As of 1990, the South American country that sends the most immigrants to the United States was Colombia.
In that year, the U.S. Census Bureau counted 286,000 Colombian-born Americans. Most were recent immigrants: their numbers nearly doubled since 1980, when the total was 144,000.
Ecuador and Peru also send large numbers of immigrants.
Like Colombia, these countries occupy the north-west part of South America, and are therefore closer to the United States than most other South American countries. But immigrants come from every nation in South America, Venezuela, Argentina, Chile, and elsewhere.
The continent of South America encompasses both the Andes Mountains, which run like a backbone down its length, and the giant Amazon River basin.
Home to the world’s largest tropical rain forest and rich in minerals, South America has been troubled by political and economic unrest throughout its history and much of its population remains poor.