32 Fascinating Facts About South America

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1BAP Puno

BAP Puno

Peru has a really old hospital ship named BAP Puno that still in service. It was built in 1862 and it still runs on its original steam engine that is fueled not by coal but with dried llama dung.

2. José Mujica, the former President of Uruguay was considered the poorest president in the world and would donate 90% of his $12,000 monthly salary to charities and would even wait his turn at public hospitals.

3. In 1985, a volcano in Colombia that was covered in glaciers erupted, instantly melting the glaciers. Two hours later, a 100-feet deep flood of rock and water traveling 39 feet per second leveled an entire nearby village, killing 20,000 out of its 29,000 residents.

4. In the town of Laguna, Brazil a pod of Bottlenose Dolphin cooperatively fish with fishermen. The dolphin herd mullet toward the shore and signal the fishermen to cast their nets. They do this every day. Town records say that the dolphins and fishermen have been cooperating since 1847.

5. The country of Chile is so long that it would stretch from the northernmost point of Norway all the way south to Morocco.

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There is a boiling river named Shanay-Timpishka in Peru that kills everything that falls into it.

7. Cerro Rico, one of Bolivia's oldest silver mines has claimed the lives of an estimated 8 million people in the past 500 years. It is known as the 'Mountain that eats men" and is still mined with pick and shovel today.

8. Paraguay briefly made married polygamy legal in the 19th century, after a major war against neighboring countries had claimed the lives of many men. At that time, males were only 13% of the total population of Paraguay.

9. During the Tinku festival which is celebrated in Bolivia women form circles and begin chanting while the men proceed to fight each other until blood is shed. The blood is considered a sacrifice for Pachamama (Mother Nature). Rarely even women join the fighting.

10. Guyana’s largest ethnic group, the Indo-Guyanese (also known as East Indians) who are the descendants of indentured servants from India, make up 43.5% of the population.

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11Racing Club of Argentina

Racing Club of Argentina

Racing Club of Argentina had a curse put on their stadium by their fierce rivals by burying 7 dead cats under the pitch in 1967, and oddly enough they stopped winning. It took them 34 years to find all 7, after which they won the championship the same year the last cat was found.

12. In Quito, Ecuador there is a group of vigilantes known as “Acciōn Ortogrāfica Quito” who go around correcting all the bad grammar they find in graffiti.

13. Yungay, Peru was the site of the deadliest avalanche in history. In 1962, two American scientists predicted the calamity and were consequently forced to flee by the government. 8 years later, their prediction came true and 20,000 people were killed in a day.

14. The 1987 Goiânia accident in Brazil was a radioactive contamination accident when two scrap merchants stole equipment left in an abandoned hospital and inadvertently released radioactive material from a radiotherapy device, resulting in 249 contaminations and 4 deaths.

15. There is a giant limestone wall named Cal Orko in Bolivia that has over 5000 dinosaur footprints on it. The 462 tracks were made by 8 species over 68 million years ago.

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16Big Mac Index

Big Mac Index

In 2011, Argentina's government forced McDonald's to sell Big Macs at artificially low prices so that the country's performance would appear better on The Economist's Big Mac Index.

17. Some children in Colombia need to use a quarter of a mile high zip line above the Rio Negro River because it’s the only way they can get to their school.

18. The city of Iquitos in Peru is the largest city in the world which you can't access by road. The only way to get there is by plane or boat.

19. In La Paz, Bolivia, there are isolated "hotel rooms" where alcoholics can, for a small fee, go to drink themselves to death without fear of interruption. Aptly, they are known as "Elephant Graveyards."

20. In Brazil, it is so common to get robbed in the streets that a lot of people carry an extra cellphone (they call it the “thief’s phone”) which they can give to the robber if they are ever robbed.

21Bolivian inflation

Bolivian inflation

In 1985, the rate of inflation in Bolivia went from an estimated 25,000% to a single digit within a period of less than 6 weeks because of economic “shock therapy” designed by their former president.

22. There is a small town named Colonia Tovar in Venezuela that was founded by German immigrants in 1843. It has maintained its authentic origin culture, including architecture, cuisine, and language, so much that it is known as 'The Germany of the Caribbean.'

23. There is a hotel named Palacio de Sal in Bolivia that is made completely out of salt, and licking the walls is strictly forbidden inside the hotel.

24. 30,000 people disappeared during Argentina’s dirty war. Every Thursday Buenos Aires’ Plaza de Mayo fills with women wearing white scarves and holding signs covered with names of those who were kidnapped by the government.

25. There is a bridge named Queshuachaca made of grass in Peru that was originally built 500 years ago and is rebuilt every June.


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