Amazon Rainforest

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The Amazon Rainforest (in Portuguese, Floresta Amazônica or Amazônia; Spanish: Selva Amazónica or Amazonia), also known as Amazonia or Amazon Jungle, is a moist broadleaf forest that covers most of the Amazon Basin of South America. This basin encompasses seven million square kilometers (1.7 billion acres), of which five and a half million square kilometers (1.4 billion acres) are covered by the rainforest. This region includes territory belonging to nine nations. The majority of the forest is contained within Brazil, with 60% of the rainforest, followed by Peru with 13%, and with minor amounts in Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. States or departments in four nations bear the name Amazonas after it. The Amazon represents over half of the planet's remaining rainforests, and it comprises the largest and most species-rich tract of tropical rainforest in the world.

The Amazon rainforest was short-listed in 2008 as a candidate to one of the New7Wonders of Nature by the New Seven Wonders of the World Foundation. As of February 2009 the Amazon was ranking first in Group E, the category for forests, national parks and nature reserves.[1]

Contents

Etymology

The name Amazon is said to arise from a war Francisco de Orellana fought with a tribe of Tapuyas and other tribes from South America. The women of the tribe fought alongside the men, as was the custom among the entire tribe.[2] Orellana's descriptions may have been accurate, but a few historians speculate that Orellana could have been mistaking indigenous men wearing "grass skirts" for women.[citation needed] Orellana derived the name Amazonas from the ancient Amazons of Asia and Africa described by Herodotus and Diodorus in Greek legends.[2]

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