Sunday, July 23, 2006

1303 Chapter 5 - South America

Major Geographic Qualities
  • Physiography – dominated by the Andes Mountains and the Amazon Basin
  • Population – concentrated along the periphery
    • Half of the population is located in Brazil
  • Cultural Pluralism/Fragmentation – expressed both within and between nations
  • Uneven Regional Economic Interaction
    • Increasing economic integration in progress
  • Rapid Urban Growth

Cultural Development

Nazca Culture (300 BC – 800 AD)
  • In the deserts and uplands of the western coastal region (Peru and Chile)
    • Highly sophisticated irrigation and aqueduct systems
    • Nazca lines
    • Precursor of the Inca
  • Largest Empire in the Americas, centered on Cuzco in the High Andes (approximately 1200 AD – 1533 AD)
  • A Cultural Hearth area of South America
  • Multicultural, highly structured and centralized state ruled by an Incan minority.
  • Founded and maintained through military conquest.
  • Perhaps as many as 20 million inhabitants at the time of Conquest
  • Highly integrated road and transportation system which linked the various parts of the Empire together
  • The last Incan Emperor Atahuallpa was executed in 1533 by Spanish Conquistador Francisco Pizarro following his capture after his refusal to convert to Christianity.
    • In a desperate attempt to preserve his soul Atahuallpa converted so that he could be garroted to death instead of burned…

Amazon Cultures
Baures – in Bolivia, typical
  • Created settlements with stockades on forested islands connected by causeways and fish weirs.
  • Burned the forest to produce more savannah-like conditions.
  • Major modifications of the Amazon Basin due to human impact during Pre-Columbian period. Species of animals and plants…

South America is a continent of Plural Societies/Cultural Fragmentation
  • Where various cultures/ethnic groups cluster in adjacent areas but do not mix
    • Amerindians of various cultures
    • Europeans (Spanish and Portuguese)
    • Africans
    • Asians
Cultural positions in South America also can be seen in differences in Agricultural practices
  • European tied to more Commercial Farming patterns
  • Amerindian, African, and Asian tied more to Subsistence Farming patterns

Cultural Spheres

Tropical Plantation Sphere
  • Similar to Mesoamerica’s Rimland
  • Five Atlantic/Caribbean-facing coastal strips
  • Locations, Soils, and Tropical Environment favor Plantation Crops (sugar)
  • Reliance on African Slave Labor
  • Failure of Plantation System = Current poverty and subsistence farming

European Commercial Sphere

  • Covers most of southern, mid-latitude South America – including core areas of:
    • Argentina
    • Brazil
    • Chile
    • Uruguay
  • Dominated by Euro-Americans (mainly Iberian or German)
  • Focused on Commercial Agriculture (ranching and farming)
  • Most Economically Advanced
  • Modern Western transportation networks and quality of life
Amerindian Subsistence Sphere
  • Correlates with the former Incan Empire – Central, Upland Andes
  • Spanish System remains (feudal socio-economic system)
  • Subsistence Agriculture
  • Some of South America’s poorest areas
  • Difficult environments (Tierra Fría and Tierra Helada)
Mestizo Transitional Sphere
  • Surrounds the Amerindian Subsistence Sphere
  • Mixture of European and Amerindian/African Cultures
  • Transitional economy
  • Mix of commercial and subsistence farming patterns
Undifferentiated Sphere
  • Sparsely populated
  • Least accessible areas of the continent - Isolation
  • Surrounding the Amazon Basin
  • Limited Economic Development
  • Shrinking due to development of the Amazon

Economic Integration
  • During the last twenty years the nations of South America have begun to emerge from regional isolation and form more integrated trade and political blocks.
  • Mercosur
    • 1995
    • Southern Core Common Market (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Venezuela – with Bolivia and Chile as associate members)
    • Free-Trade Zone
  • Andean Community
    • Began in 1969 as the Andean Pact
    • Restarted in 1995
    • Customs Union – Common Tariffs for Imports
    • Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia (Venezuela withdrew in 2006)
  • South American Community of Nations
    • Founded in 2004
    • Modeled on the EU and hope to eventually include all 12 nations
    • Promoting a common currency
    • Agreement to construct a Trans-Continent Highway from Brazil to Peru
  • Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA)
    • Only in proposal form in 2006
    • To join South America with NAFTA
    • Not well received by the poorer people of South America nor several of its governments.

Regional Patterns
  • South America is highly urbanized
    • Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay have at least 87% urbanized population
    • Brazil is at 81% urbanization
    • Least urbanized are the Andean/Amerindian Nations
    • Megacities (population greater than 10 million)
      • São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Buenos Aires


  • Movement to and clustering of population in cities and towns
  • South America’s increase based on both migration and natural increase
  • Cities generally follow the “Latin American City Model” plan
    • Centered around a Central Business District and a Commercial Spine
    • Elite Residential Zone anchored to the CBD and CS
    • A Zone of Maturity consists of mainly middle-class housing
    • A Zone of In-Situ-Accretion is a mix of middle and low income housing, generally thought of as a transitional area (moving either up on down)
    • A Zone of Peripheral Squatter Settlements surrounds the city, made up of the millions of impoverished and unskilled workers and recent migrants to the city
      • A center for the Informal Sector (Black Market)
      • Outside of government control or enforcement
      • Barrios or Favelas
    • Squatter Settlements on unused land along highways, rail corridors, and riverbanks. Even poorer then those in the PSS.

Regions of South America
  • The North
  • The West
  • The South (the Southern Cone)
  • Brazil

The North
  • Historic Colonial Footholds by non-Iberian Powers – Mix of South American and Caribbean
    • Colombia
    • Venezuela
    • Guyana (Britain)
    • Suriname (The Netherlands)
    • French Guiana (France)
  • Coastal Focus (less in Colombia and Venezuela)
  • Plantation System in the Coastal Tropical Zone
  • Importation of limited numbers of African Slaves for labor
  • Large population of Asian migrants (immigrated as contract laborers)
  • Third most populous country in South America
    • 58% Mestizo
    • 20% Black African descent
    • 20% European descent
    • Approximately 66% of the population is urbanized
  • Petroleum, natural gas, coal, iron ore, nickel, gold, copper, emeralds, hydropower, coffee
  • Key Cities are Bogotá and Medellin
  • Torn by internal conflicts
Factors relating to internal conflicts.
  • Typical Spanish model of colonial government
    • Small European Elite rules an impoverished majority
  • Physical Geography segments/fragments the country
  • Conflict between leftists and rightwing
  • Rise of the drug trade due to North American Demand
    • American led military anti-drug efforts
    • Emergence of drug lords and cartels with private armies
  • Stages of Conflict (general)
    • Contention
      • Generally between groups fighting for control of the government
    • Equilibrium
      • One side has control of the central government
      • Other side(s) control areas of the country
      • Rise of an Insurgent State
    • Counteroffensive
      • Central Government attempts to regain control

  • Focus on the Venezuelan Highlands in the North and West
  • Main export is oil
  • Natural Resources - petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, gold, bauxite, other minerals, hydropower, diamonds
  • Major cities are Caracas and Valencia
  • Was site of Spain’s first permanent South American settlement
  • Venezuelan Highlands are flanked by the Maracaibo Lowlands to the west and the Orinoco Basin (the Llanos) to the south and east.
    • Oil reserves are focused around Lake Maracaibo
  • Orinoco Basin and the Guiana Highlands are geologically new
  • Llanos exploited primarily as grazing land
  • Exploitation of iron deposits in the Guiana Highlands are the only resource linking this region to the rest of the country.
  • Between 25 and 27.4 million population
    • 60% Mestizo
    • 29% European
    • 8% African
    • 2% Asian
    • 1% Amerindian
  • Angel Falls – highest falls in the world.
Politics of Oil
  • Venezuela used oil to run the government and thus the country suffered during the depression of world oil prices into the 1990’s.
  • Hugo Chavez was elected in 1998 as a Socialist Strongman as the reaction of the majority of the poor, non-European peoples of the country to the failure to more evenly distribute oil wealth.
  • Exploits racial divisions between the Mestizos and Europeans
  • Ignores the use of Venezuelan territory by Columbian cartels and rebels
  • Revived old claim to large portions of Guyana
  • Actively seeks to thwart U.S. “Imperialism”
  • Instituted an “Imperial” presidency

The Guiana’s

  • Former British holding
  • Population of 800,000 or so
  • Divided between African and South Asian
  • Former Dutch holding
  • Divided between African, South Asian, and Indonesian
  • Some natural resources
French Guiana
  • Remains a department of the French Republic
  • Site of the French Spaceport of Kourou
  • Lowest per-capita income of the Guiana’s

The West
  • Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Paraguay
    • Mountainous with strong Altitudinal Zonation
    • Mainly of the Amerindian Subsistence Sphere
    • Large Amerindian population
    • Generally low incomes and standards of living
    • Grinding poverty of the landless peonage
    • Common civil unrest
    • Paraguay is a transition nation to the Southern Region

  • Largest of the nations in this region
  • Entirely Andean in geography
  • Natural Resources - copper, silver, gold, petroleum, timber, fish, iron ore, coal, phosphate, potash, hydropower, natural gas
  • Population is around 28 million
    • 45% Amerindian
    • 37% Mestizo
    • 10% Spanish (Criollos)
    • 3% African
    • 3% Asian
  • Peruvian Regions
    • Coastal Strip
      • Site of the Capital Lima
      • On the Geographic Periphery
      • The Economic Center
    • The Sierra (Andean) Region
      • About 1/3rd of the country
      • Center of the Amerindian Population
      • Economy focused on Mining and Subsistence farming
    • The Oriente or East
      • Inland slopes of the Amazon
      • Rainforest
      • Connected to the Atlantic by the Amazon River
History of Peru
  • Site of the Chavín Empire (900 BC – 200 AD)
    • set the stage for the following empires and cultures
  • Moche Empire (100 AD – 700 AD)
    • loose conglomeration of farming villages
    • extensive aqueducts and irrigation projects
  • Paracas culture (750 BC – 100 AD)
    • some of the finest textiles produced in South America
  • Huari Culture (500 – 1200 AD)
    • First truly unified Andean Empire
    • Contemporary with Early Incan development
  • Chimú Culture (contemporary with the Inca)
    • Descendents of the Moche
    • Conquered by the Inca around 1480 AD
  • Tiwanaku Culture (200 AD – 700 AD)
    • Precursor to the Inca
The Future of Peru
  • Exploration and exploitation of gas and oil reserves in the Amazon Oriente is a positive step
  • Defeat of the Shinning Path is balanced by the damage done to basic democratic principles during the Fujimori regime.

  • Population of about 14 million
    • 65% Mestizo
    • 25% Amerindian
    • 7% Spanish
    • 3% African
  • Three Regions
    • Coastal Belt – very fertile
    • Andean Zone
    • Oriente
  • Very large petroleum reserves.
  • Natural Resources - petroleum, fish, timber, hydropower

  • Landlocked
  • In the Altiplano (elongated, high-altitude basin)
  • 2.78% of land is arable
  • One of the poorest nations in South America
  • Coca is a, if not the, major crop
  • Population of around 9 million
    • 30% Mestizo
    • 55% Amerindian
    • 15% European
  • Natural Resources: tin, natural gas, petroleum, zinc, tungsten, antimony, silver, iron, lead, gold, timber, hydropower

  • Landlocked
  • Two major regions
    • Paraneña Region – southeastern portion of the country – rolling hills and valleys. Rich agriculture and where the majority of the population lives.
    • Chaco Region – The western 60% of the country. A sloping plain or pampas that slopes down from the west toward the east.
  • One of the least developed nations in South America
  • Very large informal sector (blackmarket)
  • Major exporter of soybeans
  • Large areas of land owned by foreign (Brazilian) landowners
  • Population
    • 95% Mestizo
    • 5% Other
    • About 56% urbanized

The South
  • Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay
  • Heart of the European Commercial Sphere
  • Mercosur – Hemisphere’s second largest trading block

  • Eighth largest country in the world
  • Great landscape variation
  • Population concentration on the Pampa
  • Highly Urbanized Population (89%)
  • Population of almost 39 million
    • 97% European (Spanish, Italian, German)
    • 3% Mestizo with some Amerindian an others
  • Was one of the richest countries in the world
  • Economy focused around primate cities of Buenos Aires and Córdoba
  • Rich natural resources
  • Economic and Political Mismanagement
    • Endemic corruption
    • Loss of power by the periphery (focused on urban areas)
    • County was bankrupted by Juan Perón (1946 – 1955)
    • Series of internal violence and alternating regimes
    • 1976 Military Coup deposes civilian government and holds power
      • Dirty War – 1976-1983
      • The Disappeared
      • The Falkland’s War 1982
    • Return to civilian government in 1983
      • Massive national debt related to rebuilding causes economy to collapse 1999 - 2002
    • Current period of economic recovery and growth

  • Runs for 4000 km (2500 miles) along the west coast of southern South America.
    • Forms an Elongated State
  • Severe altitudinal Zonation
  • Multiple climate and environment systems north to south
  • Center of population (90%) is in central Chile, around Santiago
  • Population of around 16.5 million
    • 95% European and Mestizo
    • 3% Amerindian
  • Three sub-regions
    • Middle Chile
      • Capital Santiago
      • Valparaiso – chief port
      • Divided into northern and southern sections
        • Northern Middle Chile
        • Hacienda System giving way to plantation farming
        • Mediterranean climate
      • Southern Middle Chile
        • Ranching and fruit plantations
        • Large German settlement
    • Atacama Desert
      • Worlds largest, exploitable deposits of nitrates
      • Very large copper reserves
    • South Chile
      • Mountains broken by fjords and islands
      • Little permanent settlement
      • Very restricted transportation routes
  • Chile gained control of the Atacama during the War of the Pacific (1879 – 1883).
  • Cut off Bolivia from the sea

Chilean Model
  • Following the removal of Military Dictatorship in 1990
  • Free-market economic reforms
  • Stable growth
  • Low inflation and unemployment
  • Poverty reduction
  • Foreign investment
  • Intensified trade linkages with its neighbors


  • Highly reliant on copper prices
  • Lack of export diversification
  • Inadequate education system
  • Income inequality (20% poverty rate)

  • Compact, small, densely populated
  • Most European-like nation of South America
  • Capital of Montevideo is a classic Primate City
    • Holds 35% of the population
  • Population of almost 3.5 million
    • 88% European
    • 8% Mestizo
    • 4% African
  • Speak both Spanish and Portuguese
  • Focus on Tourism as well as ranching and textiles
  • A classic example of the Von Thünen Model
    • Market Gardens and Dairy Production near Montevideo
    • Surrounded by an agricultural ring in concentric land-use zones

  • Consists of almost half of South America’s population and land area
  • Only Portuguese speaking country in South America
  • Ethnically Diverse
  • Population of almost 190 million people
    • 53.7% European
    • 38.5% Mulatto
    • 6.2% African
  • Rich natural resources: bauxite, gold, iron ore, manganese, nickel, phosphates, platinum, tin, uranium, petroleum, hydropower, timber
  • Ninth largest economy in the world
    • Strong aeronautics/space industry
    • Strong banking and financial markets
    • Brazilian IT technology is some of the most advanced in the world
  • A true National Culture
  • Capital of Brasilia – a constructed city, a Forward Capital
  • Population
    • Very racially mixed
    • Large Muslim population
    • Population Growth slowed to 1.4 (less then replacement)
    • Highly urbanized culture
  • Two Mega-Cities (São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro)
  • Infused with African themes (somewhat Caribbean)
    • Due to presence of former slaves
    • Portuguese colonial presence in Africa
  • Inequality
    • Stark gap between affluence and poverty
    • Almost 19% poverty rate
    • 10.2% illiteracy rate
    • Major problem with human trafficking
    • Among the world’s highest nations on the Gini Coefficient
      • A measure of inequality distribution
      • It is defined as a ratio with values between 0 and 1
      • 0 corresponds to perfect income equality (i.e. everyone has the same income) and 1 corresponds to perfect income inequality (i.e. one person has all the income, while everyone else has zero income)
    • Poverty has increased 50% since 1980
    • Wealthiest 10% of the population own 66% of the land and control over 50% of its total wealth
Urban Focus on Three Great Cities
  • Rio de Janeiro
    • Cultural Center and Focus of the Nation
  • São Paulo
    • Industrial Hub and Economic Center
  • Brasilia
    • Capital and Political Focus
    • A Forward Capital
      • A capital positioned in actually or potentially contested territory
      • To confirm a state’s determination to maintain its presence in the region of contention
      • A “Growth Pole” Concept
        • A city founded to encourage regional economic development of the hinterland
Regions of Brazil

  • Culture Hearth
  • Plantation Economy - sugar
  • Large influx of African Slaves
  • Inland backcountry one of the poorest areas of the country
  • Around 30% of the population lives in this region
  • Focus on large landowners due to poor soil
  • Massive immigration to urban areas
  • Tourism focus on the coast
  • Increasing national and international investment in the region
  • Core Area
    • Major cities and population clusters
  • Based on gold and now iron ores
  • Tourism
  • Rio de Janeiro as an Entrepôt
  • Center of Brazilian manufacturing

São Paulo State
  • Leading industrial region
  • Center of development
  • Accounts for 50% of the nation’s GDP
  • Coffee, orange juice, and soybeans
  • Highly skilled and educated workforce
  • City of São Paulo is a mega-city with a population of 25.2 million

The South
  • Three states
  • Population of 27 million
  • Center of Brazilian agriculture
  • Rice, tobacco, beef, vineyards
  • Very European region
    • Large anti-migrant feelings
    • Racism
  • Highly skilled and educated workforce
  • Brazil’s Silicon Valley

The Interior or Central West Region
  • Site of Brasilia
    • Built in 1960
  • An internal frontier
  • Slow development until the 1990’s
    • Establishment of large scale, mechanized farming
  • Soybeans, cotton, grains
  • Growth slowed by lack of good transportation routes

The North
  • Largest and most rapidly developing region
  • The Amazon Basin
  • Region stagnated following the collapse of the rubber boom in 1910
  • Minerals, cattle, crops, and forestry
  • Substantial problems with deforestation
  • Violent conflict between poor migrants and settlers and wealthy landowners

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