South American Trivia

World Records

  • South America, at (17,819,000 sq km), is the fourth largest continent in the world.
  • La Paz, Bolivia is the highest capital city in the world.
  • Brazil, at 8,456,510 sq km, (3,265,059 sq miles), is the fifth largest country in the world. Argentina, at 2,736,690 sq km, (1,056,636 sq miles) is the eighth largest.
  • Two of the five longest rivers in the world are in South America: the Amazon at 4,087 miles and the Parana at 3,032 miles. The Amazon is visible from space.
  • For sheer volume of water, the Amazon is the Greatest River.
  • The Amazon river basin is the largest contiguous tropical rainforest in the world. The Amazon and its tributaries form an area called Amazonia.​
  • The Andes are the longest mountain range in the world, extending more than 4000 miles through seven countries down the western portion of South America.
  • The highest waterfall in the world is Angel Falls, Venezuela where water falls 3,281 feet from the top to the base in a series of steps.
  • Buenos Airesis the second largest city with with 11.96 million inhabitants living within the city limits. With those outside the city limits, it has 12.91 million inhabitants, making it the fourteenth largest city.
  • São Paulo, Brazil with 18.5 million inhabitants is the fifth largest city in the world and the largest in South America. Population Density
  • Lake Titicaca is the highest navigable lake in the world.
  • Buenaventura, Colombia with 267" rain per year is the wettest inhabited place on earth. Other sources say Quibido, Colombia, the rainiest place in South America, receives more than 350 inches (890 centimeters) of rain.
  • The third, fourth and fifth inhabited places with the least recorded rainfall are Arica Desert, Chile 0.04", Ica, Peru 0.1" and Antofagasta, Chile 0.2".
  • The Atacama desert of Chile with 54,000 sq. miles is the largest cool, coastal desert. The oasis at San Pedro de Atacama has supported life for thousands of years. Driest Place .
  • The Argentine Patagonian desert with 260,000 sq. miles is the second largest cold winter desert.
  • Suriname has the tenth lowest density population of 7.0 people per square mile.
  • Chile had the world's greatest recorded earthquake in 1960. Greatest Earthquake
  • Iguazu Falls are shared by two countries: Argentina and Brazil.
  • The only still growing glacier is Perito Moreno. Read more about the Glaciers of Argentina

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  • The smallest orchid is found in South America and has a flower only one half millimeter in diameter. Orchid Trivia.
  • Rubber plants from Brazil revolutionized transportation and created other industries.
  • Modern petunias of all colors are hybrids from the South American native plant.
  • Modern forms of marigolds were bred from about six of the 30 wild species which are native to Arizona, Argentina, and Mexico.
  • The passion flower received its name from the early Christian missionaries to South America, who saw in the various parts of the curiously constructed flower symbols of the Crucifixion -- the three crosses, the crown of thorns, nails and cords. Smoky Mountain Trivia
  • Corn, potatoes, tomatoes, peanuts, tobacco, chocolate, sweet potatoes, tapioca, pumpkins, squash, coconuts, cherimoyas, plantains, pineapples are native to Latin America.
  • Potatoes were thought to cause leprosy until Louis XVI of France had them served at his table.
  • Tomatoes were thought poisonous because they are a relative of the nightshade family, but once called Love Apples, became popular as a vegetable, though they are actually a fruit.
    • Llamas were domesticated from Guanacos in the Andean highlands of Peru 4,000-5,000 years ago and are among the oldest domestic animals in the world.
    • The Brazilian tapir is an excellent swimmer.
    • The capybara (photo top right) is the largest rodent in the world.
    • The coypu, also called nutria, is a semi-aquatic rodent with webbed feet.
    • the giant anteater can weigh up to 86 pounds (39 kg).
    • The flightless common Rhea or Nandu is the largest bird in the Americas.
    • The Peruvian guinea pig called cuy was part of Incan ceremonies. Today it is an Andean delicacy.
  • The citrus industry in the US started from a dozen saplings from Brazil. Food TriviaFauna
    Other Wildlife
  • The anaconda is the largest snake by mass, not length. It can be as big around as an adult man. Biggest Snake
  • The carnivorous piranha is the most Ferocious Fish.
  • The goliath bird-eating spider, a species of tarantula, eats young birds, frogs, small snakes, beetles, lizards, and even bats and has been measured as 11 in in diameter. Biggest Spider
  • The largest dinosaur discovered to date is Argentina's Santanaraptor. The Dinosaurs of South America
  • The longest centipede in the world is the giant scolopenders (Scolopendra sp.) of South America and Asia, which easily reach a length of 11 inches. Arthropod Trivia
  • The largest moths in the world are the Hercules emperor moth (Coscinocera hercules) of northern Australia and New Guinea (the females reach a wingspan of 10.5 inches with a surface area of 1002 inches) and the great owlet moth (Thysania agripinna) of South America (females measure up to 12 inches in wingspan, but lack the large surface area). Arthropod Trivia
  • The largest spider in the world is the giant bird-eating spider Theraphosa blondi of South America; females may achieve a leg-span of 10.5 inches, a body length or 3.5 inches, and a weight of 4.3 ounces. Arthropod Trivia
  • Some tropical cockroaches (South America and Australia) exceed three inches in length. Arthropod Trivia
  • During the building of the Panama Canal a doctor performed an emergency operation using the light given off by a large luminous click beetle (Pyrophorus notiluca) because all other sources of light had failed. Arthropod Trivia
  • The Pantanal is a huge wetland area and home to thousands of species of wildlife.​Do you have a bit of trivia to add? Use this form!


  • Cumana, Venezuela is the first city founded on South American soil. Founded in 1521 by Gonzalo de Ocampo on the site of a Franciscan mission on Rí Manzanares, Cumana is the birthplaces of General Antonio Jose de Sucre, a participant in the Wars of Independence and the first president of Bolivia.
  • The Dutch acquired Surinam in exchange for Manhattan Island in 1667. Geography Trivia
  • The potato from South America had a lasting effect on Irish history via the Irish Potato Famine.
  • The shovels that excavated the Panama Canal were later used to dig a mine which eventually became one of the world's largest open pit copper mines at Chuquicamata in the Atacama Desert.
  • Brazil is the only South America country to have an emperor residing there. John IV fled Napoleon from Portugal and his son and grandson, Dom Pedro I and Dom Pedro II, all ruled in Brazil.
  • The Inca Empire, for all its fame, was a relatively short one. For thousands or years before them, other cultures created sophisticated and powerful civilizations. See the TimeLine. Food and Culture
  • Argentineans eat more meat than any other nation in the world - an average of 10 ounces per person per day. Food Trivia
  • Incan soldiers used to eat freeze-dried potatoes when they were on a march. The Incans would leave the food outside to freeze overnight, then thaw them out and stomp on them to remove the excess water. History Trivia
  • Lamaism, a Mongolian form of nature worship, a kind of Tibetan Buddhism mixed with Shamanism, came from South America. Note: This bit of trivia may be no more than Urban Legend.
  • Dueling is legal in Paraguay as long as both parties are registered blood donors. Legal Trivia
  • The ramming of the Nantucket whaleship Essex off the coast of South America became the basis for Herman Melville's novel, Moby Dick.
  • Avianca, Colombia's national airline, founded in 1919, is South America's oldest airline.
  • The Inter-Continental Hotel chain began in South America in 1946 by Pan American World Airlines.
  • Baseball is very popular in Venezuela and other Latin American countries. Of the 849 players in the United States' Major League Baseball on the roosters, Opening Day 2002, 222 were born abroad. This equates to a quarter of the league. At the top of the list is the Dominic Republic, represented by 65 players, followed by Puerto Rico and Venezuela with 38 each and Mexico with 18. Latin American Baseball.
  • Andean Pre-Columbian musical instruments are still popular and used by Wayanay Inka.Do you have a bit of trivia to add? Use this form!
    Note: These items come from various sources and their accuracy isn't verified.


  • Buenos Aires and Montevideo, the capitals of Argentina and Uruguay, are on opposite shores of Rio de la Plata.
  • There are 38 peaks in South America higher than Mt. McKinley, the highest point in North America. The highest mountain is Cerro Aconcagua (22,835 ft) in Argentina. Topographic Map
  • The lowest point in South America is also in Argentina, a point in Peninsula Valdes which is 151 ft below sea level.
  • Brazil borders ten countries in South America. The only exceptions are Chile and Ecuador. Political Borders
  • Peru's Colca Canyon is thought to be deeper than the Grand Canyon. The Gran Chaco, where the temperature reaches 110 degrees F. (43 degrees C), has the hottest weather. Its often called South America's Last Frontier .
  • The Pacific Ocean at the Isthmus of Panama is often 20 feet higher than the Atlantic Ocean. Panama is the only place in the world where someone can see the sun rise on the Pacific Ocean and set on the Atlantic. Geography TriviaFrom a reader:
  • People in South America see América as one continent from Tierra del Fuego to the North Pole...Sudamérica is just a part of this continent.Submitted by: klbell
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    Note: These items come from various sources and their accuracy isn't verified.
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