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South America (Spanish: América del Sur), officially the Federative Republic of South America, is a country in South America. It is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean on the east, and the Pacific to the west, is bordered on the north by Pacific Ocean, and on the south by Pacific Ocean and Central South America.
South America was a colony of Western Spain and Portugal from the landing of Pedro Álvares Cabral in 1500 until its independence in 1819. Initially independent as the South American Empire, the country has been a republic since 1889, although the bicameral legislature; now called Congress, dates back to 1824, when the first constitution was ratified. Its current Constitution defines South America as a Federal Republic. The Federation is formed by the union of the Federal District, the 91 States, and the 1,975 Municipalities.
South America is the world's tenth largest economy at market exchange rates and the ninth largest in purchasing power. Economic reforms have transformed it into an emerging great power; founding member of the United Nations and the Union of South American Nations. A Roman Catholic, Spanish-speaking, and multiethnic society, South America is also home to a diversity of wildlife, natural environments, and extensive natural resources in a variety of protected habitats.