definition of Wikipedia
|Area||4,944,081 square kilometres (1,908,920 sq mi)|
|Population||135,707,204 (July 2010 est.)|
|Density||27.45 /km2 (71.1 /sq mi)|
|Countries||3, 4 or 5|
|Languages||Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and many others|
| São Paulo
Santiago de Chile
Southern Cone (Spanish: Cono Sur, Portuguese: Cone Sul) is a geographic region composed of the southernmost areas of South America, south of the Tropic of Capricorn. Although geographically this includes part of Southern and Southeast (São Paulo) of Brazil, in terms of political geography the Southern cone has traditionally comprised Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay. In the narrowest sense, it only covers Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, bounded on the north by the states of Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia and Peru, on the west by the Pacific Ocean, and south to the junction between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, which it is the closest continental area of Antarctica (1000 km).
The main language spoken in the region is Spanish owing to the Spanish colonization from the 16th to the 19th century; Brazilians speak Portuguese.
High life expectancy, the highest Human Development Index of Latin America, high standard of living, significant participation in the global markets and the emerging economy of its members make the Southern Cone the most prosperous macro-region in South America.
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 heat. In addition to that, the winter presents mostly cool temperatures. Strong and constant wind and high humidity is what brings low temperatures in the winter. The Atacama is the driest place on Earth.
One of the most peculiar plants of the region is the Araucaria tree which can be found in southern Brazil, Chile and Argentina. The only native group of conifers 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, protected by law. 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, cold steppes, Mediterranean vegetation and desert plants are also natural occurrences.
Besides languages and colonial heritage, the states of the Southern Cone share some common cultural traits such as high football popularity and relatively good performance in that sport. Argentina and Uruguay have both won the FIFA World Cup twice, and Brazil five times; they are the only national teams outside Europe to have won the cup. Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay have all hosted the World Cup.
Other cultural expressions associated with the Southern Cone is the social and culinary practice of the asado barbecue. The asado developed from the horsemen and cattle culture of the region, more specifically from the gauchos of Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay (and southern Chile) and the huasos of Chile. In the Southern Cone horsemen are considered figures of national identity and are as such embodied in the epic poem Martín Fierro. Mate is popular throughout the Southern Cone, especially in Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and the state of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil. In Chile mate is popular in the southern regions and in rural areas of south-central Chile.
In the countries of the Southern Cone, 19th- and 20th-century European immigrants have had strong influence on the countries' culture, social life and politics.
The overwhelming majority, including those of recent immigrant background, speak Spanish (in Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay) or Portuguese in the case of Brazil. The Spanish-speaking countries of the Southern Cone are divided into three main dialects:
Preliminary research has shown that Rioplatense Spanish, and particularly the speech of the city of Buenos Aires, has intonation patterns that resemble those of Italian dialects and differ markedly from the patterns of other forms of Spanish. Argentina, and particularly Buenos Aires, had huge numbers of Italian immigrant settlers since the 19th century. The researchers note that the development of this dialect is a relatively recent phenomenon, developing since the beginning of the 20th century and the main wave of Southern Italian immigration.
Autochthonous languages, spoken by some Native American groups include Mapudungun (also known as Mapuche), Quechua, Aymara and Guarani. The first one is primarily spoken in Araucanía and adjacent areas of Patagonia, in southern Argentina and Chile. Guarani is an official language of Paraguay. It is also spoken in the northeastern Argentine provinces of Corrientes and Misiones, where it is an official language along with Spanish.
English is spoken in the Falkland Islands, a disputed territory between the U.K. and Argentina (presently inhabited by British subjects). Welsh is spoken by descendants of immigrants in the Patagonia region of Argentina. Portuñol, Portunhol in Portuguese, is a pidgin language of Brazilian Portuguese and Spanish that is spoken on the border with Brazil. 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 Chile and Southern Brazil. Croatian and other Slavic languages are also spoken in the southernmost areas of Chilean Patagonia.
The majority of residents are Roman Catholic, but there are Jewish and Protestants as well (mostly in Argentina and Chile). Religions include Islam, Anglican, Lutheran, Eastern Orthodox, Buddhism and Dao. Jewish communities have thrived in Argentina and Uruguay. A large proportion of the Argentine Jewish community emigrated to Israel in the aftermath of the Argentine economic crisis at the beginning of the 21st century.
While the Southern Cone has been conservative in some aspects of religion, it has had a tradition of social reform. Uruguay, where agnosticism and atheism is common, has a strong church and state separation policy. It is one of the most secular countries in the Americas. Uruguay, Argentina and Chile, in that order, are the least religious countries in South America. According to a Gallup poll, 51% of Uruguayans, 56% of Argentines, and 60% of Chileans think of religion as something important in their lives, contrasting with the higher values given by the residents of countries such as Brazil (87%), Bolivia (89%) and Paraguay (92%). The following percentages of residents in Uruguay (69%), Argentina (58%) and Chile (52%) think their countries are good places for gay or lesbian people to live. By contrast, lower percentages in the following countries agree with this: Bolivia (24%), Ecuador (31%) and Peru (32%).
|This section requires expansion.|
|Capital or most important city|
|São Paulo and Southern Brazil||824,618||68,636,975||83.23||São Paulo|
The population of Argentina, Chile and Uruguay is 40, 16.8 and 3.6 million respectively. Buenos Aires is the largest metropolitan area at 13.1 million and Santiago, Chile has 6.4 million. When part of Southeastern Brazil is included, São Paulo is the largest city, with 19.8 million; in the Southern Brazil, the largest metropolitan area is Porto Alegre, with more than 4 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 (31 mi) away. Asunción, Paraguay's capital city has a population of 2.1 million.
As far as ethnicity is concerned, the population of the Southern Cone has been strongly influenced by waves of immigration from Europe in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. People of European descent, called whites make up 80% of the total population of Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Southern Brazil. Mestizos make up 15.8% of the population, and are a majority in Paraguay. Native Americans make up 3% of the population, mulattoes (people of African descent) (0.2%) and Asians (1.0%), mostly in Southern Brazil and Uruguay, the remaining 1.2%.
Different ethnic groups have contributed to the composition of the population of the Southern Cone. The original population, the Amerindians, became extinct in some areas and in others intermarried with colonists and later settlers to become part of the mestizo populations. As in the rest of South America, in the first centuries of colonization, the region was settled by Spanish and Portuguese colonizers, mostly men who had unions with the local Amerindian women. Their descendants were called mestizo in Hispanophone countries and caboclo or mameluco in Brazil. Amerindian ancestry is widespread in the region, mostly through the maternal line, while European ancestry is mostly found on the paternal line. African ancestry is mostly found in Brazil, which had a larger enslaved population during the colonial period.
Since interethnic marriages are widespread in Latin America, complex ethnic classifications emerged, including 16 "racial" categories created in 18th century Hispanic America, including terms like castizo, morisco, cambujo and ahí te estás. In Brazil, about 190 "racial" categories were detected by the Census of 1976.
The "whiten ideology" has deep roots in Latin America and on its racial classification. Blacks made up 25% of the population of Buenos Aires in 1810, 1822 and 1838. In 1887, the government decided to cease asking Argentine citizens about their race. According to Laura López, it was a way to "hide" the Black population, not only from the Census, but also from the public opinion. Nowadays, 87% of Argentines self-report to be "White". Chile does not ask its citizens about race, but some studies concluded that Whites make up the majority would exceed 52,7% to 64% of the Chilean population. while the CIA World Factbook described 95.4% of the population as white and mestizo.
Recent censuses in Brazil are conducted on the basis of self-identification. In the 2000 census, 53% of Brazilians (approximately 93 million people in 2000; around 100 million as of 2006) were white and 39% pardo or multiracial Brazilians. White is applied as a term to people of European descent (including European Jews), and Middle Easterners of all faiths. According to IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics), Pardo is a broad classification that encompasses Brazilians of mixed race ancestry, mulattoes, and assimilated indigenous people ("caboclos"). The geneticist Sérgio Pena criticised foreign scholar Edward Telles for lumping "blacks" and "pardos" in the same category, given the predominant European ancestry of the "pardos" throughout Brazil. According to him, "the autosomal genetic analysis that we have performed in non related individuals from Rio de Janeiro shows that it does not make any sense to put "blacks" and "pardos" in the same category".
A recent autosomal DNA study (2011), with nearly 1000 samples from all over Brazil ("whites", "pardos" and "blacks"), found out a major European contribution, followed by a high African contribution and an important Native American component. "In all regions studied, the European ancestry was predominant, with proportions ranging from 60.6% in the Northeast to 77.7% in the South". The 2011 autosomal study samples came from blood donors (the lowest classes constitute the great majority of blood donors in Brazil), and also public health institutions personnel and health students. The study showed that Brazilians from different regions are more homogenous than previously thought by some based on the census alone. "Brazilian homogeneity is, therefore, a lot greater between Brazilian regions than within Brazilians region".
|Northeast of Brazil||60,10%||29,30%||8,90%|
Different ethnic groups contributed for the composition of the population of the Southern Cone. The original population, the Amerindians, was in large part exterminated. As in the rest of Latin America, in the first centuries of colonization the region was settled by Spanish and Portuguese colonizers and most of them were men. Soon after their arrival, an intensive mixture between those European men and the local Amerindian women began, producing a new population named Mestizo in Hispanophone countries and Caboclo or Mameluco in Brazil. Amerindian ancestry is widespread in the region, mostly through the maternal line, while European ancestry is mostly found on the paternal line. African ancestry is mostly found in Brazil.
An autosomal DNA study from 2009 found the composition of the Argentine population to be 78,50% European, 17,30% Native American, and 4,20% SSA African.
A DNA study from 2009, published in the American Journal of Human Biology, showed the genetical composition of Uruguay to be mainly European, but with Native American (which varies from 1% to 20% in different parts of the country) and also SSA African (7% to 15% in different parts of the country). 
The Chilean population low genetic studies "the use of mitochondrial DNA and Y chromosome test results show the following: The European component is predominant in the Chilean upper class, the middle classes, 76.8%-72.3% European component and 27.7%-23.2 of mixed aboriginal and lower classes at 65%-62.9% European component and 37.1%-35% mix of Aboriginal.
Similar to the rest of Latin America, the genetic ancestry of the population of the Southern Cone reflects the History of the continent: the Iberian colonizers were mostly men who arrived without women. In consequence, they had children with the local Indian women or with African female slaves. The intense European immigration to this part of the World in the late 19th and early 20th centuries (particularly to Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and Southern Brazil)  brought more European components to the local population (mainly Spaniards in Chile, Italians and Spanish in Argentina and Uruguay, while Italians and Germans in Southern Brazil and Southern of Chile). European immigration was encouraged by local governments, among other reasons, to "whiten" the local population, which reflected the scientific racism that considered the Amerindian and African elements "inferior", while the European element was seen as "superior". As a consequence, the White phenotype came to dominate these areas that received larger numbers of European immigrants. But the predominantly non-White majority before the mass European immigration did not disappear, of course, but was largely assimilated into the White population.
The other conspicuous characteristic of the Southern Cone is its relatively high standard of living and quality of life. Chile's, Argentina’s, and Uruguay's HDIs—(0.805), (0.795), and (0.783)—are the highest in Latin America, similar to those of the richest countries in Eastern Europe, such as Slovenia, Poland or Hungary. Uruguay, where illiteracy technically does not exist, reaches the same level in this area, even considering that it faces restrictions to its industrial and economic growth. The Southern Cone is the most prosperous macro-region in Latin America. It has high life expectancy, access to health care and education.[dead link] From an economic and liberal point of view the region has been praised for its significant participation in the global markets, and its "emerging economy" profile. More troubling are high levels of income inequality.
|Southern Cone||16,338||46.8||3.3||0.795 (H)||6.766||7.6||82.5||42.6||5.7||69.7||1.694||7.54|
|South America||9,019||51.7||9.1||0.705 (H)||6.000||6.0||79.4||77.3||2.9||55.7||2.190||6.19|
|Central America||7,553||52.2||12.6||0.662 (M)||5.897||3.8||79.3||70.6||3.4||63.3||2.077||6.53|
Mexico = Mexico
During the second half of 20th century, these countries were in some periods ruled by right-wing juntas, military nationalistic dictatorships. Around the 1970s, these regimes collaborated in Plan Cóndor against leftist opposition, including urban guerrillas. However, by the early 1980s Argentina and Uruguay restored their democracies; Chile followed suit in 1990.
|This section requires expansion.|
When entire countries are considered, generally only Argentina, Uruguay and Chile are included in the Southern Cone. If the term is applied to countries under military dictatorship during the middle of 20th century, Brazil is included, although most of its territory is geographically outside the Southern Cone.
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 as Uruguay, Argentina and Chile: above-average standard of living, mild climate, high level of industrialization, and strong European immigration.
Media related to Southern Cone at Wikimedia Commons
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