Plan of Study
Examine the major geographical
features of Columbia.
Compare the geography of Peru to that of Ecuador.
Contrast Bolivia with Chile.
Prepare a geographic portrait of Argentina.
Chapter 9: The Andean Countries
Colombia, named after Christopher Columbus, sits astride the Andes mountain
ranges at the northwestern edge of South America. Most of Colombia's people
live in the valleys and plateaus of the Andes. Petroleum, coal, gold, and
emeralds are only some of the natural resources found in Colombia. Colombia's
government is a republic with an elected president. That government is
struggling to combat the power of drug dealers who make huge fortunes from
selling cocaine. Almost all of Colombia's people are mestizos: people of
mixed European and Native American or African backgrounds.
Peru and Ecuador have narrow coastal plains with mild temperatures; the
high Andes in the center; and hot, rainy lowlands in the interior. Peru's
largest exports are copper and fish. The Inca, a powerful Native American
civilization, lived in Peru during the 1400s. They were conquered by the
Spanish in the early 1500s. Today's Peruvians share a heritage from both
of those groups. Although the Equator runs through the country of Ecuador,
its climate is not completely hot and tropical. The cold Peru Current and
the Andes have a moderating effect on the climate. Ecuador's economy is
focused on agriculture.
Bolivia is a landlocked country near the center of South America. Most
Bolivians live on the altiplano, a high plateau surrounded by the Andes.
Although rich in minerals, Bolivia is a poor country. Its people are mainly
Native Americans or mestizos. Chile is a long, narrow country along the
Pacific coast of South America. Eighty percent of Chile's land is made
up of the Andes. Mining and agriculture are both important to Chile's economy.
Columbia has coastlines on the Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean.
Coastal lowlands, central highlands, and inland rain forests make up Columbia's
Coffee is Columbia's major farm product.
Peru and Ecuador
Peru's long Pacific coastline is mostly desert and plains.
The land that is now Peru was the center of a great Native American civilization
- the Inca Empire.
Most of the people of Peru live in coastal cities and in mountain valleys.
Chile and Bolivia
is a landlocked country near the center of South America. Chile is a long,
narrow country along the Pacific coast.
Most of Bolivia's people are Native Americans.
The majority of Chile's population live in the fertile central valley between
Copper is the major mineral export of Chile; tin is Bolivia's major mineral
Argentina is the second-largest country in South America, after Brazil.
A vast, treeless plain called the Pampas is home to Argentina's beef cattle
About one-third of Argentina's people live in Buenos Aires, the nation's