The Andes are the tallest mountains in the Western Hemisphere. Mount Aconcagua in Argentina is the highest peak – 22,831 feet high. The mountains run 8,900 kilometers and are the longest mountain chain in the world. They separate a narrow strip of land along the west coast of South America from the rest of the continent. The Cordillera Oriental is the eastern mountain range, and the Cordillera Occidental is the western range.
The best-known people ever to live in the Andes were the Inca. Machu Picchu, remains of the magnificent Inca city, can still be seen in the mountains of Peru. The Europeans arrived in the mountains in the 1500s.