South America is a continent of great diversity, rich natural resources, and stunning beauty. South Americans share a dramatic history of rich civilizations lost to European conquest in the 1500s. Today, the region enjoys relative political stability and economic growth, but some areas suffer from uncontrolled crime, violence, and corruption.
In general, South American countries score above the world average on the Social Progress Index. Two of the 12 countries of South America enjoy a high level of social progress; six countries have an upper-middle level; and three countries fall into the lower-middle range.
Challenges for the future include addressing extreme poverty, improving basic services for rural populations, and ending routine discrimination against people of native or African descent. As one of the most ecologically biodiverse regions on earth, the countries of South America will need to make a united effort to prevent the extinction of the more than 6,000 species of plants and animals that are currently threatened on the continent. Each title in this series contains a forward from the Executive Director of the Social Progress Imperative, color photos throughout, maps, charts, and back matter including: a special "Countries at a Glance" statistical section, an index, and further reading lists for books and internet resources. Key Icons appear throughout the books in this series in an effort to encourage library readers to build knowledge, gain awareness, explore possibilities and expand their viewpoints through our content rich non-fiction books. Key Icons in this series are as follows: Words to Understand are shown at the front of each chapter with definitions. These words are set in boldfaced type in that chapter, so that readers are able to reference back to the definitions--building their vocabulary and enhancing their reading comprehension. Sidebars are highlighted graphics with content rich material within that allows readers to build knowledge and broaden their perspectives by weaving together additional information to provide realistic and holistic perspectives. Text-Dependent Questions are placed at the end of each chapter. They challenge the reader's comprehension of the chapter they have just read, while sending the reader back to the text for more careful attention to the evidence presented there. Research Projects are provided at the end of each chapter as well and provide readers with suggestions for projects that encourage deeper research and analysis. And a Series Glossary of Key Terms is included in the back matter containing terminology used throughout the series. Words found here broaden the reader's knowledge and understanding of terms used in this field."
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