South America, Latin America
The two geographical totalities only partly overlap.
The economies and social conditions in South America throw up very sharp contrasts, ranging from real prosperity to great poverty. Brazil (with 186 million inhabitants) is by far the major economic power, followed by Argentina (38.5 million), Colombia (41 million) and Chile (16 million).
In geographical terms, South America holds several world records: it hosts the river with the greatest flow (the Amazon), the longest mountain chain (the Andes), the driest desert (the Atacama, in northern Chile), the highest capital (La Paz, Bolivia: 3.700m) and the most southerly city (Puerto Toro, Chile : 55°O5’ lat. south.).
Latin America is a much greater grouping. It consists of all the countries of the American continent where one speaks Latin Iberian languages (Spanish and Portuguese) and French (Guyana, Haiti, Martinique and Guadeloupe). The francophone regions of North America (Quebec, Acadia) are traditionally excluded. In geographical terms Latin America includes the south of North America (Mexico: 105 million inhabitants), the Latin Antilles (Cuba, Puerto Rico), the countries of central America (Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras) and South America (with the exception of Guyana, Anglophone, and Surinam, Dutch speaking).
From a geopolitical perspective, Latin America is generally considered as a whole distinct from North America, which is very predominantly Anglo-Saxon.