The Treaty of Tordesillas (Portuguese: Tratado de Tordesilhas, Spanish: Tratado de Tordesillas), signed at Tordesillas (now in Valladolid province, Spain), June 7, 1494, divided the newly discovered lands outside Europe into an exclusive duopoly between the Spanish and the Portuguese along a north-south meridian 370 leagues west of the Cape Verde islands (off the west coast of Africa). This was about halfway between the Cape Verde Islands (already Portuguese) and the islands discovered by Christopher Columbus on his first voyage (claimed for Spain)PortugueseSpanishTordesillasValladolid provinceSpain June 71494EuropeSpanishPortuguesemeridian leaguesCape VerdeChristopher Columbus
In the 1930's when pilot Jimmie Angel landed his plane atop Auyan tepui (a tepui is a sandstone mesa) in the southeastern corner of Venezuela, and got bogged down in the marsh, he didn't find the gold he was looking for. ANGEL FALLS
AMAZONIA At a Glance Size of the Amazon basin: 2.5 million square miles Length of Amazon river: 6,500 miles Quick facts: Sixteen percent of the world's river water flows through the Amazon delta. The Amazon basin is nine times the size of Texas. Fifty percent of all rainwater in the Amazon Basin returns to the atmosphere through the foliage of trees. In flood season, the Amazon rises an average of 30 feet. Only Egypt's Nile river is longer than the Amazon. Amazonia is the world's largest tropical rainforest, spanning more than half of Brazil. Within the 2.5 million square miles of the Amazon Basin resides a wealth of life richer than anyplace else on earth, including 500 mammals, 175 different lizards, 300 other reptile species, tree climbers of every kind, and a third of the world's birds. Millions of species that remain undiscovered. How did this natural bounty come come to be? To understand the origins of Amazonia, one needs to travel back in time some 15 million years to the formation of the Andes mountains. Until that time, the Amazon river flowed west, emptying into the Pacific Ocean. But when South America collided with another tectonic plate, the Andes formed, blocking the Amazon at its Pacific end. Inland seas, now cut off from the ocean, transformed into freshwater lakes, and the environment of the Amazon basin changed radically. The Amazon's flow gradually reversed, now flowing from west to east, until roughly 10 million years ago, the river reached the Atlantic. Size of the Amazon basin: 2.5 million square miles Length of Amazon river: 6,500 miles Sixteen percent of the world's river water flows through the Amazon delta. The Amazon basin is nine times the size of Texas. Fifty percent of all rainwater in the Amazon Basin returns to the atmosphere through the foliage of trees. In flood season, the Amazon rises an average of 30 feet. Only Egypt's Nile river is longer than the Amazon.
PANTANAL The Pantanal floodplain in southwestern Brazil is the world's largest wetland. During the summer rainy season, rivers in the area overflow their banks and flood the adjacent lowlands. The floodwaters deposit sediment on the land that makes the soil very fertile.
IGUAZU FALLS Iguazu Falls, also called Foz do Iguaçu or Salto Iguassu, on the Rio Parana, the border between Brazil and Argentina.
LAKE TITICACA Titicaca is notable for a population of people who live on the Uros, a group of about 43 artificial islands made of floating reeds
MACHU PICCHU The ruins of Machu Picchu, rediscovered in 1911 by Hiram Bingham, are one of the most beautiful and enigmatic ancient sites in the world. While the Inca people utilized the Andean mountain top (2800 m elevation), erecting massive stone structures from the early 1400's, legends and myths indicate that Machu Picchu (meaning 'Old Peak' in the Quechua language) was revered as a sacred place from a far earlier time. The Inca turned the site into a small (12 square kilometers) but extraordinary city. Invisible from the Urubamba River valley below.