Writing systems in South America?

Writing systems in South America?

Which cultures in South America had writing systems before the arrival of the Europeans?

I may be a little misinformed, but unlike Meso America there were not many cultures in SA that relied on some form of writings.

I know about the Quipus of the Incas, and also know that many hieroglyphs, or at least drawings, have been found all around SA, but do they count as writing systems?

Maybe they had just simple systems that were quickly replaced by the Europeans by cultural and military pressure.

Please enlighten me on this subject.

This Wikipedia page has a nice overview on pre-columbian writing systems in mesoamerica. These are true writing systems, capable of representing spoken language. Some of them have been deciphered and translated.

Additionally, there are two other systems from outside mesoamerica, the Andean quipu and the Ojibwa wiigwaasabak, that may also represent writing systems, but ones that are dramatically different than any currently in use, and may be proto-writing rather than actual writing. Regrettably, not enough examples of either remain to adequately translate.

When you look across history, pretty much any society with enough trade to require bookeeping and stratified enough to support kings will have developed (or borrowed) some kind of writing.

The Advanced culture in Peru and the Andes in South America was too isolated from other such societies to borrow their systems, so what they came up with on their own was probably the world's most interesting (if not practical) writing system: Quipu, which consisted of strings colored and knotted strategically to communicate information (numeric certianly, but many argue much more).

The only other pre-columbian drawings in South America I'm aware of are the Nazca lines from southern Peru. They are rather odd, in that they cannot really be properly appreciated from ground level (although there were typically hills nearby from which they could be appreciated by their creators). There are a lot of theories about what they were for, but few of them include information storage, like you'd get with a proper writing system.

The reason for this being the only writing system known in South America is probably relatively simple: The Andean area contained South America's only real advanced civiliation (The Inca by Pizarro's time).

long story short, if there have been any writing system in South America made by natives, it might have been destroyed by the Jesuits.

HerneHunter states:

Curiosamente do mesmo Estado da Paraíba, surgiram diversas menções acerca da existência de um tipo de escrita, desenvolvida pelos indígenas da região, e que teria sido empregados em livros, fabricados com papel de entre-casca de árvores e encadernados em madeira dura. Esta história, que a primeira vista pode ser tachada como fantasiosa, consta de várias obras e comunicações jesuítas, e está referida no livro do pesquisador inglês Robert Southey, "História do Brazil", conforme pode ser verificado na edição publicada pela Melhoramentos em 1977, onde encontra-se relatado que os livros teriam sido "feitos por inspiração demoníaca, com caracteres ensinados pelo Diabo", razão porque os jesuítas trataram de destruir aqueles "livros malditos". O que vem de encontro a citação do Padre Simão de Vasconcelos, de que na entrada da cidade da Paraíba existia uma pedra muito antiga, incrustada num penedo, coberta por sinais que tinham sido feitos por "inspiração demoníaca", como consta em sua "Crônica da Companhia de Jesus".


Curiously, in the same State of Paraíba, there appeared various references to the existence of a type of writing, developed by the indigenous people of the region, and that had been stored in books, made with paper of tree bark and bound in hard wood. This story, which at first sight could be taken as fantastic, consists of various Jesuit works and communications, and is referenced in the book of the English researcher Robert Southey, "History of Brazil," as can be verified in the edition published by Melhoramentos in 1977, where one finds it related that the books had been "made by demonic inspiration, with characters taught by the Devil," the reason why the jesuits tried to destroy those "evil books." What comes against the citation of Father Simon of Vasconcelos, is that in the entrance of the city of Paraíba there was a very ancient stone, embedded in a rock, covered with signs that had been made by "demonic inspiration," as stated in his "Chronicle of the Company of Jesus."

1996.5.3, Daniels/Bright, edd., World’s Writing Systems

My first reaction on picking up this book was akin to the excitement of a child who has just been given an enormous chocolate rabbit. There was the delicious thought that it would provide days and days of reading on one of the world’s most fascinating subjects, followed by the delightful idea that, having read it, one would actually understand the principles behind writing systems. Alas, this rabbit is partially hollow: I doubt that many readers will understand a great deal more at the end of it than they understood at the beginning. It is still a wonderful book, however, and one’s enjoyment is not so much lost as curtailed by the thought of how much better it might have been.

The work aims to cover the world’s past and present writing systems, using a broad definition of the term ‘writing’ (printing, musical notation, and choreography are among the types of writing system included). It is divided into thirteen parts of unequal length: ‘Grammatology’ (the study of writing systems), ‘Ancient Near Eastern Writing Systems’ (cuneiform, Egyptian writing from hieroglyphic to demotic, Linear A and B, Cypriote, the alphabet before its transmission to the Greeks, etc.), ‘Decipherment’ (techniques and history of decipherment, followed by a detailed look at four scripts not yet fully understood: Proto-Elamite, Indus, Maya, and Rongorongo), then five parts covering scripts by region, in each case examining the writing systems from their origins (unless covered in part 2) until the present day: ‘East Asian Writing Systems’, ‘European Writing Systems’, ‘South Asian Writing Systems’, ‘Southeast Asian Writing Systems’, and ‘Middle Eastern Writing Systems’. Then follow parts on ‘Scripts Invented in Modern Times’ (Cherokee, Cree, etc.), ‘Use and Adaption of Scripts’ (including long sections on how the Roman, Cyrillic, Hebrew, and Arabic scripts have been adapted for various modern languages), ‘Sociolinguistics and Scripts’ (the social and political factors that currently influence the choice of writing systems in certain countries), ‘Secondary Notation Systems’ (including numerals, shorthand, musical notation, and choreography), and ‘Imprinting and Printing’.

This immense breadth of coverage inevitably means that no one topic is discussed in great detail the aim is not to offer new contributions to scholarship on the writing systems concerned, but to provide a general reference work for linguists and other interested scholars. For each script a brief explanation of its history and geographical range is given, together with some information on the language or languages for which it is used the bulk of each entry consists of a description of exactly how the script works (direction of writing, types of sound represented, use of diacritics and digraphs, etc). In most cases a chart of the script concerned and its standard transliteration is also given, and in almost every case there is a sample of actual text in the script. The text is usually accompanied not only by a translation, but also by a transliteration (in the format standard for that language), a phonetic transcription, and a word-by-word analysis. A particularly useful feature is the bibliography which, rather than being heaped in a formless mass at the end of the work, is given at the end of each chapter, classified by script and language. Thus each chapter should give a reader who is completely unfamiliar with the script under discussion enough information to enable him or her to find some of the most important recent literature on the subject (inevitably, the bibliographies are far from complete, but in general they are up-to-date) and to understand that literature.

Some improvements on the theoretical framework for the study of scripts are also promoted, and very welcome they are. The old tripartite classification of writing systems into logography, syllabary, and alphabet has given rise to silly (but, unfortunately, heated) squabbles over whether scripts like Devanagari and Hebrew ought to be called alphabets or syllabaries, and whether it is possible for a script to evolve in more than one direction along this classification. The problem is neatly solved by the addition of two more terms to the classification, abjad (for scripts like unvocalised Hebrew in which only consonants are represented) and abugida (for scripts like Devanagari in which signs denote consonants followed by a particular vowel diacritics are added if no vowel or a different vowel follows). In general I would have welcomed more attention to theoretical issues in the individual chapters, in particular more emphasis on the features which are unique or unusual about a particular script, but perhaps such discussion would have been out of place in a book of this type.

Surveys of the world’s languages and of the world’s writings systems already exist, and this work is intended not so much to replace them (though in some cases they could indeed do with replacement) as to complement them by explaining how the scripts represent the languages for which they are used (p. xxxv). The aim is laudable and the need for such a work is real, but as one progresses through this book one can hardly help wondering if it was sensible to try to accomplish it in the format used here.

The thirteen parts are divided into 74 sections written by 79 contributors (most of whom are experts in the fields about which they write) and assembled by two editors into a massive tome which, all told, is just under 1000 pages long. One feels an enormous respect for the editors, whose task must have been horrific, but nevertheless an overall incoherence makes itself felt when one reads through the book from beginning to end. The organisation is peculiar: one might stop to debate whether Mycenaean Greece can properly be considered part of the ‘Ancient Near East’, but there is no question that Spain and Numidia are not, and never have been, parts of the Near East. If their inclusion in that chapter is based on the fact that their scripts may be Phoenician in origin, then classical Greece and Italy ought also to be included in the same chapter instead of under ‘European Writing Systems’. If classification is really based on date as opposed to location, then Demotic Egyptian script, occurring from the 7th century BCE to the 5th century CE (to use the ‘nonsectarian year designation’ of this book), and the Cypriote syllabary (in use until the second century BCE) ought really to be classified with classical Greek rather than with Linear B. The table of contents and index are both fairly detailed, however, so the system of organisation is more of an irritant than an obstacle.

The organisation also, however, has a tendency to break up topics which would benefit from a unified treatment. Thus the origins of the Phoenician alphabet are treated in one chapter its transmission to the Greeks and thence to Italy, along with the modifications in letter forms of the written and printed Roman alphabet right up to the present day, may be found in a series of chapters starting 160 pages later (after intervening sections on Iberian, Berber, Linear B, Hieroglyphic Luvian, principles of decipherment, and Chinese) and the changes in the way the letters of the Roman alphabet represent sounds in various languages turn up in another chapter starting 300 pages beyond that (after discussions of all other European and Asian scripts and of recently-invented writing systems for Native American languages).

A more serious problem with the format is that the 79 contributors have given the book 79 different ways of organising chapters, 79 different sets of jargon, and very nearly 79 different systems of text analysis. The book as a whole would have been much easier to use if some overall system had been imposed. As it stands, there are even occasional contradictions between one chapter and another. For example, on p. 653 it is stated that ‘X and z received their current [English] pronunciations, differing from the Greek originals, in Latin’ this statement is false, since x was already pronounced [ks] in the West Greek dialect originally imported to Italy, and the facts are stated correctly on pp. 263, 272, and 301-2. Similarly on p. 789 it is stated that English y was derived from j at about the same time that i and j became separate letters, and that s and z‘form a confusing group, and it would be difficult to trace their wanderings through the alphabet’ in fact y was borrowed from Greek upsilon in the first century BCE (well over 1000 years before the separation of i and j), and the movements of the sibilants (even if the reasons for their initial displacement in going from Phoenician to Greek are not fully understood) are perfectly well attested (cf. pp. 265-6, 301). Compared with these problems, the distracting tendency for spellings to change from one chapter to another (e.g. Boghazköi p. 66, Bôgazköy p. 120) is a minor irritant.

The overall result is that the quality of the book varies greatly from chapter to chapter. Of those sections whose accuracy I am competent to judge, the best is Leslie Threatte’s contribution on the Greek alphabet, which is clear, correct, and as complete as is possible in ten pages. Much the same can be said of Larissa Bonfante’s chapter on Italic scripts, although the greater complexity of her task means that her 15-page chapter is less complete than the Greek section (and note that on p. 311 the author of Le iscrizioni sudpicene should be ‘Marinetti’, not ‘Marinelli’). Several of the Chinese chapters also seem very good, as do a number of others scattered through the book. The section on the transmission of the Phoenician script to the Greeks, by Pierre Swiggers, is generally accurate but ignores an important recent discovery that has placed the earliest example of Greek alphabetic writing not in Greece but in Italy (Gabii in Latium). The writing occurs on a pot fragment from an undisturbed tomb and is securely dated by its archaeological context to c. 770 BCE (see E. Peruzzi, ‘Cultura Greca a Gabii nel Secolo VIII’, Parola del Passato, 47 (1992): 459-68). This section should probably also have acknowledged the significant (if not universally accepted) arguments of Barry Powell in Homer and the Origin of the Greek Alphabet (Cambridge 1991).

Emmett L. Bennett, in the chapter on Aegean scripts, faces the well-nigh impossible task of explaining Linear B, the Cypriote syllabary, Linear A, and the Phaistos disk, all in a total of nine pages. Although he very sensibly disposes of the latter two scripts in a paragraph each and concentrates on the ones about which we actually know something, the discussion is still far from complete. The spelling rules of Linear B are not fully explained, and the explanation which does appear is so compressed that I doubt whether it would be fully intelligible to anyone who did not already know something about the subject. The distinct improvements on those rules offered by Cypriote are scarcely mentioned, and Cyprus is divided into the Cypro-Minoan period (1500-1200 BCE) and the later period of 800-200 BCE without mention of the recent discovery of a number of spits, inscribed in the Cypriote syllabary with what is certainly Cypriote (not Mycenaean) Greek and dated to the eleventh century, which now provide a link between the two periods (see O. Masson, Les inscriptions chypriotes syllabiques (Paris 1983), p. 408). In addition, the bibliography for this section omits what is unquestionably the standard reference work on Linear B, Michael Ventris and John Chadwick’s Documents in Mycenaean Greek (Cambridge 1973). Scholars with no prior knowledge of Linear B might also have appreciated the inclusion of J.T. Hooker’s textbook Linear B: An Introduction (Bristol 1980). There are a number of minor errors and inconsistencies in the treatment of the sample of Cypriote text, as well as one in the first sample of Linear B.

Moving away from strictly Greco-Roman scripts, the chapters on cuneiform are generally good, although too short to do justice to the subject. The bibliography on Hittite might have benefited from the inclusion of the standard (if somewhat unhelpful) Hittite cuneiform textbook, J. Friedrich’s Hethitisches Keilschrift-Lesebuch (Heidelberg 1960). Also, the issue of sandhi phenomena (changes in pronunciation caused by proximity of one word to another, such as the alternation between OU), οὐκ , and οὐχ in Greek depending upon the initial sound of the following word) is treated erratically in many languages sandhi changes are not normally reflected in spelling, but in others the detailed application of sandhi rules has a significant effect on the appearance of nearly every word. Sandhi is discussed in connection with a few scripts (e.g. pp. 454, 635), but it is not even mentioned in the chapter on Devanagari, the locus classicus for the phenomenon.

The credentials of the individual contributors lead one to believe that they are generally trustworthy, and in those sections of the work which I am competent to judge I did not find many errors in the languages and scripts discussed. The most serious such error is on p. 385, where the Devanagari signs for pe, pai, po, and pau are incorrectly identified as ke, kai, ko, and kau (this mistake is clearly accidental, as p is correctly identified elsewhere). The three Greek errors ( κατᾶ for κατά , p. 66, ( αιγύπτιος for αἰγύπτις , p. 287, and HKATON for ἑκατόν , p. 803) all occur outside the section on Greek. The only classical terminology error that I caught (‘Achaemenian’ for ‘Achaemenid’, p. 379) is in the South Asian section. The terse note on p. 582 that ‘no analysis of the Hwa Lisu text is available’, however, shows that not all contributors actually understood all the languages about which they wrote.

The editors have obviously made a great effort to make the book intelligible to non-linguists. Many elements of terminology are explained in the introduction, which also contains a number of helpful suggestions as to which of the books recommended will be intelligible to non-specialists. The decision not to explain phonetic terms (if you need to ask what a ‘voiceless postalveolar fricative’ is, this book may not be for you) is bound to frustrate some readers, but the editors are probably right in arguing that such explanation is beyond the scope of an already overburdened text. On the whole, the problem as regards intelligibility lies with the individual contributors, each of whom naturally uses not only linguistics jargon, but also the terminology peculiar to his or her own field the language of this book thus has the potential (not always fulfilled) to change radically every ten pages or so. Part of the usefulness of this book, of course, is in introducing us to that terminology, and in the majority of cases terms are defined when first used the minority, however, can cause acute frustration. Thus for example when one encounters on p. 451 the sentence ‘Dictionary order for rhymes is not as well established as for consonants’, one will search in vain for the specialised meaning of ‘rhyme’ (later defined as ‘the vowel-plus-tone portion of a syllable’ note that ‘rime’ on pp. 619-20 is the same thing) in the glossary, the index, and earlier in the chapter.

The biggest factor contributing to lack of intelligibility, however, is the decision to assign roughly the same amount of space to very different types of script. This means that all the adaptions of the Roman alphabet (which work in basically the same way except that the letters stand for different sounds) are described in detail, as are the different Brahmi-based scripts of India (most of which share the same basic principles, although these principles are repeated by each contributor). Yet very complex writing systems, such as cuneiform and some Asian scripts, are treated so superficially that even their most important and interesting features are obscured. It might have been better to make this a two-volume work, or to reduce its scope somewhat, in order to ensure that the more complicated scripts that are included received adequate coverage.

Certain features of this book may be offensive to classicists. Some contributors have a tendency to be abusive towards those who hold opposing views, and unfortunately their targets seem largely to be classicists (pp. 23-4, 27-8). I am afraid, in fact, that ‘ignorance and prejudice’ on p. 27 pretty much sums up one writer’s view of our profession. In context, the criticism is not entirely unjustified, but let me note in passing that the view being proposed at that point, that all types of script are approximately equally easy to write and to read, is just as silly as the view of the ‘perfect alphabet’ being refuted. Anyone who has done what the author suggests and learned cuneiform (as I have) knows full well that this writing system is much harder to learn than an alphabetic one and remains, even for experts, significantly more difficult to read it is a well-known fact (and stated by a cuneiform expert on p. 55) that most cuneiform scripts were not, and were not intended to be, efficient or easy to read. For intelligibility problems with more recent scripts see e.g. p. 596.

Technologically, the printing of a book with so many different typefaces is very impressive, and Oxford University Press has also managed to produce a volume which despite its large number of pages is not unduly bulky, difficult to read, or likely to fall apart rapidly. There are few misprints (though there are some: ‘consonontal’ p. 73, ‘revelant’ p. 96, ‘purpase’ p. 148, and a bizarre tendency for the dots on i’s to be missing, e.g. ‘Yazilikaya’ p. 120), but this benefit is perhaps offset by a use of English that will set many classicists’ teeth on edge. People who object to ‘differently than’ (p. 46), dangling participles (p. 857), or sentence fragments (p. 219) will probably also find themselves alienated by the use of contractions such as ‘there’s’, ‘don’t’, and ‘won’t’ and of exclamation points. Linguists agree that ‘a more formal register of speech is appropriate in a more formal situation’ (p. 10), but clearly they disagree with most other humanities scholars on what constitutes formal language (or perhaps on whether an academic publication constitutes a formal situation).

Despite these quibbles, however, the book remains a valuable contribution to the study of writing and one which will be of great practical use. Even a hollow chocolate rabbit can still contain a lot of chocolate, and I for one am very grateful to the editors and contributors for providing us with this boon.

South America: Resources

Encyclopedic entry. South America's economy is centered on the export of is rich diversity of natural resources.

Earth Science, Geology, Geography, Human Geography, Physical Geography, Social Studies, Economics

South America, the fourth-largest continent, extends from the Gulf of Darién in the northwest to the Tierra del Fuego archipelago in the south.

South America&rsquos physical geography, environment and resources, and human geography can be considered separately.

South America has diverse agricultural products, vast mineral wealth, and plentiful freshwater. It also has rich fisheries and ports on three bodies of water: the Caribbean Sea, Atlantic Ocean, and Pacific Ocean. The continent&rsquos economy is centered on the export of natural resources.

Climate and Agriculture

South America extends from a broad equatorial zone in the north to a narrow sub-Arctic zone in the south. It can be divided into four climatic regions: tropical, temperate, arid, and cold.

Tropical climates&mdashwhich include both tropical rainy and tropical wet and dry climates&mdashcover more than half of the continent. Tropical rainy conditions occur in the Amazon River basin, the northeastern coast, and the Pacific coast of Colombia. The regions&rsquo average daily temperature is 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) with very little temperature variation throughout the year. While average annual rainfall is 262 centimeters (103 inches), some areas receive an extreme amount of precipitation the Chocó region of Colombia, for example, receives more than 800 centimeters (315 inches) of rain every year.

Tropical wet and dry conditions occur in the Orinoco River basin, the Brazilian Highlands, and in a western section of Ecuador. Temperatures are similar to tropical rainy, but have a greater daily range. There is also less precipitation and a prolonged dry season.

Many crops thrive in the tropical climates of South America. Cashews and Brazil nuts are cultivated. Fruits such as avocado, pineapple, papaya, and guava are also native to tropical South America.

Two very important cash crops are coffee and cacao, which is the source of cocoa, the base ingredient in chocolate. Brazil is the world&rsquos largest exporter of coffee, and it used to be one of the largest exporters of cacao. In 2000, a fungus spread throughout many of South America&rsquos cacao plantations, devastating the economies of the region and driving up the price of chocolate. The chocolate industries of Brazil, Venezuela, and Ecuador are slowly recovering, but most of the world&rsquos cacao now comes from countries in tropical Africa.

The continent&rsquos temperate climates are located south of the Tropic of Capricorn and in the mid-level elevations of the Andes mountains. Temperate climates have a greater temperature range and lower winter temperatures than tropical climates.

South America&rsquos temperate climates are home to a number of industrial crops and livestock. Corn is produced throughout the temperate climates, and soybeans have become an increasingly lucrative crop in the Pampas.

The Pampas&rsquo vast, high-quality pastures are also the center of South America&rsquos huge ranching industry. Brazil is the world&rsquos third-largest beef exporter (behind only Australia and the United States). Argentina is also an important beef exporter.

Arid climates are found in deserts, coastal areas, and interior regions throughout South America. Some of these climates are extremely cold, while others are extremely hot&mdashbut they all receive very little precipitation. This makes agricultural production difficult. However, heavily irrigated crops, such as rice and cotton, are grown in desert oases.

Cold climates occur in the southern ends of Argentina and Chile and the highest elevations of the Andes. Cold climates have an average annual temperature of below 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit). These climates are characterized by long dry seasons and high winds.

While these cold climates limit crop production, they are also home to thousands of native potato species and the native quinoa plant&mdasha grain-like crop grown for its edible seeds. Potatoes and quinoa are starchy food staples of the Andean diet. Potatoes are now one of the biggest crops in the world. Ninety-nine percent of the potatoes grown throughout the world can be traced to a single species that was originally cultivated in the Chiloé Archipelago more than 10,000 years ago.

In addition to potatoes and quinoa, grazing animals such as sheep, llamas, alpacas, and vicuñas also thrive in cold climates. These animals are bred for their meat and wool, which is used in high-quality textiles exported throughout the world.

Forestry and Fishing

Forestry is the management of trees and other vegetation in forests. It is a major economic activity for tropical South America, especially the Amazon River basin. Many high-value tree species, such as mahogany and rosewood, are native to the rain forest. Lumber from these trees is exported to foreign markets for use in cabinets and floors. Some countries have tree plantations. Chile, for example, is an important exporter of wood chips, plywood, and paper pulp.

Lower-grade woods are important to the construction market in South America. The most familiar of these less-expensive woods is eucalyptus. Eucalyptus is not native to South America, but it grows at an incredibly quick rate. Eucalyptus is used as both a building material and as fuel in low-income communities throughout South America.

Marine fisheries are the most important economic activity along South America&rsquos Pacific coast, although overfishing has depleted many fish populations. The cold Peru Current brings nutrient-rich waters to the coast, creating a fishery with everything from whales to shrimp. Peru and Chile&rsquos abundant anchovy catches are processed into fishmeal, an ingredient used in animal feed and fertilizer. Chile is a global leader in farm-raised salmon and trout, while Ecuador is an important shrimp exporter.

Mining and Drilling

The mining industry is one of South America&rsquos most important economic engines. The continent contains about one-fifth of the world&rsquos iron ore reserves. Iron and steel (an iron product) are used in construction and machinery throughout the world.

More than one-quarter of the world&rsquos known copper reserves are in South America, mostly in Peru and Chile. Valued at $26.9 billion in 2009, copper accounts for nearly one-third of the exports of Chile, the world&rsquos largest copper exporter. Copper is used in electrical wiring and equipment because it is a good conductor of heat and is resistant to corrosion.

Other important metal deposits include tin, used to solder metallic surfaces lead, used in construction, batteries, and bullets and zinc, used as an anti-corrosion agent. Brazil, Peru, and Bolivia are major producers of tin. Lead and zinc deposits are found primarily in higher elevations of Peru, Bolivia, southern Brazil, and northern Argentina.

South America is home to some deposits of oil and natural gas, which are drilled for energy and fuel. Oil and gas extraction is the dominant industry of Venezuela, with major deposits found around Lake Maracaibo and the El Tigre region. The oil sector accounts for about one-third of Venezuela&rsquos total gross domestic product (GDP).

The Built Environment

South America&rsquos economic growth over the last half-century has prompted its cities to expand rapidly. These cities, however, often suffer from inefficient transportation and utility systems, pollution, and unregulated residential growth.

São Paulo, Brazil, is an industrial powerhouse and the largest city in the Southern Hemisphere, with a population of more than 11 million. The city lies at the center of the São Paulo metropolitan area (SPMA), which has an estimated 19,889,559 residents and covers more than 7,743 square kilometers (3,067 square miles). The SPMA is defined as a &ldquomegalopolis&rdquo because it covers a vast area and incorporates several distinct cities.

São Paulo&rsquos growth mostly comes from the coffee boom that hit the city in the 1880s. Immigrants from Europe and Japan came to the city to work in the coffee trade. Today, São Paulo produces about half of Brazil&rsquos industrial goods and is the center of South American manufacturing.

São Paulo&rsquos economic opportunities have attracted many poor migrants. This flood of immigration has spurred the creation of massive shantytowns, called favelas. In São Paulo, there are more than 600 favelas. Favelas are often removed from the city center and disconnected from basic city services, such as water, sewage, and electricity.

The drug trade, mostly cocaine, is also centered in favelas. Drug trafficking has become a major economic industry in South America, providing hundreds of millions of dollars to drug organizations, known as cartels. The farmers who produce raw materials for the drug trade rarely benefit as much as the cartels that deliver the drugs to an international market. Drug cartels have become a serious security threat to South American governments, especially in Colombia and Brazil.

Lima, Peru, is the second largest desert city in the world, after Cairo, Egypt. The Lima metropolitan area has a population of almost 9 million people and accounts for about one-fourth of Peru&rsquos total population. Lima is known as the Gastronomical Capital of the Americas for the number and diversity of local dishes. These dishes bring together the city&rsquos roots as a Spanish colonial center and the influences of both international immigrants (African, Chinese, Japanese) and local migrants (Andean, Amazonian).

Lima has the largest export industry in South America. Lima and the nearby port city of Callao are also among the most important fish trade centers in South America. Lima and Callao have regular, efficient maritime routes to coastal Asia.

Much like São Paulo, Lima&rsquos large size causes certain infrastructure problems. Heavy traffic congestion is an effect of Lima&rsquos indirect street and highway network, and unreliable public buses. These older buses are often much smaller and more polluting than new buses. In order to reduce traffic and pollution, Lima is in the process of constructing an above-ground subway-type system.

South America is home to a number of engineering marvels, most of which are connected to managing the continent&rsquos natural resources. The Itaipu Dam, completed in 1984, spans the Paraná River at the Brazil-Paraguay border. The dam generates more hydroelectric power than any other dam in the world. (China's Three Gorges Dam is capable of producing more, however.) In 2008, the dam generated 94.68 billion kilowatt-hours, which supplied 90 percent of Paraguay&rsquos energy and 19 percent of Brazil&rsquos. In 1994, the American Society of Civil Engineers elected the Itaipu Dam as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.

South America has some of the largest mining operations in the world. The Chuquicamata mine in northern Chile is considered the world&rsquos largest open-pit copper mine. It is 4.3 kilometers (2.7 miles) long, 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) wide and more than 847 meters (2,780 feet) deep. The mine produces more than one-fourth of Chile&rsquos copper. Its smelter (which extracts the copper from rock ore) and refinery (which purifies the extracted copper) are also among the largest in the world.

Prison Systems In South America

The continent of South America is located in the Southern Hemisphere and includes a total of twelve countries. The countries in the continent include Bolivia, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Guyana, Uruguay, Venezuela, Suriname and French Guiana- an overseas region of France. The region has had its history of economic downturn and issues in Governance. The overall economic, political and social conditions in South American countries are not encouraging at all. It is also home to some of the world's most notorious prisons and they hold a portion of the total population. Due to the overall economic and governance issues in the region their prison systems are not attractive at all. Currently, they are prone to many avenues of basic human rights violations (Diullio, 1990).

South America has many notorious prisons. Due to lack of governance and minimal allocation of funds for their development, a vast majority of such prisons is marked by corruption, poor living conditions for the inmates and riots (Gilian, 2010). Due to the existence of drug mafias and their vast circulation of money many of the prisons are controlled by gangs. A close analysis of the prisons reveals that many of them have had violent prison rights in the recent history. The prison administration seems to be aloof of the ongoing activities in their prisons and seems to be helpless in their administration.

Major Prisons in South America

Some of the most famous and notorious prisons that are currently prone to Human rights violations and worst living conditions are: Carandiru Prison (Brazil), San Pedro Prison (Bolivia) and La Picota Central Penitentiary in Columbia (Neal, 2005). The economic conditions of the region are replicated in these prisons. They are overpopulated and maintain no adequate system for the well being of its occupants. Also, there are many small prisons in other countries of South America i.e. Uraguay, Peru and Ecuador and are marked by the same issues.

Prison Systems likely to Perpetuate Human Rights Violations

According to Aeberhard (2000), South America can be marked as the region where violations of Human rights are reported on a regular basis. Hence, the prisons in its countries are affected by the general trends and practices outside prisons. One of the main reasons for their occurrence is the lack of Governmental control and law and order situations. Its countries have had a long history of dictatorial regimes and have had difficulties in running democratic setups. It led to the societal disintegration and an increased class difference which has attributed to an increase in the crime rate in the region.

Also, the economy of some of its countries runs primarily on the black money that comes from the illegal drug trade. Drug mafias and corruption in the law enforcement agencies have also contributed to the decline in prison standards and Governmental .

The Andean orogeny

Coincident with most of the Cenozoic Era (i.e., about the past 66 million years) has been the Andean orogeny, the most significant geologic event of the era. The mountain ranges, however, display some of the same features found in the previous orogenies that developed along the western continental margin, such as the classical Andean volcanic belt, the east-vergence sub-Andean thrust and fold belt, and a series of cordilleras trending parallel to the Pacific oceanic trench. Those features are a response to subduction of the ocean crust that was accelerated by the opening of the South Atlantic and that subduction overshadows all other geomorphic processes along South America’s Pacific margin.

The Andean orogeny has three distinct segments, each of which developed in a different geologic setting. The segments are differentiated by their relative abundances of Mesozoic-Cenozoic, metamorphic, and oceanic rocks and are divided into Northern, Central and Southern sectors.

The Trans-Amazonian cycle

Trans-Amazonian rocks can be subdivided into three distinct groups: orogenic belts, such as the Maroni-Itacaiúnas belt of the Amazonia craton or the Salvador-Juazeiro belt of the São Francisco stable cover rocks, such as the Chapada Diamantina formation in Bahia or the Carajás and Roraima platform deposits and large extensional dike swarms (groups of tabular intrusions of igneous rock into sedimentary strata). The orogenic belts represent old mountain chains that had been formed either along the margins of the continent as geosynclines (downwarps of Earth’s crust) and then uplifted, such as the Maroni-Itacaiúnas belt, or were the result of collisions between continental blocks, such as the Tandil belt in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Such collisions are believed to have formed a supercontinent (sometimes called the first Pangea) some 1.8 billion years ago. The sedimentary cover of that supercontinent (preserved on the Amazonia craton), consisting of postcollision rhyolites and clastic shelf deposits, was deep and widespread and obliterated earlier suture boundaries. Extensive stratified iron and manganese deposits are found in those sequences, such as near Carajás, Brazil. Early phases of continental-plate dispersal produced extensive dike swarms of mafic rock, including a zone some 60 miles (100 km) wide in west-central Uruguay where hundreds of gabbro dikes are now emplaced along a 150-mile (240-km) stretch.

Past and present trends

Along the history of the South American nations, from their constitution as republics in the early nineteenth century to the present, four major migration patterns stand out:

Immigration during the colonial period

Transoceanic immigration originated in the sixteenth century by mercantile and strategic factors, leaving its mark in South American. The European powers, mainly Spain and Portugal, competed for access to sources of supply and materials and for the control of strategic locations. The shortage of labour was met through the slave trade or forced migration and millions of slaves from Africa came by boats to the northern territories of this region (mainly in Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela). After the abolition of slavery in the mid-nineteenth century, contractual work emerged, almost forced, which came mainly from India and the Republic of China, and whose greatest significance was felt in countries with coast on the North Pacific. The consequences of these population movements in the colonial period are manifested in the existence of significant communities, such as the Afro-descendants.

Overseas immigration between 1850 and 1950

The Industrial Revolution and the emergence of new industrial technologies contributed to the movement of a large number of people from Europe to South America. Nearly 9 million people arrived in the region (38% were Italian, 28% Spanish and 11% Portuguese) half settled in Argentina, more than a third in Brazil and part in Uruguay, having a greater impact in the cities (Pardo, 2018). The World Crisis of 1930 and the beginning of the Second World War interrupted migration, but it restarted in 1945 with the emigration of Spaniards and Italians migrants who were displaced by the war and by the formation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (ibid.)

Migration in the second half of the 20th century

Migration from the 1950s to the beginning of the twenty-first century was marked by the coexistence of intraregional and extraregional migration. Intraregional migration resulted from the exchange of populations between the countries of the region, facilitated by geographical proximity and cultural proximity, and driven by structural factors like inequalities of economic and socio-political development. Destination countries, mainly Argentina and Venezuela, could generate jobs and had greater degrees of social equity. Intraregional migration to Argentina increased considerably in the 1960s, with immigrants mainly working in construction, commerce, the textile industry and agriculture female labour migrants were mostly employed in domestic service. In the case of Venezuela, an oil bonanza in the 1970s generated rapid economic growth and a demand for workers, attracting firstly Colombian migrants, and to a lesser extent, migrants from Andean countries (Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru) and from Chile. The migrants worked in commercial activities, restaurants and hotels, social and personal services, the manufacturing industry, agriculture and construction. In the 1990s, other countries such as Brazil and Chile also became destinations countries for intraregional migrant because of economic growth. 1

Extraregional migration to developed countries

In recent decades, while immigration from overseas declined and the intraregional pattern stabilized, outward migration from South America grew. Extraregional migration was driven by social, economic and political causes such as ruptures and the reestablishment of democratic forms of government, which generated forced migration movements between the 1960s and 1980s. Lack of work, low salaries, poor prospects for individual and collective growth, poor quality of social goods and services, among other things, stimulated the permanent exit of populations to mainly the United States and Europe, both of highly qualified migrants as well as manual workers in less specialized sectors. In the south of the continent, the displacement of political exiles, both in Europe and in North America, was a dominant feature in these years. From the beginning of the 1990s, most of the countries in the region experienced accelerated extraregional migration fueled by economic and social crises (and in the case of Colombia, intensified armed conflict). In the last decades, extraregional destinations of South American migration have expanded, mainly to Europe, where Spain is the main destination, following Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, France and the United Kingdom, reaching a volume of 4.1 million South Americans around 2020 (UNDESA, 2020).


To sign up to receive our email with updates on Legal Reform, fill in the following fields. When you hit submit, you consent to our processing of the personal data you provide us with. Thanks and welcome.

Before submitting your personal data, please take a look at our Privacy Notice: General Privacy Notice or EU Privacy Notice. You can also contact us at [email protected]

What do we use cookies for?

We use cookies and similar technologies to recognize your repeat visits and preferences, as well as to measure the effectiveness of campaigns and analyze traffic. To learn more about cookies, including how to disable them, view our Cookie Policy. By clicking "I Accept" or "X" on this banner, or using our site, you consent to the use of cookies unless you have disabled them.

South Western Communications announces the acquisition of All Systems

South Western Communications, SWC, a leading critical communications integrator, announces the acquisition of All Systems, an integrated communications technology, advanced life- safety, and security company specializing in Healthcare, Education, Commercial, and Houses of Worship.

All Systems Vice President David Govro (left), All Systems Founder Gary Venable, SR. (center), and SWC President Todd Lucy (right).

The purchase will expand SWC’s footprint to the Kansas and Missouri markets serving the Kansas City, Columbia, and Wichita areas in addition to its current branches in Atlanta, GA, Decatur, AL, Chattanooga, TN, Nashville, TN, Louisville, KY, Indianapolis, IN and headquarters in Evansville, IN.

“SWC would like to welcome All Systems to SWC’s portfolio of offices,” shared SWC President Todd Lucy. “All Systems has a rich, 40- year heritage of attracting talented team members to serve the critical communications needs of schools, hospitals, and businesses in the Kansas and Missouri markets. We look forward to partnering with them to expand resources in our ongoing effort to improve services to our customers.”

SWC’s acquisition of All Systems aligned with its strategic growth initiative to diversify its business and service area.

“All Systems is excited to become part of SWC. Our long time partnership in the industry has enabled both organizations to gain from shared knowledge and shared best practices. Now by combining forces into one company, we will be able to provide not only the best of breed products, but also a depth of expertise like no other systems integration firm in the region. The excellence that our clients have come to expect from All Systems will continue, and we will have broader resources to meet their needs in the future,” commented All Systems Vice President David Govro.

About South Western Communications

South Western Communications has been an innovative leader in the electronics and communication technology industry since 1976. SWC offers progressive systems technology by integrating flexible communications solutions for Healthcare, Educational, Commercial, and Detention applications. SWC is proud to be a Koch Enterprises Company. Koch Enterprises, Inc. is a global, diversified, privately owned corporation listed in the Indiana Business Journal Top 10 Private Companies. SWC previously expanded in 2009, acquiring Richardson Technology Systems, Inc., and currently employs nearly 200 team members. For more information, visit www.swc.net or connect with us on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/company/south- western-communications

About All Systems

More than 40 years ago, engineer Gary Venable Sr. saw a need for better electronic systems, designs, and services. After noticing a growing number of poorly designed and installed systems with little support, he created his own. All Systems was born. Today, the team designs and integrates mission-critical, life-safety systems that solve problems by protecting people and their assets. With nearly 75 employees, their territory encompasses Kansas and Missouri.

Learn More About The Cherokees

Cherokee Indian Tribe An overview of the Cherokee people, language and history.

Cherokee Language Resources Cherokee language samples, articles, and indexed links.

Cherokee Culture and History Directory Related links about the customs and traditions of the Cherokee Indians.

Cherokee Words Cherokee Indian vocabulary lists.

Return to Native Americans for Children
Return to our Native American peoples homepage
Return to our Native American translation webpage

The American North and American South

Within the United States, there are a bevy of cultures both large and small but few have had such a dynamic impact on the American identity as the cultures of the Northeast and the Southwest. One on the cutting edge of technology, innovation and individuality and the other steeped in tradition, hospitality and a collective identity, these cultures have much to teach us about the United States. The South, with its soulful music, vibrant religious identity and “southern charm” is a window into a centuries-old lifestyle and way of thinking. The North, on the other hand, it always changing. The culture values innovation and intellect over “outdated” religions and customs. This has led to the economic and technological of the Northeast and the persevered history of the South.

The website below is dedicated to unpacking the rich diversity found in the leisure systems (music, religion, sports), the nonverbal communication and the verbal communication of these two regions. While it should be noted that there are glaring exceptions to all of these cultural catalysts (such as the football culture in Ann Arbor, Michigan or the soulful swing music that developed in New York City’s Cotton Club in the 1920’s and 30’s) and variables such as location (would the Piedmont region be north or south?), class and individual differences. But on the whole, having an understanding of the good, the bad and the ugly of these two regions can greatly help an American student of culture know the land that they live in.