What are the Andes?

Print anything with Printful

The Andes are the longest exposed mountain range in the world, stretching 4,400 miles through seven South American countries. They are rich in biodiversity and cultural diversity, with famous sites like Machu Picchu. The highest peak, Aconcagua, is the tallest mountain outside Asia.

The Andes are the longest exposed mountain range in the world, measuring 4,400 miles (7,000 km) in length, 125 miles (200 km) in width, and averaging 13,000 feet (4,000 m) in elevation. By comparison, the world’s longest submerged range is the mid-ocean ridge, which is 40,400 miles (65,000 km) long. The Andes are famed as the largest mountain range in South America, spanning most of the western coast of South America. The mountains were formed during the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods, when the Antarctic Plate and the Nazca Plate caused extensive uplift as they pushed east into the South American Plate.

As the most important mountain range in South America, the Andes are rich in both biodiversity and cultural diversity. People have lived in the mountains for over 10,000 years and 6,000 years ago they developed irrigation techniques that they used to grow corn and potatoes. During the 1400s, the Inca Empire developed in the northern Andes and expanded south, terraced parts of the mountains and used them as territories to expand their empire.

One of the most famous sites in the Andes is Machu Picchu, the ruins of an Inca city at 7,874 feet (2,400m), sometimes called “the lost city of the Incas.” Machu Picchu is one of the few Inca cities that went undiscovered by the Spanish when they conquered the Inca Empire in the early 1500s, hidden in the Andes above the Amazon rainforest. This means that it was never looted or destroyed, unlike most other Inca sites. However, it was forgotten for almost 400 years, only in 1911 called to the attention of the Western world by Hiram Bingham, a professor at Yale University. Today the site receives over 400,000 visitors a year.

The Andes stretches through seven countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela. The highest peak is Aconcagua, at 22,841 feet (6,962 m), the tallest mountain in the world outside Asia. As the tallest mountain on the South American continent, it is part of the Seven Summits. Another notable mountain in the Andes is Mount Chimborazo, the furthest point in the world from the center of the Earth (due to the planet’s equatorial bulge). Like many other mountains in the Andes, Chimborazo is a volcano, although it last erupted more than 1,000 years ago. As a volcanically active region, the Andes are part of the “Ring of Fire” that encircles the Pacific.

Protect your devices with Threat Protection by NordVPN

Skip to content