Southern Cone (Spanish: Cono Sur, Portuguese: Cone Sul) is a geographic region composed of the southernmost areas of South America, south of the Tropic of Capricorn. Although geographically this includes part of south-eastern Brazil, in terms of political geography the Southern cone has traditionally comprised Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, and Uruguay. In the narrowest sense, only cover Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, bounded on the north by the states of Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia and Peru, on the west by the Pacific Ocean, and south to the junction between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, which it is the closest continental area of Antarctica (1000 km). 
The main language spoken in the region is Spanish owing to the Spanish colonization from the 16th to the 19th century; if one includes Brazil, Portuguese would be first. With the exception of Paraguay and parts of Brazil, the southern cone was largely settled by European immigrants.
High life expectancy, the highest Human Development Index of Latin America, high standard of living, significant participation in the global markets and the emerging economy of its members make the Southern Cone the most prosperous macro-region in Latin America.
The climates are mostly temperate, but include humid subtropical, Mediterranean, highland tropical, maritime temperate, sub-Antarctic temperate, highland cold, desert and semi-arid temperate regions. Except for northern regions of Argentina (Thermal equator in January), the whole country of Paraguay, the Argentina-Brazil border and the interior of the Atacama desert, the region rarely suffers from heat. In addition to that, the winter presents mostly cool temperatures. Strong and constant wind and high humidity is what brings low temperatures in the winter. The Atacama is the driest place on Earth.
One of the most peculiar plants of the region is the Araucaria tree (pinus) which can be found in Chile and Argentina. 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, cold steppes, Mediterranean vegetation and desert plants are also natural occurrences.
The Spanish speaking countries of the Southern Cone are divided into three main dialects, Paraguayan Spanish which is highly influenced by the Guarani language that is spoken alongside Spanish, the Rioplatense Spanish spoken in Argentina and Uruguay and Chilean Spanish. These dialects share some common traits such as a number of Quechua loanwords and Lunfardo words.
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
Autochthonous languages, spoken by some Native American groups include Mapudungun (also known as Mapuche), Quechua, Aymara and Guarani. The first one is primarily spoken in Araucanía and adjacent areas of Patagonia, in southern Argentina and Chile. Guarani is an official language of Paraguay and is spoken in the northeastern Argentine provinces of Corrientes and Misiones where it is an official language along with Spanish.
Furthermore, English is spoken in the Falkland Islands, a disputed territory between the U.K. and Argentina (presently inhabited by British subjects). Welsh is spoken by descendants of immigrants in the Patagonia region of Argentina. 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. 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.
Besides languages and colonial heritage the states of the Southern Cone share some common cultural traits such as high Football popularity and relatively good performance in that sport. This is reflected on the fact that Argentina and Uruguay have both won the world cup twice, and Brazil five times, which makes them the only national teams outside Europe to have won the cup. Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay have all hosted the world cup.
Other cultural expressions associated with the southern cone is the social and culinaire practise of the asado barbecue. The asado was born out of the horsemen and cattle culture of the region, more specifically from the gauchos of Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay and the huasos of Chile. In the Southern Cone horsemen are considered figures of national identity and are as such embodied in the epic poem Martín Fierro. Mate is popular throughout the Southern Cone, specially in Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and the state of Río Grande in Brazil. In Chile mate is popular in the southern regions and in rural areas of South-central Chile.
In the countries of the Southern Cone 19th- and 20th-century European immigrants have had a high impact on the countries' culture, social life and politics.
The majority is Roman Catholic, but there are Jewish (Mostly in Argentina and Uruguay) and Protestants (Mostly in Chile) as well . 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 the Americas. The more conservative Chile only recently passed a law to legalize divorce (1999), contrasting with Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, countries where gay union is already possible in some regions.
(July 2008 est.)
|Chile||756,102||16,928,873||22||Santiago de Chile|
The population of these countries: Argentina (39.4 million), Chile (16.8 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 metropolitan area is Porto Alegre, with more than 4 million. Uruguay's capital and largest city, Montevideo, has 1.8 million, and it receives many visitors on ferry boats across the Río de la Plata from Buenos Aires, 50 km (35 miles) away.
As far as ethnicity is concerned, the population of the Southern Cone was largely influenced by immigration from Europe. Self-reported Whites make up about 80% of the total population, being majority in Argentina, Chile , Uruguay and Southern Brazil. Non-Whites make up 17% of the population, being majority in Paraguay. Native Americans make up 3% 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 descendants 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.
Recent censuses in Brazil are conducted on the basis of self-identification. In the 2000 census, 53% of Brazilians (approximately 93 million people in 2000; around 100 million as of 2006) were white and 39% pardo or multiracial Brazilians. White is applied as a term to people of European descent (including European Jews), and Middle Easterners of all faiths. The census shows a trend of fewer Brazilians of African descent (blacks and pardos) identifying as white people as their social status increases. Demographers estimate that of the Brazilians who classify themselves as White, as many as 15% have enough of a trace of African ancestry to be considered Black by methods used to classify groups in the United States.
In 2009, Chile had an estimated population of 16,970,000. Of which approximately 8.8 millions or 52,7% are white European, with mestizos estimated at 44%. Other studies found a white majority of 64% to 90% of the Chilean population. From Chile's various waves of immigrants Spanish, Italians, Irish, French, Greeks, Germans, English, Scots, Croats, and Palestinian communities. The largest ethnic group in Chile arrived from Spain and the Basque regions in the south of France. Estimates of the number of descendants from Basques in Chile range from 10% (1,600,000) to as high as 27% (4,500,000).    In 1848 an important and substantial German immigration took place, laying the foundation for the German-Chilean community. The German Embassy in Chile estimated 500.000 to 600.000 Chileans are of German origin. Other historically significant immigrant groups include: Croatia whose number of descendants today is estimated to be 380,000 persons, the equivalent of 2.4% of the population. Other authors claim, on the other hand, that close to 4.6% of the Chilean population must have some Croatian ancestry . Over 700,000 Chileans may have British (English, Scottish and Welsh) origin. 4,5% of Chile's population., Chileans of Greek descent are estimated 90,000 to 120,000. Most of them live either in the Santiago area or in the Antofagasta area. Chile is one of the 5 countries with the most descendants of Greeks in the world. The descendants of Swiss add 90,000, an estimated that about 5% of the Chilean population has some French ancestry. and 600,000 to 800,000 Italians.
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.
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.
Since interethnic marriages are widespread in Latin America, complex ethnic classifications emerged, including 16 "racial" categories created in 18th century Hispanic America, including "bizarre" terms like castizo, morisco, cambujo and ahí te estás. In Brazil, about 190 "racial" categories were detected by the Census of 1976.
The "whiten ideology" has deep roots in Latin America and on its racial classification. Blacks made up 25% of the population of Buenos Aires in 1810, 1822 and 1838. In 1887, the government decided to cease asking Argentine citizens about their race. According to Laura López, it was a way to "hide" the Black population, not only from the Census, but also from the public opinion. Nowadays, 87% of Argentines self-report to be "White". Chile does not ask its citizens about race, but some studies concluded that Whites make up the majority would exceed 52,7% to 64% of the Chilean population.   Other study conducted by the University of Chile found that within the Chilean population 30% are white, the mestizos predominantly white ancestry is estimated at 65% while in the site of CIA 95.4% of the population is described as white and mestizo.
Brazil, a country where the "whiten" ideology largely influenced racial relations, in the last years started to reverse this trend, mostly through incentives of the Brazilian government, like affirmative actions. While in the past most of the Brazilian population tended to identify themselves as "whites", more recently many people are "migrating" from the White category to the Brown category in the Censuses. However, many of the Blacks self-report to be Brown in the Censuses, which reflects that the racism and stigma of being Black is still very strong in the country. Historically, the African-descendant population was divided into gradations of skin color, which led to a huge number of racial categories. More recently, the government decided to incorporate the self-reported Pardo (brown) population into the Black population, promoting the union between the groups, unlike the skin color divisions that prevailed in the past. From this perspective, nowadays people classified as Black or Afro-Brazilian make up the largest self-reported group in Brazil, even though in the South they are a minority, composing 20% of the Southern Brazilian population.
Different ethnic groups contributed for the composition of the population of the Southern Cone. The original population, the Amerindians, was in large part exterminated. As in the rest of Latin America, in the first centuries of colonization the region was settled by Spanish and Portuguese colonizers and most of them were men. Soon after their arrival, an intensive mixture between those European men and the local Amerindian women began, producing a new population named Mestizo in Hispanophone countries and Caboclo or Mameluco in Brazil. Amerindian ancestry is widespread in the region, mostly through the maternal line, while European ancestry is mostly found on the paternal line. African ancestry is mostly found in Brazil.
A genetic study concluded that the dominant female ancestry found in Argentina is of Amerindian origin (60% of Amerindian lineages found among Northern and Southern Argentines, and 50% among Central Argentines). A different study concluded that 56% of the European descent population in Buenos Aires have some degree of DNA indicating Amerindian ancestry, while 42% have European DNA in both parental lineages. Another study found that 2 million Argentines have a small variation of African ancestry and that 10% of the population of Buenos Aires have some degree in African DNA. In a sample from Montevideo, capital of Uruguay, Amerindian DNA was found in 20.4% of the population. The Chilean population low genetic studies "the use of mitochondrial DNA and Y chromosome test results show the following: The European component is predominant in the Chilean upper class , the middle classes, 72.3%-76.8% European component  and 27.7%-23.2 of mixed aboriginal and lower classes at 62.9%-65% European component  and 37.1%-35% mix of Aboriginal.
In Southern Brazil, a sample conducted on Whites from this region found on the paternal side total (100%) European DNA, while on the maternal side European lineage was still predominant in 66% of people, while 22% of people had an Amerindian lineage and 12% had an African lineage.
Similar to the rest of Latin America, the genetic ancestry of the population of the Southern Cone reflects the History of the continent: the Iberian colonizers were mostly men who arrived without women. In consequence, they had children with the local Indian women or with African female slaves. The intense European immigration to this part of the World in the late 19th and early 20th centuries (particularly to Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and Southern Brazil)   brought more European components to the local population (mainly Spaniards in Chile, Italians and Spanish in Argentina and Uruguay, while Italians and Germans in Southern Brazil and Southern of Chile). European immigration was encouraged by local governments, among other reasons, to "whiten" the local population, which reflected the scientific racism that considered the Amerindian and African elements "inferior", while the European element was seen as "superior". As a consequence, the White phenotype came to dominate these areas that received larger numbers of European immigrants. But the predominantly non-White majority before the mass European immigration did not disappear, of course, but was largely assimilated into the White population.
The other conspicuous characteristic of the Southern Cone is its relatively high standard of living and quality of life. Chile's, Argentina’s, Uruguay's and Brazil's HDIs—(0.878), (0.866), (0.866) and (0,813)—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. 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.
|Southern Cone||13,814||49.4||3.3||0.870 (H)||6.542||6.4|
|South America||7,689||52.9||9.1||0.794 (M)||6.000||5.7|
|Central America||6,875||51.9||12.6||0.763 (M)||5.897||4.3|
Brazil = Brazil
Mexico = Mexico
During the second half of 20th century, these countries were in some periods ruled by right-wing juntas, military nationalistic dictatorships. Around the 1970s, these regimes collaborated in Plan Cóndor against leftist opposition, including urban guerrillas. However, by the early 1980s Argentina and Uruguay restored their democracies, Chile followed suit in 1990.
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.
The term Southern Cone (Spanish: Cono Sur, Portuguese: Cone Sul) refers to a geographic region composed of the southernmost areas of South America, below the Tropic of Capricorn. Due to geographical affinities, natural, economic and social, the Southern Cone is usually understood as the region that includes all of Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, the southern states of Brazil (and sometimes part of São Paulo state, because have several features in common: proximity, the high rate of industrialization and urbanization and the high GDP). In rare exceptions - just because geographical reasons - sometimes also includes Paraguay and southern Bolivia, although both have fundamentally different characteristics of other countries (such as standards of living, industrialization, ethnicity, etc.)