42 Cool Facts About Countries From South America

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1Kayapo people

Kayapo people

An Amazon tribe named Kayapo has beaten back ranchers and gold miners and famously stopped a dam. They even rejected money from dam-building companies saying “We have decided that we do not want a single penny of your dirty money... Our river does not have a price, our fish that we eat does not have a price, and the happiness of our grandchildren does not have a price.”

2. There is a river basin named Catatumbo in Venezuela that gets struck by lightning over 200 times per hour for up to 10 hrs straight. It occurs more than 100 times a year and is predictable up to a few months in advance.

3. Being late in Brazil is so part of the culture that if they want to start on time they say “com pontualidade britânica” which means “with British punctuality.”

4. Bolivia became landlocked in 1904 after losing the War of the Pacific. However, the country still observes the Day of the Sea, "where politicians give speeches and people listen to the recorded sound of seagulls."

5. The Armed Forces of Colombia once decided to commission a pop song that secretly included a Morse code message that was intended to be heard by their kidnapped military personnel. They did this because their kidnappers allowed the captives to listen to the radio. The secret message was “19 people rescued, you're next. Don't lose hope.”

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6Mount Chimborazo

Mount Chimborazo

Mount Chimborazo of Ecuador is the highest point on Earth, 1.5 miles/2.4 kilometers above Mount Everest. The Earth is an 'oblate spheroid' shape, so the equator bulges out. The mountain sits on top of this bulge so it is the closest point to the moon and outer space.

7. In 1865, dictator Francisco Solano López of Paraguay plunged his country into an ill-advised war with Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay. In just 5 years, Paraguay lost over half its population, including up to 90% of its men. It was arguably the worst military defeat ever suffered by a modern nation-state.

8. In Argentina, the seventh son of a couple automatically receives the Godfathership of the President to prevent him from turning into a werewolf.

9. Every December 25th, a town in Peru celebrates "Takanakuy" where men, women, and children settle grudges from the past year by calling each other out and having a fistfight. Then everybody goes drinking to numb the pain and move on to a new year.

10. The Tagua Tagua observatory in Chile is known for its peculiar wine whose secret ingredient is extra-terrestrial in nature. It is made by fermenting pieces of a billion-year-old meteorite into it.

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11BAP 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.

12. 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.

13. 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.

14. 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.

15. 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.

17. 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.

18. 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.

19. 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.

20. 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.

21Racing 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.

22. 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.

23. 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.

24. 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.

25. 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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