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The geography of the region is diverse with two mountain ranges — the Western and Eastern Ghats , bordering the plateau heartland. Godavari , Krishna , Kaveri , Tungabhadra and Vaigai rivers are important non- perennial sources of water. Chennai , Bengaluru , Hyderabad , Coimbatore and Kochi are the largest urban areas.

The majority of the people in South India speak one of the four major Dravidian languages: Telugu , Tamil , Kannada and Malayalam. During its history , a number of dynastic kingdoms ruled over parts of South India whose invasions across southern and southeastern Asia impacted the history and culture in those regions. Europeans entered India through Kerala and the region was colonised by Britain and other nations. After experiencing fluctuations in the decades immediately after Indian independence , the economies of South Indian states have registered higher than national average growth over the past three decades.

While South Indian states have improved in some socio-economic metrics, poverty continues to affect the region much like the rest of the country, although it has considerably decreased over the years. HDI in the southern states is high and the economy has undergone growth at a faster rate than most northern states.

The fertility rate in South India is 1. South India also known as Peninsular India has been known by several other names. The term "Deccan" referring to the area covered by the Deccan Plateau that covers most of peninsular India excluding the coastal areas is an anglicised form of the word Prakrit dakkhin derived from the Sanskrit word dakshina meaning south. Artefacts such as ground stone axes, and minor copper objects have been found in the region.

The Vijayanagara Empire , founded in 14th century A. After repeated invasions from the Sultanate of Delhi and the fall of Vijayanagara empire in , the region was ruled by Deccan Sultanates , polygars and Nayak governors of Vijayanagara empire who declared independence. The Europeans arrived in the 15th century and by the middle of the 18th century, the French and the British were involved in a protracted struggle for military control over the South India.

The region played a major role in the Indian independence movement ; of the 72 delegates who participated in the first session of the Indian National Congress at Bombay in December , 22 hailed from South India.

After the independence of India in , the region was organised into four states: Telangana was created on 2 June by bifurcating Andhra Pradesh and it comprises ten districts of the erstwhile state of Andhra Pradesh. South India is a peninsula in the shape of an inverted triangle bound by the Arabian Sea on the west, by the Bay of Bengal on the east and Vindhya and Satpura ranges on the north. The Western Ghats continue south until Kanyakumari. The Nilgiris run in a crescent approximately along the borders of Tamil Nadu with northern Kerala and Karnataka, encompassing the Palakkad and Wayanad hills and the Sathyamangalam ranges, extending on to the relatively low-lying hills of the Eastern Ghats on the western portion of the Tamil Nadu—Andhra Pradesh border forming the Tirupati and Annamalai hills.

The low-lying coral islands of Lakshadweep are situated off the southwestern coast of India. The Andaman and Nicobar islands lie far off the eastern coast of India. The Palk Strait and the chain of low sandbars and islands known as Rama's Bridge separate the region from Sri Lanka , which lies off the southeastern coast.

The Deccan plateau is the elevated region bound by the mountain ranges. The major tributaries include Pennar , Tungabhadra , Bhavani and Thamirabarani. The region has a tropical climate and depends on monsoons for rainfall. The tropical climate is experienced in a strip of south-western lowlands abutting the Malabar Coast , the Western Ghats and the islands of Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar are also subject to this climate.

The tropical wet and dry climate , drier than areas with a tropical monsoon climate, prevails over most of the inland peninsular region except for a semi-arid rain shadow east of the Western Ghats. Once the dry northeast monsoon begins in September, most precipitation in India falls in Tamil Nadu, leaving other states comparatively dry. The region, which includes Karnataka, inland Tamil Nadu and western Andhra Pradesh, gets between and millimetres The southwest monsoon from June to September accounts for most of the rainfall in the region.

The Arabian Sea branch of the southwest monsoon hits the Western Ghats along the coastal state of Kerala and moves northwards along the Konkan coast with precipitation on coastal areas, west of the Western Ghats. The lofty Western Ghats prevent the winds from reaching the Deccan Plateau; hence, the leeward region the region deprived of winds receives very little rainfall. The Coramandel coast does not receive much rainfall from the southwest monsoon due to the shape of the land. Tamil Nadu and southeast Andhra Pradesh receive rains from the northeast monsoon.

There is a wide diversity of plants and animals in South India, resulting from its varied climates and geography. Deciduous forests are found along the Western Ghats while tropical dry forests and scrub lands are common in the interior Deccan plateau.

The southern Western Ghats have rainforests located at high altitudes called the South Western Ghats montane rain forests and the Malabar Coast moist forests are found on the coastal plains.

Bird sanctuaries including Vedanthangal , Ranganathittu , Kumarakom , Neelapattu and Pulicat are home to numerous migratory and local birds. It is home to Endangered aquatic species including dolphins , dugongs , whales and sea cucumbers.

The region is home to one of the largest populations of endangered Indian elephant and Bengal Tiger in India.

Elephant populations are found in eight fragmented sites in South India; in northern Karnataka, along the Western Ghats, in Bhadra — Malnad , in Brahmagiri —Nilgiris—Eastern Ghats, in Nilambur — Silent Valley —Coimbatore, in Anamalai — Parambikulam , in Periyar — Srivilliputhur and Agasthyamalai [53] The region is home to one-third of the tiger population and more than half of the elephant population of India.

As per the census of India , the estimated population of South India is million, around one fifth of the total population of India. The region's total fertility rate TFR was less than the population replacement level of 2. Agriculture is the major employer in the region with After experiencing fluctuations in the decades immediately after the independence of India, the economies of South Indian states have registered growth higher than the national average over the past three decades.

While South Indian states have improved in some of the socio-economic metrics, [83] [84] poverty continues to affect the region as it does the rest of the country, although it has considerably decreased over the years.

Basis the census, HDI in the southern states is high and the economy has grown at a faster rate than most northern states. The largest linguistic group in South India is the Dravidian family of languages , a family of approximately 73 languages [98] The major languages spoken include Telugu , Tamil , Kannada and Malayalam. English is also widely spoken in urban areas of South India. Tamil was the first language to be granted classical language status by the Government of India in The economy of South India after the independence of the nation conformed to a socialist framework, with strict governmental control over private sector participation, foreign trade and foreign direct investment.

Through to , the South Indian economies experienced mixed economic growth. In the s, Kerala achieved above average economic growth while Andhra Pradesh's economy declined during this period. Kerala experienced an economic decline in the s while the economies of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka consistently exceeded national average growth rates after due to reform-oriented economic policies compared to other Indian states.

Tamil Nadu has the second highest GDP and is the second most industrialised state in the country after Maharashtra. Some of the main crops cultivated in South India include paddy , sorghum , pearl millet , pulses , sugarcane , cotton , chilli and ragi.

Areca , coffee , tea , rubber and spices are cultivated on the hilly regions. The staple food is rice; the delta regions of Godavari, Krishna and Kaveri are amongst the top rice producing areas in the country. The growth of information technology IT hubs in the region have spurred economic growth and attracted foreign investments and job seekers from other parts of the country.

South India elects members to the Lok Sabha accounting for roughly one-fourth of the total strength. State legislatures elect members for terms of five years. Governors may suspend or dissolve assemblies and can administer when no party is able to form a government. Politics in South India is characterised by a mix of regional and national political parties. Ramaswamy Naicker commonly known as Periyar.

The initial aim was the secession of Dravida Nadu from the rest of India on independence. Annadurai , a follower of Periyar formed the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam in Indian National Congress dominated the political scene in Tamil Nadu in s and s under the leadership of K.

For the past fifty years, these two coalitions have been alternately in power and E. Namboodiripad , the first elected chief minister of Kerala in is credited as the leader of the first democratically elected communist government in the world.

Giri , [] Neelam Sanjiva Reddy , [] R. Venkataraman , [] K. Narasimha Rao and H. Deve Gowda were from the region. South Indian women traditionally wear a sari , a garment that consists of a drape varying from 5 yards 4.

The men wear a dhoti , a 4. It is usually wrapped around the waist and the legs and knotted at the waist. Rice is the staple diet, while fish is an integral component of coastal South Indian meals. The region has a rich cuisine involving both traditional non-vegetarian and vegetarian dishes comprising rice, legumes and lentils. Its distinct aroma and flavour is achieved by the blending of flavourings and spices including curry leaves , mustard seeds , coriander , ginger , garlic , chili , pepper , cinnamon , cloves , green cardamom , cumin , nutmeg , coconut and rosewater.

Andhra cuisine is characterised by pickles and spicy curries. Nataraja Mudaliar in Karun , John Abraham and G. Aravindan in Malayalam cinema, and K. Narsing Rao in Telugu cinema produced realistic parallel cinema throughout the s, [] Cinema has also exerted its influence on politics ; [] prominent film personalities like C N Annadurai , M G Ramachandran , M Karunanidhi , N.

Rama Rao and Jayalalithaa have become Chief Ministers. South India has an independent literary tradition dating back over years ago. The first known literature of South India is the poetic Sangam literature , written in Tamil to years ago. The literature was composed in three successive poetic assemblies known as Tamil Sangam s that were held in the ancient times on a now vanished continent far to the south of India.

South India has two distinct styles of rock architecture, the Dravidian style of Tamil Nadu and the Vesara style of Karnataka. Besides these, a South Indian temple typically has a tank called the Kalyani or Pushkarni. This forms a prominent feature of koil s, Hindu temples of the Dravidian style. In March , a discussion initiated by pilot G. Vlasto led to the founding of Madras Flying Club which became a pioneer in pilot training South India. There are 9 international airports, 2 customs airports, 15 domestic airports and 11 air bases in South India.

Chennai airport serves as the regional headquarters of the Airports Authority of India for the southern region of India comprising the states of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Telangana and the union territories of Puducherry and Lakshadweep.

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It may also be considered a subcontinent of the Americas , [5] [6] which is how it is viewed in the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking regions of the Americas.

The reference to South America instead of other regions like Latin America or the Southern Cone has increased in the last decades due to changing geopolitical dynamics in particular, the rise of Brazil. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east by the Atlantic Ocean ; North America and the Caribbean Sea lie to the northwest.

South America has an area of 17,, square kilometers 6,, sq mi. Its population as of [update] has been estimated at more than million. Brazil is by far the most populous South American country, with more than half of the continent's population, followed by Colombia, Argentina, Venezuela and Peru.

In recent decades Brazil has also concentrated half of the region's GDP and has become a first regional power. Most of the population lives near the continent's western or eastern coasts while the interior and the far south are sparsely populated. Most of the continent lies in the tropics. The continent's cultural and ethnic outlook has its origin with the interaction of indigenous peoples with European conquerors and immigrants and, more locally, with African slaves.

Given a long history of colonialism , the overwhelming majority of South Americans speak Portuguese or Spanish , and societies and states reflect Western traditions. South America occupies the southern portion of the Americas. South America's major mineral resources are gold , silver , copper , iron ore , tin , and petroleum.

These resources found in South America have brought high income to its countries especially in times of war or of rapid economic growth by industrialized countries elsewhere.

However, the concentration in producing one major export commodity often has hindered the development of diversified economies. The fluctuation in the price of commodities in the international markets has led historically to major highs and lows in the economies of South American states, often causing extreme political instability.

This is leading to efforts to diversify production to drive away from staying as economies dedicated to one major export. South America is one of the most biodiverse continents on earth. The Amazon rainforests possess high biodiversity , containing a major proportion of the Earth's species. Brazil is the largest country in South America, encompassing around half of the continent's land area and population. The remaining countries and territories are divided among three regions: Traditionally, South America also includes some of the nearby islands.

Geo-politically, the island states and overseas territories of the Caribbean are generally grouped as a part or subregion of North America, since they are more distant on the Caribbean Plate , even though San Andres and Providencia are politically part of Colombia and Aves Island is controlled by Venezuela. In temperate latitudes, winters are milder and summers warmer than in North America.

Because its most extensive part of the continent is in the equatorial zone, the region has more areas of equatorial plains than any other region. Between the Maracaibo Lake and the mouth of the Orinoco, predominates an equatorial climate of the type Congolese, that also includes parts of the Brazilian territory.

The east-central Brazilian plateau has a humid and warm tropical climate. The northern and eastern parts of the Argentine pampas have a humid subtropical climate with dry winters and humid summers of the Chinese type, while the western and eastern ranges have a subtropical climate of the dinaric type.

At the highest points of the Andean region, climates are colder than the ones occurring at the highest point of the Norwegian fjords. In the Andean plateaus, the warm climate prevails, although it is tempered by the altitude, while in the coastal strip, there is an equatorial climate of the Guinean type.

From this point until the north of the Chilean coast appear, successively, Mediterranean oceanic climate , temperate of the Breton type and, already in Tierra del Fuego , cold climate of the Siberian type. The distribution of rainfall is related to the regime of winds and air masses. In most of the tropical region east of the Andes, winds blowing from the northeast, east and southeast carry moisture from the Atlantic, causing abundant rainfall.

However, due to a consistently strong wind shear and a weak Intertropical Convergence Zone , tropical cyclones are practically unknown in the South Atlantic. The Pacific coast of Colombia and northern Ecuador are rainy regions. The Atacama Desert, along this stretch of coast, is one of the driest regions in the world. The central and southern parts of Chile are subject to extratropical cyclones , and most of the Argentine Patagonia is desert. In the pampas of Argentina, Uruguay and South of Brazil the rainfall is moderate, with rains well distributed during the year.

The moderately dry conditions of the Chaco oppose the intense rainfall of the eastern region of Paraguay. In the semiarid coast of the Brazilian Northeast the rains are linked to a monsoon regime.

Important factors in the determination of climates are sea currents, such as the current Humboldt and Falklands.

The equatorial current of the South Atlantic strikes the coast of the Northeast and there is divided into two others: South America is believed to have been joined with Africa from the late Paleozoic Era to the early Mesozoic Era , until the supercontinent Pangaea began to rift and break apart about million years ago. Therefore, South America and Africa share similar fossils and rock layers. South America is thought to have been first inhabited by humans when people were crossing the Bering Land Bridge now the Bering Strait at least 15, years ago from the territory that is present-day Russia.

The first evidence for the existence of the human race in South America dates back to about BC, when squashes , chili peppers and beans began to be cultivated for food in the highlands of the Amazon Basin.

Pottery evidence further suggests that manioc , which remains a staple food today, was being cultivated as early as BC.

By BC, many agrarian communities had been settled throughout the Andes and the surrounding regions. Fishing became a widespread practice along the coast, helping establish fish as a primary source of food. Irrigation systems were also developed at this time, which aided in the rise of an agrarian society. Besides their use as sources of meat and wool, these animals were used for transportation of goods. The rise of plant growing and the subsequent appearance of permanent human settlements allowed for the multiple and overlapping beginnings of civilizations in South America.

One of the earliest known South American civilizations was at Norte Chico , on the central Peruvian coast. Though a pre-ceramic culture, the monumental architecture of Norte Chico is contemporaneous with the pyramids of Ancient Egypt. Around the 7th century, both Tiahuanaco and Wari or Huari Empire —, Central and northern Peru expanded its influence to all the Andean region, imposing the Huari urbanism and Tiahuanaco religious iconography.

The Muisca were the main indigenous civilization in what is now Colombia. They established the Muisca Confederation of many clans, or cacicazgos , that had a free trade network among themselves. They were goldsmiths and farmers.

Other important Pre-Columbian cultures include: Holding their capital at the great city of Cusco , the Inca civilization dominated the Andes region from to Known as Tawantin suyu , and "the land of the four regions," in Quechua , the Inca Empire was highly distinct and developed.

Inca rule extended to nearly a hundred linguistic or ethnic communities, some 9 to 14 million people connected by a 25, kilometer road system. Cities were built with precise, unmatched stonework, constructed over many levels of mountain terrain.

Terrace farming was a useful form of agriculture. In , Portugal and Spain , the two great maritime European powers of that time, on the expectation of new lands being discovered in the west, signed the Treaty of Tordesillas , by which they agreed, with the support of the Pope, that all the land outside Europe should be an exclusive duopoly between the two countries. In terms of the treaty, all land to the west of the line known to comprise most of the South American soil would belong to Spain, and all land to the east, to Portugal.

As accurate measurements of longitude were impossible at that time, the line was not strictly enforced, resulting in a Portuguese expansion of Brazil across the meridian. Beginning in the s, the people and natural resources of South America were repeatedly exploited by foreign conquistadors , first from Spain and later from Portugal.

These competing colonial nations claimed the land and resources as their own and divided it in colonies. Systems of forced labor, such as the haciendas and mining industry's mit'a also contributed to the depopulation.

After this, African slaves , who had developed immunities to these diseases, were quickly brought in to replace them. The Spaniards were committed to converting their native subjects to Christianity and were quick to purge any native cultural practices that hindered this end; however, many initial attempts at this were only partially successful, as native groups simply blended Catholicism with their established beliefs and practices.

Eventually, the natives and the Spaniards interbred, forming a mestizo class. At the beginning, many mestizos of the Andean region were offspring of Amerindian mothers and Spanish fathers. After independence, most mestizos had native fathers and European or mestizo mothers. Many native artworks were considered pagan idols and destroyed by Spanish explorers; this included many gold and silver sculptures and other artifacts found in South America, which were melted down before their transport to Spain or Portugal.

Spaniards and Portuguese brought the western European architectural style to the continent, and helped to improve infrastructures like bridges, roads, and the sewer system of the cities they discovered or conquered.

They also significantly increased economic and trade relations, not just between the old and new world but between the different South American regions and peoples. Finally, with the expansion of the Portuguese and Spanish languages, many cultures that were previously separated became united through that of Latin American.

Guyana was first a Dutch, and then a British colony , though there was a brief period during the Napoleonic Wars when it was colonized by the French.

The country was once partitioned into three parts, each being controlled by one of the colonial powers until the country was finally taken over fully by the British. Indigenous peoples of the Americas in various European colonies were forced to work in European plantations and mines; along with African slaves who were also introduced in the proceeding centuries.

The colonists were heavily dependent on indigenous labor during the initial phases of European settlement to maintain the subsistence economy, and natives were often captured by expeditions. The importation of African slaves began midway through the 16th century, but the enslavement of indigenous peoples continued well into the 17th and 18th centuries. The Atlantic slave trade brought African slaves primarily to South American colonies, beginning with the Portuguese since While the Portuguese, English and French settlers enslaved mainly African blacks, the Spaniards became very disposed of the natives.

In Portugal abolished native slavery in the colonies because they considered them unfit for labour and began to import even more African slaves. Slaves were brought to the mainland on so-called slave ships , under inhuman conditions and ill-treatment, and those who survived were sold into the slave markets. After independence, all South American countries maintained slavery for some time. The first South American country to abolish slavery was Chile in , Uruguay in , Bolivia in , Colombia and Ecuador in , Argentina in , Peru and Venezuela in , Paraguay in , and in Brazil was the last South American nation and the last country in western world to abolish slavery.

The European Peninsular War — , a theater of the Napoleonic Wars , changed the political situation of both the Spanish and Portuguese colonies. This appointment provoked severe popular resistance, which created Juntas to rule in the name of the captured king. Many cities in the Spanish colonies, however, considered themselves equally authorized to appoint local Juntas like those of Spain.

This began the Spanish American wars of independence between the patriots , who promoted such autonomy, and the royalists , who supported Spanish authority over the Americas. The Juntas, in both Spain and the Americas, promoted the ideas of the Enlightenment. Five years after the beginning of the war, Ferdinand VII returned to the throne and began the Absolutist Restoration as the royalists got the upper hand in the conflict. He organized a fleet to reach Peru by sea, and sought the military support of various rebels from the Viceroyalty of Peru.

The two armies finally met in Guayaquil, Ecuador , where they cornered the Royal Army of the Spanish Crown and forced its surrender. The newly independent nations began a process of fragmentation, with several civil and international wars. However, it was not as strong as in Central America. Rather, he was making a political statement in opposition to the monarchist and centralist ideas that back then permeated Buenos Aires politics.

The "country" was reincorporated at the United Provinces in Three years later, the United Kingdom intervened in the question by proclaiming a tie and creating in the former Cisplatina a new independent country: The Oriental Republic of Uruguay. Later in , while Brazil was experiencing the chaos of the regency, Rio Grande do Sul proclaimed its independence motivated by a tax crisis.

With the anticipation of the coronation of Pedro II to the throne of Brazil, the country could stabilize and fight the separatists, which the province of Santa Catarina had joined in The Conflict came to an end by a process of compromise by which both Riograndense Republic and Juliana Republic were reincorporated as provinces in The Peru—Bolivian Confederation , a short-lived union of Peru and Bolivia, was blocked by Chile in the War of the Confederation — and again during the War of the Pacific — Paraguay was virtually destroyed by Argentina and Brazil in the Paraguayan War.

South American history in early 19th century was built almost exclusively on wars. Despite the Spanish American wars of independence and the Brazilian War of Independence , the new nations quickly began to suffer with internal conflicts and wars among themselves.

The result was a stalemate, ending with the British arranging for the independence of Uruguay. Soon after, another Brazilian province proclaimed its independence leading to the Ragamuffin War which Brazil won. Between and the War of the Confederation broke out between the short-lived Peru-Bolivian Confederation and Chile , with the support of the Argentine Confederation.

The war was fought mostly in the actual territory of Peru and ended with a Confederate defeat and the dissolution of the Confederacy and annexation of many territories by Argentina. Meanwhile, the Argentine Civil Wars plagued Argentina since its independence.

The conflict was mainly between those who defended the centralization of power in Buenos Aires and those who defended a confederation.

During this period it can be said that "there were two Argentines": At the same time the political instability in Uruguay led to the Uruguayan Civil War among the main political factions of the country.

All this instability in the platine region interfered with the goals of other countries such as Brazil, which was soon forced to take sides. In the Brazilian Empire , supporting the centralizing unitarians, and the Uruguayan government invaded Argentina and deposed the caudillo, Juan Manuel Rosas , who ruled the confederation with an iron hand.

Although the Platine War did not put an end to the political chaos and civil war in Argentina, it brought temporary peace to Uruguay where the Colorados faction won, supported by the Brazilian Empire , British Empire , French Empire and the Unitarian Party of Argentina.

Peace lasted only a short time: The Blancos supported by Paraguay started to attack Brazilian and Argentine farmers near the borders. The Empire made an initial attempt to settle the dispute between Blancos and Colorados without success.

In , after a Brazilian ultimatum was refused, the imperial government declared that Brazil's military would begin reprisals.

Brazil declined to acknowledge a formal state of war, and, for most of its duration, the Uruguayan—Brazilian armed conflict was an undeclared war which led to the deposition of the Blancos and the rise of the pro-Brazilian Colorados to power again.

This angered the Paraguayan government, which even before the end of the war invaded Brazil, beginning the biggest and deadliest war in both South American and Latin American histories: His attempt to cross Argentinian territory without Argentinian approval led the pro-Brazilian Argentine government into the war.

The pro-Brazilian Uruguayan government showed its support by sending troops. In the three countries signed the Treaty of the Triple Alliance against Paraguay. At the beginning of the war, the Paraguayans took the lead with several victories, until the Triple Alliance organized to repel the invaders and fight effectively.

This was the second total war experience in the world after the American Civil War. It was deemed the greatest war effort in the history of all participating countries, taking almost 6 years and ending with the complete devastation of Paraguay. The dictator Lopez was killed in battle and a new government was instituted in alliance with Brazil, which maintained occupation forces in the country until In the war began with Chilean troops occupying Bolivian ports, followed by Bolivia declaring war on Chile which activated an alliance treaty with Peru.

The Bolivians were completely defeated in and Lima was occupied in The peace was signed with Peru in while a truce was signed with Bolivia in Chile annexed territories of both countries leaving Bolivia with no path to the sea.

In the new century, as wars became less violent and less frequent, Brazil entered into a small conflict with Bolivia for the possession of the Acre, which was acquired by Brazil in In Brazil declared war on the Central Powers and join the allied side in the World War I , sending a small fleet to the Mediterranean Sea and some troops to be integrated with the British and French troops.

In the same year Paraguay declared war on Bolivia for possession of the Chaco, in a conflict that ended three years later with Paraguay's victory. Between and Peru and Ecuador fought decisively for territories claimed by both that were annexed by Peru, usurping Ecuador's frontier with Brazil. Also in this period the first naval battle of World War II was fought on the continent, in the River Plate , between British forces and German submarines.

Brazil sent naval and air forces to combat German and Italian submarines off the continent and throughout the South Atlantic, in addition to sending an expeditionary force to fight in the Italian Campaign. A brief war was fought between Argentina and the UK in , following an Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands , which ended with an Argentine defeat.

The last international war to be fought on South American soil was the Cenepa War between Ecuador and the Peru along their mutual border. Wars became less frequent in the 20th century, with Bolivia-Paraguay and Peru-Ecuador fighting the last inter-state wars. Early in the 20th century, the three wealthiest South American countries engaged in a vastly expensive naval arms race which was catalyzed by the introduction of a new warship type, the " dreadnought ". At one point, the Argentine government was spending a fifth of its entire yearly budget for just two dreadnoughts, a price that did not include later in-service costs, which for the Brazilian dreadnoughts was sixty percent of the initial purchase.

The continent became a battlefield of the Cold War in the late 20th century. Some democratically elected governments of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay and Paraguay were overthrown or displaced by military dictatorships in the s and s. Economically, they began a transition to neoliberal economic policies. Throughout the s and s, Peru suffered from an internal conflict. Argentina and Britain fought the Falklands War in Colombia has had an ongoing, though diminished internal conflict, which started in with the creation of Marxist guerrillas FARC-EP and then involved several illegal armed groups of leftist-leaning ideology as well as the private armies of powerful drug lords.

Many of these are now defunct, and only a small portion of the ELN remains, along with the stronger, though also greatly reduced, FARC. These leftist groups smuggle narcotics out of Colombia to fund their operations, while also using kidnapping, bombings, land mines and assassinations as weapons against both elected and non-elected citizens.

Revolutionary movements and right-wing military dictatorships became common after World War II , but since the s, a wave of democratization passed through the continent, and democratic rule is widespread now.

International indebtedness turned into a severe problem in the late s, and some countries, despite having strong democracies, have not yet developed political institutions capable of handling such crises without resorting to unorthodox economic policies, as most recently illustrated by Argentina 's default in the early 21st century. Historically, the Hispanic countries were founded as Republican dictatorships led by caudillos.

In the late 19th century, the most democratic countries were Brazil , [50] Chile , Argentina and Uruguay. In the interwar period, nationalism grew stronger on the continent, influenced by countries like Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. A series of authoritarian rules broke out in South American countries with views bringing them closer to the Axis Powers , [52] like Vargas's Brazil.

In the late 20th century, during the Cold War , many countries became military dictatorships under American tutelage in attempts to avoid the influence of the Soviet Union. After the fall of the authoritarian regimes, these countries became democratic republics. During the first decade of the 21st century, South American governments have drifted to the political left, with leftist leaders being elected in Chile, Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Bolivia, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela.

Most South American countries are making increasing use of protectionist policies, helping local development. All South American countries are presidential republics with the exceptions of Peru , which is a semi-presidential republic , and Suriname , a parliamentary republic.

Also in the twentieth century, Suriname was established as a constituent kingdom of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Guyana retained the British monarch as head of state for 4 years after its independence. Recently, an intergovernmental entity has been formed which aims to merge the two existing customs unions: Mercosur and the Andean Community , thus forming the third-largest trade bloc in the world. South America has over million [1] inhabitants and a population growth rate of about 0.

There are several areas of sparse demographics such as tropical forests , the Atacama Desert and the icy portions of Patagonia. On the other hand, the continent presents regions of high population density, such as the great urban centers. The population is formed by descendants of Europeans mainly Spaniards , Portuguese and Italians , Africans and indigenous peoples. There is a high percentage of mestizos that vary greatly in composition by place.

There is also a minor population of Asians , especially in Brazil. The two main languages are by far Spanish and Portuguese, followed by French, English and Dutch in smaller numbers. Spanish and Portuguese are the most spoken languages in South America, with approximately million speakers each. Spanish is the official language of most countries, along with other native languages in some countries.

Portuguese is the official language of Brazil. Dutch is the official language of Suriname ; English is the official language of Guyana , although there are at least twelve other languages spoken in the country, including Portuguese , Chinese , Hindustani and several native languages.

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Taiwan shares tumble points but remain above 9, points. Record changes in Top 25 after 11 ranked losses. Lions fall flat in miscue-filled loss to Seattle. Redskins win third straight, behind defense and Peterson.

AP — Adam Vinatieri has made plenty of tougher kicks in his career. The two last-second field goals to win Super Bowls,

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