Southern ConeDark green: region included in the Southern Cone in all times. Medium green: region sometimes included in the Southern Cone. Light green: region only in rare exceptions included in the Southern Cone
The term Southern Cone (Spanish: Cono Sur, Portuguese: Cone Sul) refers to a geographic region composed of the southernmost areas of South America, below the Tropic of Capricorn. The region includes all of Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, and sometimes Paraguay and southern portions of Brazil which include the Brazilian states of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, Paraná and São Paulo.
- 1 Language
- 2 Demographics and Ethnicity
- 3 Education and Standards of Living
- 4 Religion
- 5 Geography
- 6 Botany
- 7 Politics
- 8 Inclusion of Brazil
- 9 Exclusion of Paraguay
- 10 See also
- 11 References
Italian (mostly its Northern dialects, such as Venetian) is spoken in rural communities across Argentina and Southern Brazil. German in some dialects is mostly spoken in Southern Brazil, Southern Argentina and in some communities in Southern Chile.
Furthermore English is spoken in the Falkland Islands, a disputed territory between the U.K. (inhabited by British subjects) and Argentina. Welsh is spoken by descendants of immigrants in the Patagonia region of Argentina. Japanese has speakers in communities of Southeastern Brazil and Korean in the main cities. Portuñol, Portunhol in Portuguese, is a pidgin language of Brazilian Portuguese and Spanish that is spoken in the border with Brazil.
Demographics and EthnicityPopulation density of the Southern Cone by first level national administrative divisions. Population/km²
The population of these countries: Argentina (39.3 million), Chile (16.4 million) and Uruguay (3.6 million). Buenos Aires is the largest metropolitan area at 13.1 million and Santiago, Chile has 6.4 million. When southern Brazil is included, São Paulo is the largest city, with 19.8 million. Uruguay's capital and largest city, Montevideo, has 1.8 million, and it receives many visitors on ferry boats across the Río de la Plata from Buenos Aires, 50 km (35 miles) away.
As far as ethnicity is concerned, the population of the Southern Cone is racially and culturally very similar to the European making up about 80 percent of the total population, being majority in Argentina, Uruguay and Southern Brazil, and a significant part of the Chilean population. Mestizos make up 17% of the population, being majority in Paraguay and Chile, though their characteristics lean towards the nations of Southern Europe. Native Americans make up 2% of the population, and mulattoes, mostly in Southern Brazil and Uruguay, the remaining 1%.
Argentina is a melting pot of different peoples, both autochthonous and immigrants. Citizens of European descent make up the great majority of the population, with estimates varying from white 89.7% to 97% of the total population. The last national census, based on self-ascription, indicated a similar figure. Nonetheless, a study conducted by the Genetic Department of the University of Buenos Aires, and confirmed by other research studies, estimated that 56% of the Argentine population had at least one Amerindian ancestor, though not fully visible in physical appearance, on either the paternal or maternal lineages and 10% of the population had Amerindian ancestors on both lineages.
In Uruguay case, where the majority of the population is of Spanish and Italian descent, the indigenous population is now extinct, yet retains a visible minority with mestizos and blacks making up 12% of the population.
Meanwhile, although the majority of the population of Paraguay is composed of mestizos (mixed European & Amerindian), the European contribution has impacted significantly. It is not uncommon for the admixture in their mestizos to lean more towards the European element, as opposed to a relatively equal amount of both in the rest of Latin America, and in some cases it is the only discernible element. This situation has led to the often contentious question on the proportion of white people. Paraguay has an undetermined number of unmixed White Europeans, as well as a visible Amerindian minority.
The bulk of the Chilean population features a white and white mestizo composition, the product of miscegenation between colonial Spanish immigrants and Amerindian females.. Whites are mostly Spanish in origin (mainly Castilians, Andalusians and Basques), and to a lesser degree from Chile's various waves of immigrants (Italians, Germans, Israelis, Yugoslavians, Arabs, etc.). Foreigners have always been scarce in Chile. In the 1960 census they numbered 105,000 (55% being Spanish, Germans, Italians or Argentines, in that order). Besides being small in number, they mixed quickly with the locals. The black population was always scant, reaching a high of 25,000 during the colonial period; its racial contribution is less than 1%. The current Native American population is relatively small (see below) according to the censuses; their numbers are augmented when one takes into consideration those that are physically similar, and those that are linguistically or socially thought to belong to them.
Education and Standards of Living
The other conspicuous characteristic of the Southern Cone is its relatively high standard of living and quality of life. The Argentina's and Chile’s HDIs—(0.869), (0.863) the highest in Latin America—are similar to those of the richest countries in Eastern Europe, such as Slovenia, Croatia or Hungary. Uruguay, where illiteracy technically doesn't exist, reaches the same level in this area, even considering that it faces restrictions to its industrial and economic growth. Argentina and Chile are considered developed countries when it comes to human development, since their high indices of 0.869 and 0.863 respectively surpass many places in Europe and other industrialized regions. High life expectancy, health and education access, significant participation in the global markets and the emerging economy profile of its members make the Southern Cone the most prosperous macro-region in Latin America.
The overwhelming majority is Roman Catholic, but there are Muslims, Anglicans, Eastern Orthodox, Buddhists and Daoists. Jewish communities thrive in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Montevideo, Uruguay. Despite some parts of the Southern cone's religious conservatism, it never curtailed the region's characteristics of social reform. Uruguay, where agnosticism and atheism is very common, has a strong church and state separation policy and could be considered the most secular country in Latin America. The more conservative Chile only recently passed a law to legalize divorce, contrasting with Brazil and Argentina, countries where gay union is already possible in some regions.
The climates are mostly temperate, but include humid subtropical, Mediterranean, highland tropical, maritime temperate, sub-Antarctic temperate, highland cold, desert and semi-arid temperate regions. Except for northern regions of Argentina (Thermal equator in January), the whole country of Paraguay, the Argentina-Brazil border and the interior of the Atacama desert, the region rarely suffers from intense heat. In addition to that, the winter presents mostly cool temperatures, except for the Andes and Patagonia desert (almost unoccupied regions). Strong and constant wind and high humidity is what brings sensation of low temperatures in the winter. The Atacama is the driest place on Earth.
The most peculiar plant of the region is the Araucaria tree (pinus) which can be found in Argentina and Chile. The only native species of pinus found in the southern hemisphere had its origin in the Southern Cone. Araucaria angustifolia, once widespread in Southern Brazil, is now a critically endangered species. The steppe region, situated in central Argentina, Uruguay and southern Brazil is known as the Pampas, and the typical people of the region are a mixture of Spanish and some Amerindian blood, and are called Gauchos. Maritime tropical trees, tundra, Mediterranean vegetation and desert plants are also natural occurrences. Besides Antarctica, Patagonia is the cleanest place on earth.
During the second half of 20th century, these countries were often ruled by juntas, military nationalistic dictatorships. Around the 1970s, these regimes collaborated in Plan Cóndor against leftist opposition, including urban guerrillas. However, by the 1990s, these countries restored democracies.
Currently, Argentine President Cristina Kirchner and Chilean President Michelle Bachelet have restored credible and reformist governments. Uruguay has a liberal and secular tradition where their social welfare policies, freedom rights history and democratic stability are sometimes held as the "Switzerland of Latin America". For information on countries' political histories, see Argentina, Chile and Uruguay.
Inclusion of Brazil
When only entire countries are included, in most of cases only Argentina, Uruguay and Chile are included in the Southern Cone. In some other definitions, when used for describing the countries under military dictatorship during the middle of 20th Century, Brazil is fully included, although most of the Brazilian lands are geographically outside the Southern Cone.
Nowadays, the southernmost states of Brazil (the states of São Paulo, Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul,) are generally included because they share the same characteristics with Uruguay, Argentina and Chile: above average standard of living, mild climate (the states of Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul receive snowfalls every year), high level of industrialization and strong European immigration. Parts of the Brazilian states of Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais also share the same characteristics.
Exclusion of Paraguay
Due to the geographic position and the past military dictatorship, Paraguay is often included in the Southern Cone . But, due to its great poverty, non-industrialized trait and mostly tropical climate, in opposition to the other countries of the Southern Cone, it's many times excluded from the definition.
- ^ Argentina
- ^ CIA - The World Factbook - Argentina
- ^ Turismo de Argentina
- ^ Henguy, Silvina. "El 56% de los argentinos tiene antepasados indígenas", Clarin.com. Retrieved on 2007-11-07. (Spanish)
- ^ a b Corach, et al. Estructura Genética de la Argentina. Ministerio de Educación Ciencia y Tecnología
- ^ CIA - The World Factbook - Uruguay
- ^ CIA - The World Factbook - Paraguay
- ^ CIA - The World Factbook - Chile
- ^ "DYS19 and DYS199 loci in a Chilean population of mixed ancestry" University of Chile
- ^ Redirect Test
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