviationfinder for list of all acronyms related to South America.

If you are looking for the international dialing code for a particular country of South America, you can check the following table. South American countries are listed in alphabetical order. Also included are capital cities are ISO codes. To find complete information about countries in South America, please look at

South America Countries and Flags

# Country Name Capital International Area Code 2 Letter Code 3 Letter Code
1 Argentina Buenos Aires 54 AR ARG
2 Aruba Oranjestad 297 AW ABW
3 Belize Belmopan 501 BZ BLZ
4 Bolivia La Paz 591 BO BOL
5 Brazil Brasília 55 BR BRA
6 Chile Santiago 56 CL CHL
7 Colombia Bogotá 57 CO COL
8 Costa Rica San José 506 CR CRI
9 Cuba Havana 53 CU CUB
10 Curacao Willemstad 599 CW CUW
11 Ecuador Quito 593 EC ECU
12 El Salvador San Salvador 503 SV SLV
13 Falkland Islands Stanley 500 FK FLK
14 Greenland Nuuk 299 GL GRL
15 Guadeloupe Basse-Terre 590 GP GLP
16 Guatemala Guatemala City 502 GT GTM
17 Guyana Georgetown 592 GY GUY
18 Haiti Port-au-Prince 509 HT HTI
19 Honduras Tegucigalpa 504 HN HND
20 Mexico Mexico City 52 MX MEX
21 Nicaragua Managua 505 NI NIC
22 Panama Panama City 507 PA PAN
23 Paraguay Asunción 595 PY PRY
24 Peru Lima 51 PE PER
25 Saint Barthélemy Gustavia 590 BL BLM
26 Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint-Pierre 508 PM SPM
27 Suriname Paramaribo 597 SR SUR
28 Uruguay Montevideo 598 UY URY
29 Venezuela Caracas 58 VE VEN


The climate in South America is extremely complex. Year-round climatic influences are the cold Humboldt Current on the west coast of Peru, the intra- tropical convergence zone (ITCZ), the formation of tropical cyclones on the edge of the subtropical high pressure area and the trade winds. The cold Humboldt Sea current causes the sea surface to cool off the coast of Peru and northern Chile, which leads to the formation of coastal deserts. This phenomenon is based on the fact that the cooled air leads to a constant inversion, thus to a stable high pressure area that does not convection and thus does not allow any precipitation. The impact is extensive desert regions on the coasts. The equatorial tropical location causes an intra-tropical convection zone to develop over the central Amazon region in the southern winter and leads to heavy precipitation. In summer it shifts further south, so the inner tropics are characterized by year-round precipitation. Also in summer a continental low temperature forms, which is very rainy. The southern peripheral tropics are thus characterized by (southern) summer precipitation. The northern peripheral tropics are characterized by trade winds in the east (high precipitation all year round) and by cool sea water on the coast in the north (very little precipitation).

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The south trade winds on the east coast lead to increased precipitation in the coastal regions, characterized in the southern summer by the formation of monsoonal east winds and in the southern winter by accumulated precipitation on the coastal regions. The stable high pressure system on the western edge of South America in combination with the cold air masses of the southern polar regions leads to the formation of extra-tropical cyclones off the coast of western Patagonia. The cyclonic fronts vary in their location in southern summer and southern winter. The shift to the north in the southern winter leads to periodic winter precipitation in the Great South of Chile (jungle Chile) and to sporadic winter precipitation in the Little South Chiles. In return, the shift in the cyclonic fronts in the southern summer (influenced by the changed position of the ITCZ) leads to a pronounced summer drought in all of southern Chile, with the exception of Patagonia. On the Andean windward side of the Patagonian Mountains, the cyclonic fronts form heavy rainfalls, which can be described as hypermaritime. This accumulation of precipitation on the west side means that the Andean lee side of Patagonia is characterized by drought.

The Andes themselves have another climatic subdivision in the vwertical dimension. In general, five altitude levels can be distinguished: the Tierra Caliente (warm earth, up to 1000 m), the Tierra Templada (temperate earth, up to 2000 m), the Tierra Fria (cold earth, up to 3500 m, cultivation limit and frost limit), the Tierra Helada (Icy earth, up to 4500 m, snow line) and the Tierra Glacial (glacial earth, up to 6000 m, anecumene).

There are also glaciations in the Andes. The largest intra-tropical glaciers in the world can be found in Peru. In Patagonia there is an extensive inland glaciation and tongue glaciers that reach down to sea level.

A significant climatic phenomenon for the South American west coast is El Niño, because although its origin is a purely oceanic phenomenon, its climatic consequences are mainly perceived. The cold water flows off South America break off and warm water collects off the South American coast. As a climatic consequence, the normally prevailing stable high pressure situation is canceled and there is a reversal of the Walker circulation with serious effects from heavy precipitation.