Between 1746 and 1792, seventeen students of Carl Linnaeus set out across the globe to collect plant and animal samples for his new taxonomy. Seven of these apostles died on the trip, and one would betray Linnaeus.
The 40,000km-long Incan road system connected 12 million people, but it also supplied the Incan army with food from thousands of storage depots spread across the whole network.
The Heladería Coromoto ice cream parlour in Merida, Venezuela offers nearly a thousand different flavours of ice cream, including avocado, garlic, onion, sweetcorn, and crab.
Where do black diamonds come from? We don’t actually know.
Who keeps the metric system down? In the United States, pirates do.
In 1862, between a third and half of the entire population of Rapa Nui (Easter Island) were kidnapped by Peruvian slavers.
The Centro Financiero Confinanzas skyscraper was unfinished at the time of the 1994 Venezuelan banking crisis. In 2007, squatters moved in.
The corpses of Eva Perón, the first lady of Argentina, and Pedro Eugenio Aramburu, one of the generals who overthrew her husband’s government, became the centrepieces of a bitter dispute more than twenty years after Evita’s death.
In southern and south-eastern Asia and the Pacific, teeth were blackened or lacquered to keep them intact and healthy.
In Suriname there is a species of toad that looks like it has been flattened under a rock: it grows up to twenty centimetres long, but only reaches a couple of centimetres high.
There is a storm above the mouth of the Catatumbo River in Venezuela that produces endless lightning – and has been doing so consistently, year-round, for hundreds of years.
The largest national park in the European Union is in South America.
As part of Argentina’s Dirty War, hundreds of children were taken from their parents and adopted into military families. The Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo are trying to get them back.
In 1958, surrealism, the Beat Generation, and a decade of civil war in Colombia distilled itself into the Nadaist movement – a rejection of Colombian government, literature, religion, and orthodoxy.
Around the world today, several languages have just one native speaker left. When they die, their language dies with them.