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Altiplano

an elevated plain between the Andes' two great mountain ranges

Amazon River

the world's largest river in volume

Andes

South America's greatest mountain range

Atacama Desert

the driest region of South America, in northern Chile and southern Peru

Brazilian Highlands

highlands which extend inland along Brazil's southeastern coast

buffer state

a country between two larger, more powerful countries

Chibcha

a native group of the Colombian Andes

El Nino

an event in which the eastern Pacific Ocean is warmer and the climate is much wetter than normal

Gran Chaco

a hunting land between the Andes and the Brazilian Highlands

Guiana Highlands

ancient eroded highlands in southern Venezuela

Inca

South America's greatest early civilization

La Nina

when Pacific waters are colder than normal

landlocked

when a country has no border on the ocean

latafundia

large estates spread across the Pampas

Llanos

a plains area in Northeast Colombia and western Venezuela

manioc

a tropical plant with starchy roots

Mercosur

an organization to expand trade, improve transportation, and reduce tariffs among member countries

minifundia

small farms with poor land

Orinoco River

one of South America's great river systems, which drains the western Guiana Highlands and the Llanos, and empties into the Atlantic Ocean

Pampas

wide grasslands in Argentina

Parana River

the longest river in South America, which flows into the Rio de la Plata estuary between Argentina and Uruguay

Patagonia

a semiarid landform south of the Pampas which stretches all the way to Tierra del Fuego

ranchos, callampas, favelas

Venezuelan, Chilean, and Brazilian names for slums that surround major cities

Rio de la Plata

an estuary between Argentina and Uruguay

tar sands

rock or sand layers that contain oil

tepuis

a chain of high plateaus near the Guiana Highlands

terrorism

the use of fear and violence as a political force

Tierra del Fuego

an island divided between Argentina and Chile

tree line

the line of elevation above which trees do not grow

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