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. The region covers Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, and sometimes Paraguay and the southern region of Brazil which are included the Brazilian states of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, Paraná and São Paulo. In a broader context Bolivia and Peru are sometimes considered part of the southern cone.
The main language spoken in the region is Spanish (castellano) owing to the Spanish colonization from the 16th to the 19th century; if one includes Brazil, Portuguese places a close second. 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 Southern Chile.
High life expectancy, the highest Human Development Index of Latin America, high standard of living, the highest literacy of Latin America, 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.
Geography and extent
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.
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.
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. This correlates well with immigration patterns as Argentina, and particularly Buenos Aires, had huge numbers of Italian settlers since the 19th century. The researchers note that this is relatively recent phenomenon, starting in the beginning of the 20th century with the main wave of Southern Italian immigration
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.
Autochthonous languages, spoken by some Native American groups include Mapudungun (also known as Mapuche) and Guarani. The first one is spoken in the region of Patagonia, in southern Argentina and Chile. Guarani is an official language of Paraguay and is spoken in the northeastern Argentine provinces of Corrientes and Misiones where it is an official language along with Spanish.
The majority is Roman Catholic, but there are Jewish and Protestants as well (mostly in Argentina and Uruguay). Religions include Muslims, Anglicans, Lutherans, Eastern Orthodox, Buddhists and Daoists. Jewish communities thrive in Argentina and Uruguay; however, 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. 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 one of the most secular countries in America. The more conservative Chile only recently passed a law to legalize divorce, contrasting with Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, countries where gay union is already possible in some regions.
Countries and territories
| Country or |
(July 2008 est.)
| Population density|
|22x20px Argentina||102||40,301,927||138.3||Buenos Aires|
|Chile||193||16,928,873||526.1||Santiago de Chile|
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 part of Southeastern Brazil is included, São Paulo is the largest city, with 19.8 million; in the Southern Brazil, the largest city is Curitiba, with more than 1.8 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, Chile and Southern Brazil. Racial minorities make up 17% of the population, being majority in Paraguay, 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, along with other areas of new settlement like Canada, Australia or the United States is considered a country of immigrants and a melting pot of different peoples, both autochthonous and immigrants. Most Argentines are descendents of colonial-era settlers and of the 19th and 20th century immigrants from Europe, with 90% of the population being of European descent for generations, the majority of these immigrants came from Italy and Spain, as well as other European countries. An estimated 7% of the population are mestizo. The last national census, based on self-identification, counted about 600,000 Argentines (1.6%) of Amerindian heritage. A further 3-4% of Argentines were of Arabic or East Asian extraction.
In the case of Uruguay, 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.
The bulk of the Chilean population features a white and white-mestizo (castizo) composition, making up the 95% of the population.  A more detailed breakdown classifies 30% of Chileans as white and 65% as either castizo ("white mestizo").  According to another recent study estimates that Lizcano (2005), the Whites population corresponds to a 52.7% of Chileans. And from Chile's various waves of Spanish, Italians, Irish, French, Germans, English, Scots, Croats, and Palestinian immigrant communities, the latter being the largest colony of that people outside of the Arab world.   Other notable groups composing the largest ethnic make up of the Chilean population arrived from Spain and Basque regions in the south of France. The estimated descendants of Basques in Chile ranges from 10% (1,600,000) to as high as 27% (4,500,000).     Another group of historically significant immigrants are Croatians with 380,000 to 500,000 descendants. 
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 number of people of European descent in Paraguay is not greater than 20% and the vast majority of Paraguay is not inhabited by peoples of European descent, known as whites.
Education and Standards of Living
The other conspicuous characteristic of the Southern Cone is its relatively high standard of living and quality of life. Chile's and Argentina’s HDIs—(0.874), (0.860) are the highest in Latin America—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. Chile and Argentina are considered developed countries when it comes to human development, since their high indices of 0.874 and 0.860 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. This is, however, contrasted by high levels of inequality. The EPI index comes from the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy and the Quality-of-life index from The Economist Intelligence Unit. Green cells indicate the 1st rank in each category, while yellow indicate the last rank.
|Region|| GDP per|
| Poverty |
| Human |
|Southern Cone||14,072||49.4||3.8||0.864 ()||6.542|
|Rest of South America||7,745||55.1||9.9||0.781 (M)||6.000|
|Central America and the Caribbean||7,139||51.9||16.6||0.753 (M)||5.763|
Notes: (H) High human development; (M) Medium human development
- Southern Cone = 22x20px Argentina Chile 22x20px Uruguay
- South America = 22x20px Venezuela Colombia Ecuador Peru 22x20px Paraguay Bolivia
- Central America = 22x20px Guatemala 22x20px El Salvador 22x20px Honduras 22x20px Nicaragua 22x20px Costa Rica 22x20px Panama
- North America = 22x20px Mexico
- The Caribbean = 22x20px Cuba 22x20px Dominican Republic 22x20px Haiti
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.
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, high level of industrialization and strong European immigration.
Exclusion of Paraguay
Due to the geographic position, 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.
- ↑ This North American density figure is based on a total land area of 7,372,685sq km
- ↑ Wiegers, Mario A. (1996, Buenos Aires, Argentina). Integración energética en el Cono Sur.
- ↑ Steven, F. (2001). [http://books.google.com/books?hl=sv&lr=&id=npOUfgC8qkMC&oi=fnd&pg=PA3&dq=%22cono+sur%22+chile+argentina+bolivia+peru+paraguay+uruguay&ots=I-zBPjYZD6&sig=vnTCyB6GFcJuc7r9Kf1hf_kT_TE#PPP1,M1 "Regional Integration and Democratic Consolidation in the Southern Cone of Latin America"]. Democratization (Routledge) 14: 75-100. http://books.google.com/books?hl=sv&lr=&id=npOUfgC8qkMC&oi=fnd&pg=PA3&dq=%22cono+sur%22+chile+argentina+bolivia+peru+paraguay+uruguay&ots=I-zBPjYZD6&sig=vnTCyB6GFcJuc7r9Kf1hf_kT_TE#PPP1,M1. Retrieved 12 May, 2009.
- ↑ Convergence and intonation: historical evidence from Argentine Spanish
- ↑ Buenos Aires residents speak with an intonation most closely resembling neapolitan language
- ↑ http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=36670
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Land areas and population estimates are taken from The 2008 World Factbook which currently uses July 2008 data, unless otherwise noted.
- ↑ Water area makes up a considerable portion of this entity's total area. Therefore, for a more accurate figure on which to calculate population density, this figure includes land area only.
- ↑ SOCIAL IDENTITY Marta Fierro Social Psychologist.
- ↑ massive immigration of European Argentina Uruguay Chile Brazil
- ↑ Latinoamerica.
- ↑ Enrique Oteiza y Susana Novick sostienen que «la Argentina desde el siglo XIX, al igual que Australia, Canadá o Estados Unidos, se convierte en un país de inmigración, entendiendo por esto una sociedad que ha sido conformada por un fenómeno inmigratorio masivo, a partir de una población local muy pequeña.» (Oteiza, Enrique; Novick, Susana. Inmigración y derechos humanos. Política y discursos en el tramo final del menemismo. [en línea. Buenos Aires: Instituto de Investigaciones Gino Germani, Facultad de Ciencias Sociales, Universidad de Buenos Aires, 2000 [Citado FECHA]. (IIGG Documentos de Trabajo, Nº 14). Disponible en la World Wide Web:http://www.iigg.fsoc.uba.ar/docs/dt/dt14.pdf)]; El antropólogo brasileño Darcy Ribeiro incluye a la Argentina dentro de los «pueblos trasplantados» de América, junto con Uruguay, Canadá y Estados Unidos (Ribeiro, Darcy. Las Américas y la Civilización (1985). Buenos Aires:EUDEBA, pp. 449 ss.); El historiador argentino José Luis Romero define a la Argentina como un «país aluvial» (Romero, José Luis. «Indicación sobre la situación de las masas en Argentina (1951)», en La experiencia argentina y otros ensayos, Buenos Aires: Universidad de Belgrano,1980, p. 64).
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 13.2 Argentina
- ↑ "Argentina (People)". The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ar.html#People. Retrieved 2008-08-08.
- ↑ Encuesta Complementaria de Pueblos Indígenas
- ↑ CIA - The World Factbook - Uruguay
- ↑ www.bartleby.com.
- ↑ Argentina, como Chile y Uruguay, su población está formada casi exclusivamente por una población blanca e blanca mestiza procedente del sur de Europa, más del 90% E. García Zarza, 1992, 19.
- ↑ Biblioteca Digital de la Universidad de Chile, Estructura racial
- ↑ Composición Étnica de las Tres Áreas Culturales del Continente Americano al Comienzo del Siglo XXI
- ↑ descendientes de árabes en porcentajes.
- ↑ 500,000 descendientes de palestinos en Chile.
- ↑ immigrants Palestinians in Chile.
- ↑ Diariovasco.
- ↑ entrevista al Presidente de la Cámara vasca.
- ↑ vascos Ainara Madariaga: Autora del estudio "Imaginarios vascos desde Chile La construcción de imaginarios vascos en Chile durante el siglo XX".
- ↑ Basques au Chili.
- ↑ Contacto Interlingüístico e intercultural en el mundo hispano.instituto valenciano de lenguas y culturas.Universitat de València Cita: " Un 20% de la población chilena tiene su origen en el País Vasco".
- ↑ Diaspora Croata.
- ↑ hrvatski.
- ↑ CIA - The World Factbook - Paraguay
- ↑ 
- ↑ Inequality and Poverty in Latin America: A Long-Run Exploration
- ↑ International Monetary Fund 
- ↑ Human Development Report, UNDP
- ↑ UNDP Human Development Report 2007/2008. "Table 3: Human poverty index: developing countries" (PDF). http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/hdr_20072008_en_indicator_tables.pdf. Retrieved 2008-03-20. page 238-240
- ↑ UNDP Human Development Report 2007/2008. "Table 1: Human Development Index" (PDF). http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/hdr_20072008_en_indicator_tables.pdf. Retrieved 2008-03-20. page 229-232
- ↑ The Economist Pocket World in Figures 2008. "Quality-of-life index The World in 2005" (PDF). http://www.economist.com/media/pdf/QUALITY_OF_LIFE.pdf. Retrieved 2008-03-13.
- ↑ Victor Flores Olea. "Editoriales - El Universal - 10 de abril 2006 : Operacion Condor". El Universal (Mexico). http://www.el-universal.com.mx/editoriales/34023.html. Retrieved 2009-03-24.
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