El Salvador
Overview
 
El Salvador or simply Salvador is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America
Central America
Central America is the central geographic region of the Americas. It is the southernmost, isthmian portion of the North American continent, which connects with South America on the southeast. When considered part of the unified continental model, it is considered a subcontinent...

. The country's capital city and largest city is San Salvador
San Salvador
The city of San Salvador the capital and largest city of El Salvador, which has been designated a Gamma World City. Its complete name is La Ciudad de Gran San Salvador...

; Santa Ana
Santa Ana, El Salvador
Santa Ana is the second largest city in El Salvador, located 64 kilometers west of San Salvador, the capital city. Santa Ana has approximately 274,830 inhabitants and serves both as the capital of the department of Santa Ana and...

 and San Miguel
San Miguel, El Salvador
San Miguel is the fourth most populous city in El Salvador after Santa Ana and Soyapango and the second most important after San Salvador. It is located 138 km east of the capital, San Salvador. It is also the capital of the department of San Miguel and a municipality...

 are also important cultural and commercial centers in the country and in all of Central America. El Salvador borders the Pacific Ocean on the west, and the countries of Guatemala
Guatemala
Guatemala is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Belize to the northeast, the Caribbean to the east, and Honduras and El Salvador to the southeast...

 to the north and Honduras
Honduras
Honduras is a republic in Central America. It was previously known as Spanish Honduras to differentiate it from British Honduras, which became the modern-day state of Belize...

 to the east. Its eastern-most region lies on the coast of the Gulf of Fonseca
Gulf of Fonseca
The Gulf of Fonseca , part of the Pacific Ocean, is a gulf in Central America, bordering El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua.-History:Fonseca Bay was discovered in 1522 by Gil Gonzalez de Avila, and named by him after his patron, Archbishop Juan Fonseca, the implacable enemy of Columbus.In 1849, E. G...

, opposite Nicaragua
Nicaragua
Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The country is situated between 11 and 14 degrees north of the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere, which places it entirely within the tropics. The Pacific Ocean...

.
Timeline

1821    Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica jointly declare independence from Spain.

1851    Honduras and El Salvador, during their invasion of Guatemala, are repelled at the Battle of La Arada.

1895    El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua form the Greater Republic of Central America.

1953    Ernesto "Che" Guevara sets out on a trip through Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador.

1969    Football War: after Honduras loses a soccer match against El Salvador, riots break out in Honduras against Salvadoran migrant workers.

1969    A cease fire is announced between Honduras and El Salvador, 6 days after the beginning of the "Football War"

1980    Archbishop Óscar Romero of El Salvador gives his famous speech appealing to men of the El Salvadoran armed forces to stop killing the Salvadorans.

1980    El Salvador and Honduras sign a peace treaty to put the border dispute fought over in 1969's Football War before the International Court of Justice.

1980    Four U.S. nuns and churchwomen, Ita Ford, Maura Clarke, Jean Donovan, and Dorothy Kazel, are murdered by a death squad in El Salvador.

1981    El Mozote massacre: Armed forces in El Salvador kill an estimated 900 civilians in an anti-guerrilla campaign during the Salvadoran Civil War.

Encyclopedia
El Salvador or simply Salvador is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America
Central America
Central America is the central geographic region of the Americas. It is the southernmost, isthmian portion of the North American continent, which connects with South America on the southeast. When considered part of the unified continental model, it is considered a subcontinent...

. The country's capital city and largest city is San Salvador
San Salvador
The city of San Salvador the capital and largest city of El Salvador, which has been designated a Gamma World City. Its complete name is La Ciudad de Gran San Salvador...

; Santa Ana
Santa Ana, El Salvador
Santa Ana is the second largest city in El Salvador, located 64 kilometers west of San Salvador, the capital city. Santa Ana has approximately 274,830 inhabitants and serves both as the capital of the department of Santa Ana and...

 and San Miguel
San Miguel, El Salvador
San Miguel is the fourth most populous city in El Salvador after Santa Ana and Soyapango and the second most important after San Salvador. It is located 138 km east of the capital, San Salvador. It is also the capital of the department of San Miguel and a municipality...

 are also important cultural and commercial centers in the country and in all of Central America. El Salvador borders the Pacific Ocean on the west, and the countries of Guatemala
Guatemala
Guatemala is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Belize to the northeast, the Caribbean to the east, and Honduras and El Salvador to the southeast...

 to the north and Honduras
Honduras
Honduras is a republic in Central America. It was previously known as Spanish Honduras to differentiate it from British Honduras, which became the modern-day state of Belize...

 to the east. Its eastern-most region lies on the coast of the Gulf of Fonseca
Gulf of Fonseca
The Gulf of Fonseca , part of the Pacific Ocean, is a gulf in Central America, bordering El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua.-History:Fonseca Bay was discovered in 1522 by Gil Gonzalez de Avila, and named by him after his patron, Archbishop Juan Fonseca, the implacable enemy of Columbus.In 1849, E. G...

, opposite Nicaragua
Nicaragua
Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The country is situated between 11 and 14 degrees north of the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere, which places it entirely within the tropics. The Pacific Ocean...

. As of 2009, El Salvador had a population of approximately 5,744,113 people, composed predominantly of Mestizo
Mestizo
Mestizo is a term traditionally used in Latin America, Philippines and Spain for people of mixed European and Native American heritage or descent...

s (mixed biracials of Native American
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

/European ancestry) and White
White Latin American
White Latin Americans are the people of Latin America who are white in the racial classification systems used in individual Latin American countries. Persons who are classified as White in one Latin American country may be classified differently in another country...

s/Caucasians.

The colón
Salvadoran colón
The colón was the currency of El Salvador between 1892 and 2001, until it was substituted by the U.S. Dollar. It was subdivided into 100 centavos and its ISO 4217 code was SVC. The plural is colones in Spanish and was named after Christopher Columbus, known as Cristóbal Colón in Spanish.The symbol...

 was the official currency of El Salvador from 1892 to 2001, when it adopted the U.S. Dollar. In 2010 El Salvador ranked in the top 10 among Latin American countries in terms of the Human Development Index and in the top 3 in Central America (behind Costa Rica and Panama); because of this, the country is currently undergoing rapid industrialization.

El Salvador was explored and settled by the Spanish in the 16th century and remained a territory of Spain until 1821, when it joined Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua in a union named the Federal Republic of Central America
Federal Republic of Central America
The Federal Republic of Central America, known as the United Provinces of Central America in its first year of creation, was a sovereign state in Central America, which consisted of the territories of the former Captaincy General of Guatemala of New Spain...

. When this union dissolved in 1841, El Salvador maintained its own government until it joined Honduras and Nicaragua in 1896 to form the Greater Republic of Central America, which later dissolved in 1898. El Salvador's origins of human civilization date back to the Pipil people of Cuzcatlán, which means The Place of Precious Diamonds and Jewels. The people of El Salvador are variably referred to as Salvadoran or Salvadorian, while the term Cuzcatleco is commonly used to identify someone of Salvadoran heritage.

History

Pre-Columbian

In pre-Columbian times the territory was inhabited by various Native American peoples, including the Pipil, a Nahuatl-speaking population that occupied the central and western regions of the territory, and the Lenca, who settled in the east of the country. The larger domain until the Spanish conquest of the kingdom was Cuzcatlán. The Mayan civilization  which inhabited El Salvador has left ruins such as those at Tazumal, Joya De Ceren, San Andres, Casa Blanca, Cihuatan, and Chalchuapa.

Discovery

In 1520 the indigenous population of the territory had been reduced by 80% due to the smallpox epidemic that affected the Mesoamerican area. The Spanish Admiral Andrés Niño led an expedition to Central America and disembarked on Meanguera island, which he named Petronila, in the Gulf of Fonseca
Gulf of Fonseca
The Gulf of Fonseca , part of the Pacific Ocean, is a gulf in Central America, bordering El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua.-History:Fonseca Bay was discovered in 1522 by Gil Gonzalez de Avila, and named by him after his patron, Archbishop Juan Fonseca, the implacable enemy of Columbus.In 1849, E. G...

, on May 31, 1522. Thereafter he discovered Jiquilisco Bay
Jiquilisco Bay
Jiquilisco Bay is a bay off the southern coast of El Salvador, in the Usulután Department, at ....

 on the mouth of Lempa River
Lempa River
The Lempa River is a 422 km long river in Central America. Its sources are located in between the Sierra Madre and the Sierra del Merendón in southern Guatemala, near the town of Olopa. In Guatemala the river is called Río Olopa and flows southwards for 30.4 km before entering Honduras and...

. This was the first known visit by Spaniards to what is now Salvadoran territory.

Conquest of Cuzcatlán

The Spanish Conquistadors led by Pedro de Quintanilla and his brother Gonzalo arrived between 1524 and 1525 from the area comprising the present Republic of Guatemala, after participating in the conquest of Mexico and crossing the Rio Paz (Peace River) into what is now the Republic of El Salvador. The Pipil had no treasure but held land with rich and fertile soil, good for farming. The Spaniards were disappointed not to find gold or jewels in El Salvador as they had in other places like Guatemala or Mexico, but recognized the richness of the verdant land's volcanic soil.

Pedro de Alvarado led the first incursion by Spanish forces to extend their dominion to the nation of Cuzcatlán (El Salvador), in June 1524. On June 8, 1524, the conquerors arrived in the neighborhood of Acajutla
Acajutla
Acajutla is a seaport and municipality in Sonsonate Department, El Salvador. The town is located at on the Pacific Coast of Central America and is El Salvador's principal seaport from which a large portion of the nation's exports of coffee, sugar, and balsam are shipped. As a municipality,...

 at a village called Acaxual. There, according to records,
a battle ensued between the opposing armies, with the Pipils wearing cotton armor (of three fingers' thickness according to Alvarado) and carrying long lances. This circumstance would be crucial in the progression of the battle. Alvarado approached the Pipil lines with his archers' showers of crossbow arrows, but the natives did not retreat. The conquistador noticed the proximity of a nearby hill and knew that it could be a convenient hiding place for his opponents. Alvarado pretended that his army had given up the battle and had retreated. The Pipils then suddenly rushed the invaders giving Alvarado an opportunity to inflict massive losses. The Pipils that fell to the ground could not get back on their feet, hindered by the weight of their cotton armor, which enabled the Spanish to slaughter them.

In the words of Alvarado: "...the destruction was so great that in just a short time there were none which were left alive...". However, Alvarado's army were not completely unscathed. In the battle Alvarado himself was struck by a sling shot to his thigh which fractured his femur bone. According to local tradition the stone that hit the conquistador was hurled by a Pipil "Tatoni" (a prince), called Atonal. The resultant infection lasted about eight months and left Alvarado partially crippled. In spite of this wound, he continued the conquest campaign with relish.

The Spanish efforts were firmly resisted by the indigenous people, including the Pipil and their Mayan speaking neighbors. Despite Alvarado's initial success in the Battle of Acajutla
Battle of Acajutla
The Battle of Acajutla was a battle in 1524 between the Spanish conquistador Pedro de Alvarado and a battalion of Pipiles, in the neighborhoods of present day Acajutla, near the coast of El Salvador.- Antecedents :...

, the people of Cuzcatlán, who according to tradition were led by a warlord called Atlacatl
Atlacatl
Atlacatl is reputed to have been the name of the last ruler of a polity which was based around the center of Cuzcatlán, in the southwestern periphery of Mesoamerica , at the time of the Spanish conquest....

, defeated the Spaniards and forced them to withdraw to Guatemala. There Pedro de Alvarado was again wounded, this time on his left thigh, which left him handicapped for the rest of his life. He abandoned the war and appointed his brother, Gonzalo de Alvarado
Gonzalo de Alvarado
Gonzalo de Alvarado was the name of two Spanish conquistadors, both related to Pedro de Alvarado and participating in the conquest of Mexico and Central America...

, to continue the task. Two subsequent expeditions were required (the first in 1525, followed by a smaller group in 1528) to bring the Pipil under Spanish control. In 1525 the conquest of Cuzcatlán was completed and the city of San Salvador
San Salvador
The city of San Salvador the capital and largest city of El Salvador, which has been designated a Gamma World City. Its complete name is La Ciudad de Gran San Salvador...

 was established. They faced much resistance from the Pipils and were not able to reach eastern El Salvador, the area of the Lencas.

Finally, with reinforcements, the Spanish established the garrison town of San Miguel
San Miguel, El Salvador
San Miguel is the fourth most populous city in El Salvador after Santa Ana and Soyapango and the second most important after San Salvador. It is located 138 km east of the capital, San Salvador. It is also the capital of the department of San Miguel and a municipality...

, headed by Luis de Moscoso, explorer and conquistador, in 1526. A Maya-Lenca woman, crown Princess Antu Silan Ulap I, daughter of Asisilcan Nachan I and Lady Omomatku, Monarch of the Lencas, organized resistance to the domination of the gold- and profit-hungry Conquistadors. The Lenca kingdom was alarmed by de Moscoso's invasion, and Antu Silan dealt with it by going from village to village, uniting all the Lenca towns in present day El Salvador and Honduras against the Spaniards. Through surprise attacks and their overwhelming numbers they were able to drive the Spanish out of San Miguel and destroy the garrison.

For ten years, the Lencas prevented the Spanish from building a permanent settlement. Then the Spanish returned with more soldiers, including about 2,000 forced conscripts from indigenous communities in Mexico and Guatemala. They pursued the Lenca leaders further up into the mountains of Intibucá. Antu Silan Ulap continued leading the united forces until, late in pregnancy, she slipped out of the conflicted area to a safe haven, Tihuilotal, to give birth to twins, a girl and a boy. Their father was Prince Salaiki Kanul from Sesori. The daughter became Atonim Silan I – she and her twin and another brother lived in the mountains near the lake Olomega and Maquigue – in this way they escaped the Spanish and their allies who were hunting them. Tihuilotal is a little southwest of the present city of La Unión, near the source of the sacred Managuara River.

Antu Silan Ulap eventually handed over control of the Lenca resistance to Lempira (also called Empira). Lempira was noteworthy among indigenous leaders in that he mocked the Spanish by wearing their clothes after capturing them and he used their weapons, captured in battle. Lempira fought in command of thousands of Lenca forces for six more years in El Salvador and Honduras until finally he was killed in battle and the remaining Lenca forces retreated into the hills. The Spanish were then able to rebuild their garrison town of San Miguel in 1537.

Spanish rule/Colony and Independence

In the early sixteenth century, the Spanish conquistador
Conquistador
Conquistadors were Spanish soldiers, explorers, and adventurers who brought much of the Americas under the control of Spain in the 15th to 16th centuries, following Europe's discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus in 1492...

s ventured into ports to extend their dominion to the area. They called the land "" ("Province of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World"), which was subsequently abbreviated to " (The Savior)".

During the colonial period, El Salvador was part of the Captaincy General of Guatemala, created as an administrative division of the Spanish Empire also known as the Kingdom of Guatemala (Spanish: Reino de Guatemala). The Salvadoran territory was administered as the Mayor of Sonsonate, with San Salvador being established as an intendancia in 1786.

Towards the end of 1811, a combination of internal and external factors motivated Central American elites to attempt to gain independence from the Spanish Crown. The most important internal factors were the desire of local elites to control the country's affairs free of involvement from Spanish authorities, and the Creoles' long-standing aspiration for independence. The main external factors motivating the independence movement were the success of the French
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

 and American
American Revolution
The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America...

 revolutions in the eighteenth century, and the weakening of the Spanish Crown's military power as a result of the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

, with the resulting inability to control its colonies effectively.

On 5 November 1811, Salvadoran priest José Matías Delgado
José Matías Delgado
José Matías Delgado y León was a Salvadoran priest and doctor known as El Padre de la Patria Salvadoreña...

, rang the bells of Iglesia La Merced in San Salvador, calling for insurrection and launching the 1811 Independence Movement
1811 Independence Movement
The 1811 Independence Movement known in El Salvador as the Primer grito de independencia was the first of a series of revolts in Central America in El Salvador against Spanish colonialism and dependency on the Captaincy General of Guatemala.- Antecedents :At the beginning of the 19th century,...

. This insurrection was suppressed and many of its leaders were arrested and served sentences in jail. Another insurrection was launched in 1814, and again it was suppressed. Finally, on September 15, 1821, in light of unrest in Guatemala, Spanish authorities capitulated and signed the 'Acta de Independencia' (Deed of Independence) which released all of the Captaincy of Guatemala (comprising current territories of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica and the Mexican state of Chiapas
Chiapas
Chiapas officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Chiapas is one of the 31 states that, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 118 municipalities and its capital city is Tuxtla Gutierrez. Other important cites in Chiapas include San Cristóbal de las...

) from Spanish rule and declared its Independence.

In early 1822, the authorities of the newly independent Central American provinces, meeting in Guatemala City, voted to join the newly constituted First Mexican Empire
First Mexican Empire
The Mexican Empire was the official name of independent Mexico under a monarchical regime from 1821 to 1823. The territory of the Mexican Empire included the continental intendencies and provinces of New Spain proper...

 under Agustín de Iturbide
Agustín de Iturbide
Agustín Cosme Damián de Iturbide y Aramburu , also known as Augustine I of Mexico, was a Mexican army general who built a successful political and military coalition that was able to march into Mexico City on 27 September 1821, decisively ending the Mexican War of Independence...

. El Salvador resisted, insisting on autonomy for the Central American countries. A Mexican military detachment marched to San Salvador
San Salvador
The city of San Salvador the capital and largest city of El Salvador, which has been designated a Gamma World City. Its complete name is La Ciudad de Gran San Salvador...

 and suppressed dissent, but with the fall of Iturbide on 19 March 1823, the army decamped back to Mexico. Shortly thereafter, the authorities of the provinces revoked the vote for joining Mexico, deciding instead to form a federal union of the five remaining provinces (Chiapas permanently joined Mexico at this juncture).

The enormous profits that coffee
Coffee
Coffee is a brewed beverage with a dark,init brooo acidic flavor prepared from the roasted seeds of the coffee plant, colloquially called coffee beans. The beans are found in coffee cherries, which grow on trees cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in equatorial Latin America, Southeast Asia,...

 yielded as a monoculture export served as an impetus for the concentration of land in the hands of an oligarchy
Oligarchy
Oligarchy is a form of power structure in which power effectively rests with an elite class distinguished by royalty, wealth, family ties, commercial, and/or military legitimacy...

 of just a few families. A succession of president
President
A president is a leader of an organization, company, trade union, university, or country.Etymologically, a president is one who presides, who sits in leadership...

s from the ranks of the Salvadoran oligarchy, nominally both conservative
Conservatism
Conservatism is a political and social philosophy that promotes the maintenance of traditional institutions and supports, at the most, minimal and gradual change in society. Some conservatives seek to preserve things as they are, emphasizing stability and continuity, while others oppose modernism...

 and liberal
Liberalism
Liberalism is the belief in the importance of liberty and equal rights. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally, liberals support ideas such as constitutionalism, liberal democracy, free and fair elections, human rights,...

, throughout the last half of the nineteenth century generally agreed on the promotion of coffee as the predominant cash crop
Cash crop
In agriculture, a cash crop is a crop which is grown for profit.The term is used to differentiate from subsistence crops, which are those fed to the producer's own livestock or grown as food for the producer's family...

, on the development of infrastructure (railroads and port facilities) primarily in support of the coffee trade, on the elimination of communal landholdings to facilitate further coffee production, on the passage of anti-vagrancy
Vagrancy (people)
A vagrant is a person in poverty, who wanders from place to place without a home or regular employment or income.-Definition:A vagrant is "a person without a settled home or regular work who wanders from place to place and lives by begging;" vagrancy is the condition of such persons.-History:In...

 laws to ensure that displaced campesinos
Peasant
A peasant is an agricultural worker who generally tend to be poor and homeless-Etymology:The word is derived from 15th century French païsant meaning one from the pays, or countryside, ultimately from the Latin pagus, or outlying administrative district.- Position in society :Peasants typically...

 and other rural residents provided sufficient labor for the coffee fincas (plantation
Plantation
A plantation is a long artificially established forest, farm or estate, where crops are grown for sale, often in distant markets rather than for local on-site consumption...

s), and on the suppression of rural discontent. In 1912, the national guard was created as a rural police force.

20th century

The economy was based on coffee growing after the mid-19th century and, as the world market for indigo withered away, prospered or suffered as the world coffee price fluctuated. El Salvador president Tomas Regalado came to power by force in 1898 and his regime lasted until 1903. He reinitiated designating presidential successors. Up until 1913 El Salvador had been politically stable, but there was popular discontent as well, president Araujo was killed and there are many hypotheses for his murder.

Araujo was followed by the Melendez-Quinonez dynasty that lasted from 1913 to 1927. Pio Romero Bosque
Pío Romero Bosque
Pío Romero Bosque was President of El Salvador 1 March 1927 - 1 March 1931.He was one of the few if not the only president that found a balance in the government. This balance is often known as the "natural mix", a balance between concession and repression in a country...

, ex-Minister of the Government, succeeded president Jorge Melendez
Jorge Meléndez
Jorge Meléndez Ramírez was born in San Salvador, El Salvador to Rafael Meléndez and Mercedes Ramírez. His wife was Tula Mazzini, and they had three children: Jorge , María de los Angeles, and Ricardo.He served as President of El Salvador from 1 March 1919 to 1 March 1923....

 and in 1930 he announced free elections in which Ing. Arturo Araujo
Arturo Araujo
Arturo Araujo was the president of El Salvador from March 1, 1931 to December 2, 1931. He was overthrown in a military coup led by junior officers, and was forced to flee the country for Guatemala...

 came to power on March 1, 1931. His government only lasted nine months. His Labor Party lacked political and government experience and many Labor party members used government offices inefficiently.

In that year, Farabundo Martí
Farabundo Martí
Augustín Farabundo Martí Rodríguez was a social activist and a revolutionary leader in El Salvador.-Early life:Martí was born in Teotepeque, a farming community located in Departamento de La Libertad, El Salvador...

 came back from exile that was ordered by Romero Bosque, sending him to Washington, D.C. and spending time with U.S. President Herbert Hoover
Herbert Hoover
Herbert Clark Hoover was the 31st President of the United States . Hoover was originally a professional mining engineer and author. As the United States Secretary of Commerce in the 1920s under Presidents Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge, he promoted partnerships between government and business...

. He was visited by some local leftists. President Romero Bosque sent him away before the upcoming 1930 presidential elections for his communist activities. President Araujo faced popular discontent as people expected economic reforms and land. Demonstrations started since the first week of his government in front of the National Palace. His Minister of War was General Maximiliano Hernández Martínez
Maximiliano Hernández Martínez
Maximiliano Hernández Martínez was the President of El Salvador from 1931 to 1944...

 and his National Police Director Rochac, the president's brother-in-law.

A coup d'état was organized by junior officers and the first strike started in the First Regiment of Infantry across from the National Palace in downtown San Salvador and only the First Regiment of Calvary and the National Police was loyal to the president and defended him (the National Police had been paid its payroll), but later that night on December 1931, after hours of military fight and outnumbered surrendered to the military revolution.

The Directorate (composed of officers) hid behind a shadowy figure, whose name (as told by Thomas Anderson in his book Matanza) was Rodolfo Duke, a rich man and also General Martínez. The causes of the revolt were mainly supposed to be due to the discontent of the army for not being paid by President Araujo for some months. Araujo left the National Palace and later tried to organize to defeat the revolt, but was unable.

The U.S. Minister in El Salvador met with the Directorate and later recognized the government of Vice President Martínez who agreed to have later presidential elections (Martínez resigned in 1934 six months before the presidential elections to be able to run for the presidency and then as the only candidate won the election ruling from 1935 to 1939 and then 1939–1943 and finally started his 4th term in 1944 but resigned in May after the General strike; Martínez said he was going to respect the Constitution which said he could not be reelected, but he did not).

From December 1931, the year of the coup in which Martínez came to power, there was brutal suppression of rural resistance. The most notable event was the February 1932 Salvadoran peasant uprising, led by Farabundo Martí
Farabundo Martí
Augustín Farabundo Martí Rodríguez was a social activist and a revolutionary leader in El Salvador.-Early life:Martí was born in Teotepeque, a farming community located in Departamento de La Libertad, El Salvador...

 and with leaders like Abel Cuenca, and other academic people like Alfonso Luna and Mario Zapata. Only Abel Cuenca survived, the other freedom fighters were killed by the government. It was later referred to as La Matanza
1932 Salvadoran peasant uprising
The peasant uprising of 1932, also known as La matanza , was a brief, peasant-led rebellion that occurred on January 22 of that year in the western departments of El Salvador...

 (the massacre), because President Martinez massacred tens of thousands of peasants.

Historically, high Salvadoran population density has contributed to tensions with neighboring Honduras
Honduras
Honduras is a republic in Central America. It was previously known as Spanish Honduras to differentiate it from British Honduras, which became the modern-day state of Belize...

, as land-poor Salvadorans emigrated to less densely populated Honduras and established themselves as squatters on unused or underused land. This phenomenon was a major cause of the 1969 Football War
Football War
The Football War , also known as the Soccer War or 100 hour War, was a four-day war fought by El Salvador and Honduras in 1969. It was caused by political conflicts between Hondurans and Salvadorans, namely issues concerning immigration from El Salvador to Honduras...

 between El Salvador and Honduras. As many as 130,000 Salvadorans had been forcibly expelled or had fled from Honduras.

The PDC and the PCN parties

In 1960, two political parties were born and are still active in the El Salvador politics; the Christian Democratic Party (PDC) and the National Conciliation Party (PCN). Both share ideals, but one represents the middle class and the latter the Army.

Opposition leader José Napoleón Duarte
José Napoleón Duarte
José Napoleón Duarte Fuentes was a Salvadoran political figure who, from March 3, 1980, to 1982, led the civil-military Revolutionary Government Junta that took power in a 1979 coup d'état...

 from the PDC
Christian Democratic Party (El Salvador)
The Christian Democratic Party is a political party in El Salvador.In the legislative elections, held on 16 March 2003, the party won 7.3% of the popular vote and 5 out of 84 seats in the Legislative Assembly. In the presidential election of 21 March 2004, the PDC supported Héctor Silva Argüello...

 was the mayor of San Salvador from 1964 to 1970, winning three elections during the Jose Adalberto Rivera regime (this president allowed free elections for mayors and the National Assembly). Duarte later ran for president but was defeated in the 1972 presidential elections with UNO (National Opposition Union). The official PCN was declared winner with ex-Minister of Interior Col. Arturo Armando Molina. Duarte, at some officers' request, supported a revolt for the election fraud, but was captured, tortured and later exiled. Duarte came back to the country in 1979 to enter politics after working in Venezuela projects as an engineer.

The October 1979 coup d'état

In October 1979, a coup d'état
Coup d'état
A coup d'état state, literally: strike/blow of state)—also known as a coup, putsch, and overthrow—is the sudden, extrajudicial deposition of a government, usually by a small group of the existing state establishment—typically the military—to replace the deposed government with another body; either...

 brought the Revolutionary Government Junta of El Salvador
Revolutionary Government Junta of El Salvador
The Revolutionary Government ruled El Salvador between October 15, 1979 and May 2, 1982. It contained two colonels, Adolfo Arnaldo Majano Ramos and Jaime Abdul Gutiérrez Avendaño, and three civilians, Guillermo Ungo, Mario Antonio Andino and Román Mayorga Quirós.The JRG ousted President Carlos...

 to power. It nationalized many private companies and took over much privately owned land. The purpose of this new junta was to stop the revolutionary movement already underway because of Duarte's stolen election. Nevertheless, the oligarchy opposed agrarian reform and a junta formed with young liberal elements from the Army such as General Majano and General Gutierrez as well as progressives such as Ungo and Alvarez.

Owing to the pressure of the staunch oligarchy and the inability to control the Army in repressing its own people because they were fighting for their right to unionize, agrarian reform, better wages, health, freedom of expression, this Junta was dissolved. In the meantime the guerrilla movement was spreading in all sectors of the Salvadoran society. Middle and high school students were organized in MERS (Movimiento Estudiantil Revolucionario de Secundaria, Revolutionary Movement of Secondary Students); college students were involved with AGEUS (Asociacion de Estudiantes Universitarios Salvadorenos; Association of Salvadoran College Students); workers were organized in BPR (Bloque Popular Revolucionario, Popular Revolutionary Block).

The U.S. supported and financed the creation of a second Junta to change the political environment and stop the spread of a leftist insurrection. Napoleon Duarte was recalled from his exile in Venezuela to head this new Junta. However, a revolution was already underway and his new role as head of the Junta was seen as opportunistic by the general population. He was unable to influence the outcome of the insurrection movement and this resulted in the Salvadoran Civil War (1980–1992).

On January 16, 1992 the government of El Salvador represented by president Alfredo Cristiani and the guerrillas represented by the commanders of the five guerrilla groups such as Shafick Handal, Joaquin Villalobos, Salvador Sánchez Ceren, Francisco Jovel and Eduardo Sancho signed the Peace Agreements ending a 12-years civil war in the Chapultepec Castle in Mexico. The international community was present, and there was wide admiration because after the signature of the president he stood up and shook hands with all the now ex-guerrilla commanders. The Peace Agreements included reduction of the Army, the dissolution of the National Police, Treasury Police, National Guard, and the Civilian Defense, a paramilitary group. The organization of a new Civil Police and the end of impunity with which the government would leave recommendation to a Commission of the Truth.

End of the 20th century

From 1989 until 2004, Salvadorans favored the Nationalist Republican Alliance
Nationalist Republican Alliance
The Nationalist Republican Alliance is a conservative political party in El Salvador. It was founded on September 30, 1981, by Roberto D'Aubuisson, in order to oppose the reformist military junta that was ruling El Salvador at the time...

 (ARENA) party, voting in ARENA presidents in every election (Alfredo Cristiani
Alfredo Cristiani
Alfredo Félix Cristiani Burkard, popularly known as Alfredo Cristiani was President of El Salvador from 1989 to 1994....

, Armando Calderón Sol
Armando Calderón Sol
Armando Calderón Sol was President of El Salvador from June 1, 1994 to June 1, 1999, representing the Nationalist Republican Alliance .-Biography:Armando Calderón Sol was born in San Salvador, on June 24, 1948....

, Francisco Flores Pérez
Francisco Flores Pérez
Francisco Guillermo Flores Pérez is an ex president of El Salvador. He led the country from June 1 1999 until June 1 2004 as a member of the conservative Nationalist Republican Alliance .-Background:...

, Antonio Saca
Antonio Saca
Elías Antonio Saca González is a Salvadoran politician and was the President of El Salvador. He was elected President in 2004 to serve a five-year term that ended in 2009....

) until 2009, when Mauricio Funes
Mauricio Funes
Carlos Mauricio Funes Cartagena is the President of El Salvador. He won the 2009 presidential election as the candidate of the left-wing Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front political party and took office on 1 June 2009.-Biography:Funes is married to Dr. Vanada Pignado, who was involved in...

 was elected president from the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front
Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front
The Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front is, since 1992, a left-wing political party in El Salvador and formerly a coalition of five revolutionary guerrilla organizations...

 (FLMN) party.

Economic reforms since the early 1990s have brought major benefits in terms of improved social conditions, diversification of its export sector, and access to international financial markets at investment grade level, while crime remains a major problem for the investment climate. This all ended in 2001 and support for ARENA weakened. There is internal turmoil in the ARENA party while the FMLN party is growing and united.

21st century

The unsuccessful attempts of the left-wing party to win presidential elections led to its selection of a journalist rather than a former guerrilla leader as a candidate. On March 15, 2009, Mauricio Funes
Mauricio Funes
Carlos Mauricio Funes Cartagena is the President of El Salvador. He won the 2009 presidential election as the candidate of the left-wing Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front political party and took office on 1 June 2009.-Biography:Funes is married to Dr. Vanada Pignado, who was involved in...

, a television figure, became the first president from the FMLN
Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front
The Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front is, since 1992, a left-wing political party in El Salvador and formerly a coalition of five revolutionary guerrilla organizations...

 party. He was inaugurated on June 1, 2009. One focus of the Funes government has been revealing the alleged corruption from the past government.

Geography

El Salvador is located in Central America. It has a total area of 8123 square miles (21,038.5 km²) (about the size of Massachusetts
Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

 or Wales
Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

). It is the smallest country in continental America and is affectionately called ("Pulgarcito
Pulgarcito
Pulgarcito was a weekly illustrated magazine of Spain that was published by Editorial Bruguera from June 1921 to 1986....

 de America"
), the "Tom Thumb
Tom Thumb
Tom Thumb is a character of English folklore. The History of Tom Thumb was published in 1621, and has the distinction of being the first fairy tale printed in English. Tom is no bigger than his father's thumb, and his adventures include being swallowed by a cow, tangling with giants, and becoming a...

 of the Americas". It has 123.6 square miles (320.1 km²) of water within its borders. It lies between latitudes 13°
13th parallel north
The 13th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 13 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Africa, Asia, the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, Central America, the Caribbean and the Atlantic Ocean....

 and 15°N
15th parallel north
The 15th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 15 degrees north of the Earth's equatorial plane. It crosses Africa, Asia, the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, Central America, the Caribbean and the Atlantic Ocean....

, and longitudes 87°
87th meridian west
The meridian 87° west of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, North America, the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, Central America, the Pacific Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

 and 91°W
91st meridian west
The meridian 91° west of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, North America, the Gulf of Mexico, Central America, the Pacific Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole....

.

Several small rivers flow through El Salvador into the Pacific Ocean, including the Goascorán
Goascorán River
The Goascorán River or Río Goascorán is a river in Honduras and El Salvador that divides the two countries.-References:...

, Jiboa, Torola, Paz
Paz River
The Río Paz is a river in southern Guatemala. Its sources are located in the Quezalapa mountains in the north of Jutiapa. From there it flows in a south-westerly direction and marks the border with El Salvador for most of its way before reaching the Pacific Ocean at .The Paz River is 134 km...

 and the Río Grande de San Miguel
Río Grande de San Miguel
Río Grande de San Miguel is a river in southern El Salvador. It empties to the Pacific Ocean in the Usulután Department at ....

. Only the largest river, the Lempa River
Lempa River
The Lempa River is a 422 km long river in Central America. Its sources are located in between the Sierra Madre and the Sierra del Merendón in southern Guatemala, near the town of Olopa. In Guatemala the river is called Río Olopa and flows southwards for 30.4 km before entering Honduras and...

, flowing from Guatemala
Guatemala
Guatemala is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Belize to the northeast, the Caribbean to the east, and Honduras and El Salvador to the southeast...

 and Honduras
Honduras
Honduras is a republic in Central America. It was previously known as Spanish Honduras to differentiate it from British Honduras, which became the modern-day state of Belize...

 across El Salvador to the ocean, is navigatable for commercial traffic.

Volcanic craters enclose lakes, the most important of which are Lake Ilopango
Lake Ilopango
Lake Ilopango is a crater lake which fills a scenic 8 x 11 km volcanic caldera in central El Salvador. The caldera, which contains the second largest lake in the country and is located immediately east of the capital city, San Salvador, has a scalloped to high rim.-Eruptive History:Four...

 (70 km²/27 sq mi) and Lake Coatepeque (26 km²/10 sq mi). Lake Güija
Lake Güija
Lake Güija is a lake in Central America. The lake is situated on the border between Guatemala and El Salvador and has an area of 45 km², of which approximately 32 km² lies in El Salvador....

 is El Salvador's largest natural lake (44 km²/17 sq mi). Several artificial lakes were created by the damming of the Lempa, the largest of which is Embalse Cerrón Grande
Cerrón Grande Hydroelectric Dam
The Cerrón Grande Hydroelectric Dam spans the Lempa River 78 km north of San Salvador in the municipalities of Potonico, and Jutiapa in El Salvador....

 (135 km²).

El Salvador shares borders with Guatemala and Honduras. It is the only Central American country that does not have a Caribbean coastline. The highest point in the country is Cerro El Pital
Cerro El Pital
Cerro El Pital is a mountain in Central America, on the border of El Salvador and Honduras. It is located from the town of La Palma and at a height of it is the highest point of the Salvadoran territory...

 at 8,957 feet (2,730 m), which shares a border with Honduras
Honduras
Honduras is a republic in Central America. It was previously known as Spanish Honduras to differentiate it from British Honduras, which became the modern-day state of Belize...

.

Climate

El Salvador has a tropical climate
Tropical climate
A tropical climate is a climate of the tropics. In the Köppen climate classification it is a non-arid climate in which all twelve months have mean temperatures above...

 with pronounced wet and dry seasons. Temperatures vary primarily with elevation and show little seasonal change. The Pacific lowlands are uniformly hot; the central plateau and mountain areas are more moderate. The rainy season extends from May to October, this time of year is referred to as invierno or winter. Almost all the annual rainfall occurs during this time, and yearly totals, particularly on southern-facing mountain slopes, can be as high as 2170 millimetres (85.4 in). The best time to visit El Salvador would be at the beginning or end of the dry season. Protected areas and the central plateau receive less, although still significant, amounts. Rainfall during this season generally comes from low pressure over the Pacific and usually falls in heavy afternoon thunderstorms. Hurricanes occasionally form in the Pacific with the notable exception of Hurricane Mitch
Hurricane Mitch
Hurricane Mitch was the most powerful hurricane and the most destructive of the 1998 Atlantic hurricane season, with maximum sustained winds of 180 mph . The storm was the thirteenth tropical storm, ninth hurricane, and third major hurricane of the season. Along with Hurricane Georges, Mitch...

, which formed in the Atlantic and crossed Central America.

From November through April, the northeast trade winds control weather patterns; this time of year is referred to as verano, or summer. During these months, air flowing from the Caribbean has lost most of the precipitation while passing over the mountains in Honduras
Honduras
Honduras is a republic in Central America. It was previously known as Spanish Honduras to differentiate it from British Honduras, which became the modern-day state of Belize...

. By the time this air reaches El Salvador, it is dry, hot, and hazy. However, in the extreme northeastern part of the country, near Cerro El Pital
Cerro El Pital
Cerro El Pital is a mountain in Central America, on the border of El Salvador and Honduras. It is located from the town of La Palma and at a height of it is the highest point of the Salvadoran territory...

 snow is know to fall during this time as well as during the winter of course due to a very high elevation (it is often referred to as the coldest place in the country). During El Salvador's summer temperatures are warm to hot but dry (excluding the northern higher mountain ranges, where temperatures are chilly).

Biodiversity and endangered species

Globally there are eight species of sea turtles, six nests on the coast of Central America and four in the Salvadoran coast: the leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata), green sea turtle (Chelonia agasizzii) and the olive ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea).

Of these four the most common is the olive ridley, followed by the brown (black). The other two species are much more difficult to find as they are critically endangered (hawksbill and leatherback), while the olive ridley and brown (black), are in danger of extinction.

Recent conservation efforts provide hope for the future of the country's biological diversity. In 1997 the government established the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources. A general environmental framework law was approved by the National Assembly in 1999. Specific legislation to protect wildlife is still pending.

In addition, a number of non-governmental organizations are doing important work to safeguard some of the country's most important forested areas. Foremost among these is SalvaNatura which manages El Impossible, the country's largest national park, under an agreement with El Salvador's environmental authorities.

Despite these efforts much remains to be done.

In El salvador it is estimated that there are 500 species of birds, 1,000 species of butterflies, 400 species of orchids, 800 species of trees, and 800 species of marine fish.

Natural disasters

El Salvador lies along the Pacific Ring of Fire
Pacific Ring of Fire
The Pacific Ring of Fire is an area where large numbers of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur in the basin of the Pacific Ocean. In a horseshoe shape, it is associated with a nearly continuous series of oceanic trenches, volcanic arcs, and volcanic belts and/or plate movements...

, and is thus subject to significant tectonic activity, including frequent earthquake
Earthquake
An earthquake is the result of a sudden release of energy in the Earth's crust that creates seismic waves. The seismicity, seismism or seismic activity of an area refers to the frequency, type and size of earthquakes experienced over a period of time...

s and volcanic
Volcano
2. Bedrock3. Conduit 4. Base5. Sill6. Dike7. Layers of ash emitted by the volcano8. Flank| 9. Layers of lava emitted by the volcano10. Throat11. Parasitic cone12. Lava flow13. Vent14. Crater15...

 activity. Recent examples include the earthquake on January 13, 2001, that measured 7.7 on the Richter scale
Richter magnitude scale
The expression Richter magnitude scale refers to a number of ways to assign a single number to quantify the energy contained in an earthquake....

 and caused a landslide
Landslide
A landslide or landslip is a geological phenomenon which includes a wide range of ground movement, such as rockfalls, deep failure of slopes and shallow debris flows, which can occur in offshore, coastal and onshore environments...

 that killed more than 800 people; and another earthquake only a month after the first one, on February 13, 2001, that killed 255 people and damaged about 20% of the nation's housing. Luckily, many families were able to find safety from the landslides caused by the earthquake.

The San Salvador area has been hit by earthquakes in 1576, 1659, 1798, 1839, 1854, 1873, 1880, 1917, 1919, 1965, 1986, 2001 and 2005. The 5.7 Mw
Moment magnitude scale
The moment magnitude scale is used by seismologists to measure the size of earthquakes in terms of the energy released. The magnitude is based on the seismic moment of the earthquake, which is equal to the rigidity of the Earth multiplied by the average amount of slip on the fault and the size of...

-earthquake of 1986 resulted in 1,500 deaths, 10,000 injuries, and 100,000 people left homeless.

El Salvador's most recent destructive volcanic eruption took place on October 1, 2005, when the Santa Ana Volcano
Santa Ana Volcano
The Santa Ana Volcano or Ilamatepec is a large stratovolcano located in the Santa Ana department of El Salvador. At 2,381 metres above sea level, it is the highest volcano in the country. It is located immediately west of Coatepeque Caldera....

 spewed up a cloud of ash, hot mud and rocks, which fell on nearby villages and caused two deaths. The most severe volcanic eruption in this area occurred in the 5th century AD when the Ilopango volcano erupted with a VEI
Volcanic Explosivity Index
The Volcanic Explosivity Index was devised by Chris Newhall of the U.S. Geological Survey and Stephen Self at the University of Hawaii in 1982 to provide a relative measure of the explosiveness of volcanic eruptions....

 strength of 6, producing widespread pyroclastic flow
Pyroclastic flow
A pyroclastic flow is a fast-moving current of superheated gas and rock , which reaches speeds moving away from a volcano of up to 700 km/h . The flows normally hug the ground and travel downhill, or spread laterally under gravity...

s and devastating Mayan cities
Maya civilization
The Maya is a Mesoamerican civilization, noted for the only known fully developed written language of the pre-Columbian Americas, as well as for its art, architecture, and mathematical and astronomical systems. Initially established during the Pre-Classic period The Maya is a Mesoamerican...

.

El Salvador's position on the Pacific Ocean also makes it subject to severe weather conditions, including heavy rainstorms and severe drought
Drought
A drought is an extended period of months or years when a region notes a deficiency in its water supply. Generally, this occurs when a region receives consistently below average precipitation. It can have a substantial impact on the ecosystem and agriculture of the affected region...

s, both of which may be made more extreme by the El Niño and La Niña
La Niña
La Niña is a coupled ocean-atmosphere phenomenon that is the counterpart of El Niño as part of the broader El Niño-Southern Oscillation climate pattern. During a period of La Niña, the sea surface temperature across the equatorial Eastern Central Pacific Ocean will be lower than normal by 3–5 °C...

 effects. In the summer of 2001, a severe drought destroyed 80% of the country's crops, causing famine
Famine
A famine is a widespread scarcity of food, caused by several factors including crop failure, overpopulation, or government policies. This phenomenon is usually accompanied or followed by regional malnutrition, starvation, epidemic, and increased mortality. Every continent in the world has...

 in the countryside. On October 4, 2005, severe rains resulted in dangerous flooding and landslide
Landslide
A landslide or landslip is a geological phenomenon which includes a wide range of ground movement, such as rockfalls, deep failure of slopes and shallow debris flows, which can occur in offshore, coastal and onshore environments...

s, which caused a minimum of fifty deaths. El Salvador's location in Central America also makes it vulnerable to hurricanes coming off the Caribbean, however this risk is much less than for other Central American countries.

The Santa Ana Volcano
Santa Ana Volcano
The Santa Ana Volcano or Ilamatepec is a large stratovolcano located in the Santa Ana department of El Salvador. At 2,381 metres above sea level, it is the highest volcano in the country. It is located immediately west of Coatepeque Caldera....

 in El Salvador is currently dormant, the last eruptions were in 1904 and 2005. Lago de Coatepeque
Coatepeque Caldera
Coatepeque Caldera also known as Lago De Coatepeque is a volcanic caldera in El Salvador in Central America. The caldera was formed during a series of major rhyolitic explosive eruptions between about 72,000 and 57,000 years ago...

 (one of El Salvador's lakes) was created by water filling the caldera
Caldera
A caldera is a cauldron-like volcanic feature usually formed by the collapse of land following a volcanic eruption, such as the one at Yellowstone National Park in the US. They are sometimes confused with volcanic craters...

 formed after a massive eruption.

The British Imperial College's
Imperial College London
Imperial College London is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom, specialising in science, engineering, business and medicine...

 El Salvador Project
El Salvador Project
The El Salvador Reconstruction and Development Project is a charitable volunteer project from Imperial College London's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering which was launched in reaction to two major earthquakes that struck the country of El Salvador in 2001...

 aims to build earthquake-proof buildings in remote areas of the country.

Government and politics

The 1983 Constitution is the highest legal authority in the country. El Salvador is a democratic and representative, whose three bodies are: the Executive Branch, headed by the President of the Republic who is elected by direct vote and remains in office for five years. He can be elected for only one term. The president has a Cabinet of Minister, whom he appoints, and is also the General Commander of the Armed Forces.

The other entities are the Legislative Branch, called El Salvador's Legislative Assembly (unicameral) of 84 deputies, and the Judiciary, headed by the Supreme Court, which is composed of 15 judges, one of them being elected as President of judiciary.

The Chapultepec Peace Accords (1992) created the new National Civil Police, the Attorney for the Defense of Human Rights and the Supreme Electoral Tribunal. The Peace Accords re-imagined the Frente Farabundo Marti para la Liberacion Nacional (FMLN) as a political party and redefined the role of the army to be for the defense of the sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Accords also removed some security forces who were in command of the army, such as the National Guard, Treasury Police and special battalions that were formed to fight against the insurgency of the 1980s.

The political framework of El Salvador is a presidential
Presidential system
A presidential system is a system of government where an executive branch exists and presides separately from the legislature, to which it is not responsible and which cannot, in normal circumstances, dismiss it....

 representative democratic
Representative democracy
Representative democracy is a form of government founded on the principle of elected individuals representing the people, as opposed to autocracy and direct democracy...

 republic
Republic
A republic is a form of government in which the people, or some significant portion of them, have supreme control over the government and where offices of state are elected or chosen by elected people. In modern times, a common simplified definition of a republic is a government where the head of...

 with a multiform multi-party system. The President of El Salvador
President of El Salvador
This page contains a list of Presidents of El Salvador.-Heads of State of El Salvador within the Federal Republic of Central America :*Pedro Barriere : 21 September 1821 - 28 November 1821*José Matías Delgado : 28 Nov 1821 - 9 February 1823...

, currently Mauricio Funes
Mauricio Funes
Carlos Mauricio Funes Cartagena is the President of El Salvador. He won the 2009 presidential election as the candidate of the left-wing Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front political party and took office on 1 June 2009.-Biography:Funes is married to Dr. Vanada Pignado, who was involved in...

, is both head of state
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

 and head of government
Head of government
Head of government is the chief officer of the executive branch of a government, often presiding over a cabinet. In a parliamentary system, the head of government is often styled prime minister, chief minister, premier, etc...

. Executive power
Executive Power
Executive Power is Vince Flynn's fifth novel, and the fourth to feature Mitch Rapp, an American agent that works for the CIA as an operative for a covert counter terrorism unit called the "Orion Team."-Plot summary:...

 is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government
Government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

 and the Legislative Assembly
Legislative Assembly of El Salvador
The Legislative Assembly is the legislative branch of the government of El Salvador.The Salvadoran legislature is a unicameral body....

. The country also has an independent Judiciary
Judiciary
The judiciary is the system of courts that interprets and applies the law in the name of the state. The judiciary also provides a mechanism for the resolution of disputes...

 and Supreme Court.

Main Political Parties

Although El Salvador has 6 political parties, the main ones, or the one which receive the most votes are the conservative right, ARENA, and the liberal left, FMLN. The GANA, PDC, PCN, and CD have been retired.
El Salvador Political Parties (alphabetical order)>
Acronym Name
ARENA Alianza Republicana Nacionalista
FMLN Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional
GANA Gran Alianza por la Unidad Nacional
Grand Alliance for National Unity
Grand Alliance for National Unity is a political party in El Salvador. The party established itself on 16 January 2010 and was recognized by the Supreme Electoral Court of El Salvador on 19 May of the same year. It is described as a conservative party of the popular right.The majority of party...

PCN Partido de Conciliación Nacional
PDC Partido Demócrata Cristiano

Human rights

Amnesty International
Amnesty International
Amnesty International is an international non-governmental organisation whose stated mission is "to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights, and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated."Following a publication of Peter Benenson's...

 asserts that anti-terrorism laws are misused, allowing the government to detain and harass its political opponents. In addition, Amnesty International has drawn attention to several arrests of police officers for unlawful police killings. Other current issues to gain Amnesty International's attention in the past 10 years include missing children, failure of law enforcement to properly investigate and prosecute crimes against women, and rendering organized labor illegal.

Departments

El Salvador is divided into 14 departments
Departments of El Salvador
||A list of the departments of El Salvador in alphabetical order.Department :# Ahuachapán # Cabañas # Chalatenango # Cuscatlán # La Libertad # La Paz...

 (departamentos), which in turn are subdivided into 262 municipalities
Municipalities of El Salvador
The departments of El Salvador are divided into 262 municipalities or municipios. The municipalities are listed below, by department El Salvador is divided into fourteen administrative divisions called departments, the equivalent of states in the United States. Each department is administered by a...

 (municipios).

Department names and abbreviations for the 14 Salvadoran Departments:
Departments of El Salvador
Western El Salvador
Ahuachapán
Ahuachapán Department
Ahuachapán is a department of El Salvador in the west of the country. The capital is Ahuachapán. In the South it has the Apenca-Ilamatepec Range and the Cerro Grande de Apaneca...

 (Ahuachapán
Ahuachapán
Ahuachapán is a city and municipality and the capital of the Ahuachapán Department in western El Salvador. The municipality including the city covers an area of 244.84 km² and as of 2007 has a population of 110,511 people...

)
Santa Ana
Santa Ana Department
Santa Ana is a department of El Salvador in the northwest of the country. The capital is Santa Ana.- General information :It has 2,023 km² and a population of over 600,000. This department was created on February 8, 1855...

 (Santa Ana
Santa Ana, El Salvador
Santa Ana is the second largest city in El Salvador, located 64 kilometers west of San Salvador, the capital city. Santa Ana has approximately 274,830 inhabitants and serves both as the capital of the department of Santa Ana and...

)
Sonsonate
Sonsonate Department
Sonsonate is a department of El Salvador in the western part of the country. The capital is Sonsonate.The department has a population of over 500,000 and an area of 1,226 km².Created on June 12, 1824...

 (Sonsonate)
Central El Salvador
La Libertad(Santa Tecla
Santa Tecla, El Salvador
Santa Tecla is a municipality in the La Libertad department of El Salvador. It is the capital of the department of La Libertad.The city was named after Saint Thecla who was a saint of the early Christian Church, and a reported follower of Paul of Tarsus in the 1st century AD...

)
Chalatenango
Chalatenango Department
Chalatenango is a department of El Salvador, located in the northwest of the country. The capital is the city of Chalatenango. The Chalatenango Department encompasses 2,017 km² and contains more than 220,000 inhabitants. Las Matras Archaeological Ruins contains the relics of prehistoric...

 (Chalatenango
Chalatenango, Chalatenango
Chalatenango is a town and municipality in the Chalatenango department of El Salvador. It is the capital of the department.The coat of arms is actually the same as the department's, as is the flag....

)
Cuscatlán
Cuscatlán Department
Cuscatlán is a department of El Salvador, located in the center of the country. With a surface area of , it is El Salvador's smallest department. It is inhabited by over 200,000 people. Cuscatlán or Cuzcatlán was the name the original inhabitants of the Western part of the country gave to most of...

 (Cojutepeque
Cojutepeque
Cojutepeque is the capital city of El Salvador's Cuscatlán department. It also serves as the administrative centre for the surrounding municipality of Cojutepeque...

)
San Salvador
San Salvador Department
San Salvador is a department of El Salvador in the west central part of the country. The capital is San Salvador, which is also the national capital. The department has North of the Rio Lempa Valley, the "Valle de las Hamacas" and a section of Lake Ilopango...

 (San Salvador
San Salvador
The city of San Salvador the capital and largest city of El Salvador, which has been designated a Gamma World City. Its complete name is La Ciudad de Gran San Salvador...

)
La Paz
La Paz Department (El Salvador)
La Paz is a department of El Salvador in the south central area of the country. The capital is Zacatecoluca. La Paz has an area of 1,224 km² and a population of more than 300,000. The department was created in 1852. There are various caves containing rock writing. The department has a church...

 (Zacatecoluca)
Cabañas
Cabañas Department
Cabañas is a department of El Salvador in the north central part of the country. The capital is Sensuntepeque. Sensuntepeque means 400 hills because around the department there are small hills.One of the coldest regions in El Salvador and Certified place of Tourism , strongly recommended. Cabañas...

 (Sensuntepeque
Sensuntepeque
Sensuntepeque is a municipality in the Cabañas department of El Salvador....

)
San Vicente
San Vicente Department
San Vicente is a department of El Salvador in the center of the country. The capital is San Vicente. On October 4, 1834, San Vicente City of Austria and Lorenzana was made the capital of State of El Salvador during the Federal Republic of Central America...

 (San Vicente
San Vicente, El Salvador
San Vicente is a municipality in the San Vicente department of El Salvador. It was founded by 50 Spanish families in 1635, under the Tempisque tree, which is still standing today....

)
Eastern El Salvador
Usulután
Usulután Department
Usulután from the Nawat language is a department of El Salvador in the southeast of the country . The capital is Usulután.It is El Salvador's largest department...

 (Usulután
Usulután
Usulután is the 5th largest city in El Salvador, and capital of the Department of Usulutan in the south-east of El Salvador. As of 2006, it is estimated to have population of 71,636 people.Usulutan rests in a rich agricultural valley....

)
San Miguel
San Miguel Department (El Salvador)
San Miguel is a department of El Salvador in the eastern part of the country. The capital is San Miguel. It has 2,077 km² and a population of over 450,000...

 (San Miguel
San Miguel, El Salvador
San Miguel is the fourth most populous city in El Salvador after Santa Ana and Soyapango and the second most important after San Salvador. It is located 138 km east of the capital, San Salvador. It is also the capital of the department of San Miguel and a municipality...

)
Morazán
Morazán Department
Morazán is a department of El Salvador. Located in the northeast part of the country, its capital is San Francisco Gotera. It covers a total surface area of 1,447 km² and has a population of more than 200,000.-History:...

 (San Francisco Gotera)
La Unión
La Unión Department
La Unión is a department of El Salvador. It is located in the eastern part of the country and its capital is La Unión. It covers a total of 2,074 km² and has a population of 300,000. The department was created on June 22, 1865 and the city of La Unión was made its capital...

 (La Unión)
Note: Departamental capitals are in parentheses.

Economy

There are several hydroelectric dams along the Lempa river. There is the Guayojo dam, the Cerrón Grande Hydroelectric Dam
Cerrón Grande Hydroelectric Dam
The Cerrón Grande Hydroelectric Dam spans the Lempa River 78 km north of San Salvador in the municipalities of Potonico, and Jutiapa in El Salvador....

, the 5 de Noviembre dam, and the 15 de Septiembre dam which can be easily seen from the Pan-American highway
Pan-American Highway
The Pan-American Highway is a network of roads measuring about in total length. Except for an rainforest break, called the Darién Gap, the road links the mainland nations of the Americas in a connected highway system. According to Guinness World Records, the Pan-American Highway is the world's...

.
According to the IMF and CIA World Factbook, El Salvador has the third largest economy in the region (behind Costa Rica and Panama) when comparing nominal Gross Domestic Product and purchasing power GDP. El Salvador's GDP per capita stands at US $4,365.

El Salvador's economy has been hampered at times by natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes, but it is currently growing steadily. Antiguo Cuscatlán
Antiguo Cuscatlan
Antiguo Cuscatlán is a municipality in the La Libertad department of El Salvador, southwest of San Salvador and to the east of Santa Tecla. Antiguo Cuscatlán is considered the richest and most urban municipality inside the "Metropolitan Area of San Salvador" as well as in the whole country.It...

 has the highest per capita income of all the cities in the country and is a center of international investment.

GDP in purchasing power parity
Purchasing power parity
In economics, purchasing power parity is a condition between countries where an amount of money has the same purchasing power in different countries. The prices of the goods between the countries would only reflect the exchange rates...

 (PPP) in 2008 was estimated at $ 25.895 billion USD. The service sector is the largest component of GDP at 64.1%, followed by the industrial sector at 24.7% (2008 est.). Agriculture represents only 11.2% of GDP (2010 est.).
The GDP
Gross domestic product
Gross domestic product refers to the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period. GDP per capita is often considered an indicator of a country's standard of living....

 has been growing since 1996 at an annual rate that averages 3.2% real growth. The government has recently committed to free market
Free market
A free market is a competitive market where prices are determined by supply and demand. However, the term is also commonly used for markets in which economic intervention and regulation by the state is limited to tax collection, and enforcement of private ownership and contracts...

 initiatives, and the 2007 GDP's real growth rate was 4.7%.

In December 1999, net international reserves equaled US $1.8 billion or roughly five months of imports. Having this hard currency buffer to work with, the Salvadoran government undertook a monetary integration plan beginning January 1, 2001 by which the U.S. dollar became legal tender alongside the Salvadoran colón
Salvadoran colón
The colón was the currency of El Salvador between 1892 and 2001, until it was substituted by the U.S. Dollar. It was subdivided into 100 centavos and its ISO 4217 code was SVC. The plural is colones in Spanish and was named after Christopher Columbus, known as Cristóbal Colón in Spanish.The symbol...

 and all formal accounting was done in U.S. dollars. Thus the government has formally limited the implementing of open market monetary policies to influence short term variables in the economy. As of September 2007, net international reserves stood at $2.42 billion.

It has long been a challenge in El Salvador to develop new growth sectors for a more diversified economy. In the past the country produced gold and silver. As with other former colonies, El Salvador was considered a mono-export economy (an economy that depended heavily on one type of export) for many years. During colonial times, the Spanish decided that El Salvador would produce and export indigo
Indigo dye
Indigo dye is an organic compound with a distinctive blue color . Historically, indigo was a natural dye extracted from plants, and this process was important economically because blue dyes were once rare. Nearly all indigo dye produced today — several thousand tons each year — is synthetic...

, but after the invention of synthetic dyes in the 19th century, the newly created modern state turned to coffee
Coffee
Coffee is a brewed beverage with a dark,init brooo acidic flavor prepared from the roasted seeds of the coffee plant, colloquially called coffee beans. The beans are found in coffee cherries, which grow on trees cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in equatorial Latin America, Southeast Asia,...

 as the main export.
There are a total of 15 free trade zone
Free trade zone
A free trade zone or export processing zone , also called foreign-trade zone, formerly free port is an area within which goods may be landed, handled, manufactured or reconfigured, and reexported without the intervention of the customs authorities...

s in El Salvador. El Salvador signed the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) — negotiated by the five countries of Central America and the Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of La Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are shared by two countries...

 — with the United States in 2004. CAFTA requires that the Salvadoran government adopt policies that foster free trade
Free trade
Under a free trade policy, prices emerge from supply and demand, and are the sole determinant of resource allocation. 'Free' trade differs from other forms of trade policy where the allocation of goods and services among trading countries are determined by price strategies that may differ from...

. El Salvador has signed free trade agreements with Mexico, Chile
Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

, the Dominican Republic, and Panama
Panama
Panama , officially the Republic of Panama , is the southernmost country of Central America. Situated on the isthmus connecting North and South America, it is bordered by Costa Rica to the northwest, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The...

 and increased its trade
Trade
Trade is the transfer of ownership of goods and services from one person or entity to another. Trade is sometimes loosely called commerce or financial transaction or barter. A network that allows trade is called a market. The original form of trade was barter, the direct exchange of goods and...

 with those countries. El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua also are negotiating a free trade agreement with Canada. In October 2007, these four countries and Costa Rica began free trade agreement negotiations with the European Union. Negotiations started in 2006 for a free trade agreement with Colombia
Colombia
Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia , is a unitary constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments. The country is located in northwestern South America, bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; to the north by the Caribbean Sea; to the...

.

The government has focused on improving the collection of its current revenue
Revenue
In business, revenue is income that a company receives from its normal business activities, usually from the sale of goods and services to customers. In many countries, such as the United Kingdom, revenue is referred to as turnover....

s with a focus on indirect taxes. A 10% value-added tax (IVA in Spanish), implemented in September 1992, was raised to 13% in July 1995.

Inflation
Inflation
In economics, inflation is a rise in the general level of prices of goods and services in an economy over a period of time.When the general price level rises, each unit of currency buys fewer goods and services. Consequently, inflation also reflects an erosion in the purchasing power of money – a...

 has been steady and among the lowest in the region. Since 1997 inflation has averaged 3%, with recent years increasing to nearly 5%. As a result of the free trade agreements from 2000 to 2006 total exports have grown 19% from $2.94 billion to $3.51 billion, and total imports have risen 54% from $4.95 billion to $7.63 billion. This has resulted in a 102% increase in the trade deficit from $2.01 billion to $4.12 billion.
Remittances from Salvadorans living and working in the United States, sent to family in El Salvador, are a major source of foreign income
Income
Income is the consumption and savings opportunity gained by an entity within a specified time frame, which is generally expressed in monetary terms. However, for households and individuals, "income is the sum of all the wages, salaries, profits, interests payments, rents and other forms of earnings...

 and offset the substantial trade deficit of $4.12 billion. Remittances have increased steadily in the last decade and reached an all-time high of $3.32 billion in 2006 (an increase of 17% over the previous year). approximately 16.2% of gross domestic product
Gross domestic product
Gross domestic product refers to the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period. GDP per capita is often considered an indicator of a country's standard of living....

(GDP).

Remittances have had positive and negative effects on El Salvador. In 2005 the number of people living in extreme poverty
Extreme poverty
Extreme poverty, as defined in 1996 by Joseph Wresinski, the founder of ATD Fourth World, is:"The lack of basic security connotes the absence of one or more factors enabling individuals and families to assume basic responsibilities and to enjoy fundamental rights. The situation may become...

 in El Salvador was 20%, according to a United Nations Development Program report, without remittances the number of Salvadorans living in extreme poverty would rise to 37%. While Salvadoran education levels have gone up, wage expectations have risen faster than either skills or productivity. For example, some Salvadorans are no longer willing to take jobs that pay them less than what they receive monthly from family members abroad. This has led to an influx of Hondurans and Nicaraguans who are willing to work for the prevailing wage. Also, the local propensity for consumption over investment has increased.

Money from remittances has also increased prices for certain commodities such as real estate. Many Salvadorans abroad earning much higher wages can afford higher prices for houses in El Salvador than local Salvadorans and thus push up the prices that all Salvadorans must pay.

Despite being the smallest country geographically in Central America, El Salvador has the third largest economy with a per capita income that is roughly two-thirds that of Costa Rica and Panama, but more than double that of Nicaragua. Growth has been modest in recent years and the economy contracted nearly 3% in 2009. Due to a growing and dollarized economy In recent years, El Salvador is seeing an increase of Central American, South American, and Caribbean immigrants from Guatemalans, Hondurans
Hondurans
Hondurans are people inhabiting in, originating or having significant heritage from Honduras. Most Hondurans live in Honduras, although there is also a significant Honduran diaspora, particularly in the United States with smaller communities in other countries around the world...

, Nicaraguans, Dominicans, Colombians
Colombian people
Colombian people are from a multiethnic Spanish speaking nation in South America called Colombia. Colombians are predominantly Roman Catholic and are a mixture of Europeans, Africans, and Amerindians.-Demography:...

, Venezuelan
Venezuelan people
Venezuelan people are from a multiethnic nation in South America called Venezuela. Venezuelans are predominantly Roman Catholic and speak Spanish, and a majority of them are the result of a mixture of Europeans, Africans, and Amerindians.-Demography:...

, Peruvians and Cubans
Cubans
Cubans or Cuban people are the inhabitants or citizens of Cuba. Cuba is a multi-ethnic nation, home to people of different ethnic and national backgrounds...

 searching for better living opportunities.

El Salvador leads the region in remittances per capita with inflows equivalent to nearly all export income and about a third of all households receive these financial inflows. In 2006 El Salvador was the first country to ratify the Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement. CAFTA has bolstered exports of processed foods, sugar, and ethanol, and supported investment in the apparel sector, which faced Asian competition with the expiration of the Multi-Fiber Agreement in 2005. In anticipation of the declines in the apparel sector's competitiveness, the previous administration sought to diversify the economy by promoting the country as a regional distribution and logistics hub, and by promoting tourism investment through tax incentives.

El Salvador has promoted an open trade and investment environment, and has embarked on a wave of privatizations extending to telecom, electricity distribution, banking, and pension funds. In late 2006, the government and the Millennium Challenge Corporation signed a five-year, $461 million compact to stimulate economic growth and reduce poverty in the country's northern region, the primary conflict zone during the civil war, through investments in education, public services, enterprise development, and transportation infrastructure. With the adoption of the US dollar as its currency in 2001, El Salvador lost control over monetary policy. Any counter-cyclical policy response to the downturn must be through fiscal policy, which is constrained by legislative requirements for a two-thirds majority to approve any international financing.

Salvadoran People

The population of El Salvador increased from 1.9 million inhabitants in 1950 to 4.7 million in 1984. El Salvador has lacked authoritative demographic data for many years because no national census was taken between 1992 and 2007. Before the 2009 census, patterns in population growth led many officials (including within the Salvadoran government) to estimate the country's population at between 7.1 and 7.2 million people.
However, on May 12, 2008, El Salvador's Ministry of Economy released statistics gathered in the census of the previous May. These data present a figure for the total population that corroborates the earlier estimates: 7,185,218. Challenges to the 2009 census on a number of grounds are forthcoming.

The country's population is composed of mestizo
Mestizo
Mestizo is a term traditionally used in Latin America, Philippines and Spain for people of mixed European and Native American heritage or descent...

s (those of mixed indigenous Native American
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 and European
Spanish people
The Spanish are citizens of the Kingdom of Spain. Within Spain, there are also a number of vigorous nationalisms and regionalisms, reflecting the country's complex history....

 ancestry), whites, and indigenous peoples. Eighty-six percent of Salvadorans are of mixed ancestry. In the mestizo population, Salvadorans of predominantly Mediterranean descent and indigenes who are not connected to indigenous customs or language all identify themselves as mestizo culturally.
Twelve percent of Salvadorans are mostly of Spanish
Spanish people
The Spanish are citizens of the Kingdom of Spain. Within Spain, there are also a number of vigorous nationalisms and regionalisms, reflecting the country's complex history....

 descent. Small communities of French
French people
The French are a nation that share a common French culture and speak the French language as a mother tongue. Historically, the French population are descended from peoples of Celtic, Latin and Germanic origin, and are today a mixture of several ethnic groups...

, German
Germans
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

, Swiss, English
English people
The English are a nation and ethnic group native to England, who speak English. The English identity is of early mediaeval origin, when they were known in Old English as the Anglecynn. England is now a country of the United Kingdom, and the majority of English people in England are British Citizens...

, Irish
Irish people
The Irish people are an ethnic group who originate in Ireland, an island in northwestern Europe. Ireland has been populated for around 9,000 years , with the Irish people's earliest ancestors recorded having legends of being descended from groups such as the Nemedians, Fomorians, Fir Bolg, Tuatha...

, Italian
Italian people
The Italian people are an ethnic group that share a common Italian culture, ancestry and speak the Italian language as a mother tongue. Within Italy, Italians are defined by citizenship, regardless of ancestry or country of residence , and are distinguished from people...

, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian
Norwegians
Norwegians constitute both a nation and an ethnic group native to Norway. They share a common culture and speak the Norwegian language. Norwegian people and their descendants are found in migrant communities worldwide, notably in United States, Canada and Brazil.-History:Towards the end of the 3rd...

, Dutch
Dutch people
The Dutch people are an ethnic group native to the Netherlands. They share a common culture and speak the Dutch language. Dutch people and their descendants are found in migrant communities worldwide, notably in Suriname, Chile, Brazil, Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, and the United...

 and Central European ethnicity also exist within the country. The majority of Central European immigrants arrived during World War II as refugees from the Czech Republic
Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west and northwest....

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, Hungary
Hungary
Hungary , officially the Republic of Hungary , is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is situated in the Carpathian Basin and is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine and Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, Slovenia to the southwest and Austria to the west. The...

, Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

, Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

, and Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

, and their descendants are scattered in different communities across El Salvador. Russians
Russians
The Russian people are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Russia, speaking the Russian language and primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries....

 came in during the Salvadoran civil war, concurrent with the U.S./Soviet Union cold war, to help the communist guerrillas in their struggle to seize the government. Americans
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, Australians, and Canadians  assisted the military junta in their fight against the communists.

Only one percent of the Salvadoran population is pure indigenous, mostly Mayan
Maya peoples
The Maya people constitute a diverse range of the Native American people of southern Mexico and northern Central America. The overarching term "Maya" is a collective designation to include the peoples of the region who share some degree of cultural and linguistic heritage; however, the term...

, Pipil, Lenca and Kakawira (Cacaopera). The presently low numbers of indigenous people may be partly explained by mass murders during the 1932 Salvadoran peasant uprising
1932 Salvadoran peasant uprising
The peasant uprising of 1932, also known as La matanza , was a brief, peasant-led rebellion that occurred on January 22 of that year in the western departments of El Salvador...

 (or La Matanza), in which up to 30,000 peasants were killed in what by modern standards would be considered genocide
Genocide
Genocide is defined as "the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group", though what constitutes enough of a "part" to qualify as genocide has been subject to much debate by legal scholars...

 because of the Salvadoran army's efforts to exterminate a certain racial group. Other ethnic groups include Arabs, Jews
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

, other Central Americans, South Americans, Caribbeans and a small group of Asians.

El Salvador is the only Central American country that has no visible or significant African population today because of its lack of an Atlantic coastline and attendant access to the slave trade which occurred along the east coast for centuries. This scarcity of Afro-Salvadoran
Afro-Salvadoran
Afro-Salvadoran are the small African population that came to El Salvador, who have completely mixed into the general Mestizo population in specific places. A total of 10,000 African slaves were brought to El Salvador...

 population is also due to laws imposed by the Spanish
Spanish people
The Spanish are citizens of the Kingdom of Spain. Within Spain, there are also a number of vigorous nationalisms and regionalisms, reflecting the country's complex history....

 and Criollo
Criollo people
The Criollo class ranked below that of the Iberian Peninsulares, the high-born permanent residence colonists born in Spain. But Criollos were higher status/rank than all other castes—people of mixed descent, Amerindians, and enslaved Africans...

s around the 17th century after a slave revolt, and which was sustained by authorities even after independence was won from Spain in 1821 and slavery was abolished.

Until the end of the 20th century people of African descent weren't allowed to enter the country unless the oligarchy determined it was absolutely necessary. In addition, General Maximiliano Hernández Martínez
Maximiliano Hernández Martínez
Maximiliano Hernández Martínez was the President of El Salvador from 1931 to 1944...

 instituted race laws in 1930 that prohibited four ethnic groups—blacks
Black people
The term black people is used in systems of racial classification for humans of a dark skinned phenotype, relative to other racial groups.Different societies apply different criteria regarding who is classified as "black", and often social variables such as class, socio-economic status also plays a...

, Gypsies, Asians, and Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

s, from entering the country and stipulated that certain people—Lebanese
Lebanese people
The Lebanese people are a nation and ethnic group of Levantine people originating in what is today the country of Lebanon, including those who had inhabited Mount Lebanon prior to the creation of the modern Lebanese state....

, Syrian, Palestinian and Turkish
Turkish people
Turkish people, also known as the "Turks" , are an ethnic group primarily living in Turkey and in the former lands of the Ottoman Empire where Turkish minorities had been established in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Romania...

, were not allowed to enter El Salvador unless they were of European ancestry. It was not until the 1980s that this law was rescinded. Regardless of these racial laws, Afro-Salvadorans are present in some areas due to immigrants arriving from neighboring countries like Belize
Belize
Belize is a constitutional monarchy and the northernmost country in Central America. Belize has a diverse society, comprising many cultures and languages. Even though Kriol and Spanish are spoken among the population, Belize is the only country in Central America where English is the official...

, Honduras
Honduras
Honduras is a republic in Central America. It was previously known as Spanish Honduras to differentiate it from British Honduras, which became the modern-day state of Belize...

, and Nicaragua
Nicaragua
Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The country is situated between 11 and 14 degrees north of the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere, which places it entirely within the tropics. The Pacific Ocean...

, who eventually mixed in with the local populations. Palestinian Christians
Palestinian Christians
Palestinian Christians are Arabic-speaking Christians descended from the people of the geographical area of Palestine. Within Palestine, there are churches and believers from many Christian denominations, including Oriental Orthodoxy, Eastern Orthodoxy, Catholic , Protestant, and others...

 are today one of the most notable immigrant groups in El Salvador, despite their relatively small numbers.

According to the book "Seeing Indians – A Study of Race, Nation, and Power in El Salvador", by Viginia Q. Tilley, page 210: "...no twentieth-century law or regulation ever prohibited the entry, settlement, or patriation of blacks, under the Martinez dictatorship or any other regime." There have been several publications presenting information about Africans in what is now El Salvador during the colonial period.

Among the immigrant groups in El Salvador, Palestinian Christians
Palestinian Christians
Palestinian Christians are Arabic-speaking Christians descended from the people of the geographical area of Palestine. Within Palestine, there are churches and believers from many Christian denominations, including Oriental Orthodoxy, Eastern Orthodoxy, Catholic , Protestant, and others...

 stand out. Though few in number, their descendants have attained great economic and political power in the country, as evidenced by the election of ex-president Antonio Saca
Antonio Saca
Elías Antonio Saca González is a Salvadoran politician and was the President of El Salvador. He was elected President in 2004 to serve a five-year term that ended in 2009....

 — whose opponent in the 2004 election, Schafik Handal
Schafik Handal
Schafik Jorge Handal was a Salvadoran politician. Born in Usulután, he was the son of Palestinian Arab immigrants.-Biography:...

, was likewise of Palestinian descent — and the flourishing commercial, industrial, and construction firms owned by this ethnic group.

The capital city of San Salvador has about 2.1 million people; an estimated 42% of El Salvador's population live in rural areas. Urbanization
Urbanization
Urbanization, urbanisation or urban drift is the physical growth of urban areas as a result of global change. The United Nations projected that half of the world's population would live in urban areas at the end of 2008....

 has expanded at a phenomenal rate in El Salvador since the 1960s, driving millions to the cities and creating growth problems for cities around the country.

In the first half of 2007, government statistics provided by La Policía Nacional Civil of El Salvador showed lower numbers in homicide
Homicide
Homicide refers to the act of a human killing another human. Murder, for example, is a type of homicide. It can also describe a person who has committed such an act, though this use is rare in modern English...

 and extortion
Extortion
Extortion is a criminal offence which occurs when a person unlawfully obtains either money, property or services from a person, entity, or institution, through coercion. Refraining from doing harm is sometimes euphemistically called protection. Extortion is commonly practiced by organized crime...

s as well as robbery
Robbery
Robbery is the crime of taking or attempting to take something of value by force or threat of force or by putting the victim in fear. At common law, robbery is defined as taking the property of another, with the intent to permanently deprive the person of that property, by means of force or fear....

 and theft
Theft
In common usage, theft is the illegal taking of another person's property without that person's permission or consent. The word is also used as an informal shorthand term for some crimes against property, such as burglary, embezzlement, larceny, looting, robbery, shoplifting and fraud...

 of vehicles. In 2007 homicides in El Salvador were reduced by 22%, extortions were reduced by 7%, and robbery and theft of vehicles had gone down 18%, in comparison with the same period in 2006. However, in 2009, there has been an increase in homicides and extortions of about 30% more than in 2008, according to some statistics.

As of 2004, there were approximately 3.2 million Salvadorans living outside El Salvador, with the United States traditionally being the destination of choice for Salvadorans looking for greater economic opportunity. By 2009, there were about 1.6 million Salvadoran immigrants and Americans of Salvadoran descent in the U.S., making them the sixth largest immigrant group in the country. Salvadorans also live in nearby Belize
Belize
Belize is a constitutional monarchy and the northernmost country in Central America. Belize has a diverse society, comprising many cultures and languages. Even though Kriol and Spanish are spoken among the population, Belize is the only country in Central America where English is the official...

, Guatemala
Guatemala
Guatemala is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Belize to the northeast, the Caribbean to the east, and Honduras and El Salvador to the southeast...

, Honduras
Honduras
Honduras is a republic in Central America. It was previously known as Spanish Honduras to differentiate it from British Honduras, which became the modern-day state of Belize...

 and Nicaragua
Nicaragua
Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The country is situated between 11 and 14 degrees north of the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere, which places it entirely within the tropics. The Pacific Ocean...

.

The majority of expatriates emigrated during the civil war of the 1980s for political reasons and later because of adverse economic and social conditions. Other countries with notable Salvadoran communities include Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom (including the Cayman Islands
Cayman Islands
The Cayman Islands is a British Overseas Territory and overseas territory of the European Union located in the western Caribbean Sea. The territory comprises the three islands of Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman, located south of Cuba and northwest of Jamaica...

), Sweden, Brazil, Italy, Colombia, and Australia. There is also a large community of Nicaraguan
Nicaraguan
Nicaraguans are people inhabiting in, originating or having significant heritage from Nicaragua. Most Nicaraguans live in Nicaragua, although there is also a significant Nicaraguan diaspora, particularly in Costa Rica and the United States with smaller communities in other countries around the world...

s, 100,000 according to some figures, in the United States and Costa Rica, many of them seasonal immigrants.

Language

Central American Spanish
Central American Spanish
Central American Spanish is the general name of the Spanish language dialects spoken in Central America...

 is the official language and is spoken by virtually all inhabitants. Some indigenous people still speak their native tongues (such as Nahuatl
Nahuatl
Nahuatl is thought to mean "a good, clear sound" This language name has several spellings, among them náhuatl , Naoatl, Nauatl, Nahuatl, Nawatl. In a back formation from the name of the language, the ethnic group of Nahuatl speakers are called Nahua...

 and Maya
Mayan languages
The Mayan languages form a language family spoken in Mesoamerica and northern Central America. Mayan languages are spoken by at least 6 million indigenous Maya, primarily in Guatemala, Mexico, Belize and Honduras...

), but indigenous Salvadoreans who do not identify as mestizo constitute only 1% of the country's population. However all of them can speak Spanish. Q'eqchi' is spoken by immigrants of Guatemala
Guatemala
Guatemala is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Belize to the northeast, the Caribbean to the east, and Honduras and El Salvador to the southeast...

n and Belize
Belize
Belize is a constitutional monarchy and the northernmost country in Central America. Belize has a diverse society, comprising many cultures and languages. Even though Kriol and Spanish are spoken among the population, Belize is the only country in Central America where English is the official...

an indigenous people living in El Salvador. There have also been recent large migrations of Hondurans
Hondurans
Hondurans are people inhabiting in, originating or having significant heritage from Honduras. Most Hondurans live in Honduras, although there is also a significant Honduran diaspora, particularly in the United States with smaller communities in other countries around the world...

 and Nicaraguans.

German, Dutch and French are taught as a secondary language only in private international schools, such as the Liceo Frances (France), Escuela Alemana (Germany), Academia Britanica Cuscatleca (United Kingdom) and the Escuela Americana (United States). English has been taught by Americans and the British in El Salvador for several decades, at least 50 years. However most formal education is given in private schools, which sometime may make it hard to access for most of the population, who have to attend public schools and receive a very elementary level of English. There has been an American school in the country for a few decades. Japanese
Japanese language
is a language spoken by over 130 million people in Japan and in Japanese emigrant communities. It is a member of the Japonic language family, which has a number of proposed relationships with other languages, none of which has gained wide acceptance among historical linguists .Japanese is an...

 is also spoken. There has been a small Japanese community in El Salvador since World War II., as well as a considerable Taiwanese community.

The local Spanish vernacular
Vernacular
A vernacular is the native language or native dialect of a specific population, as opposed to a language of wider communication that is not native to the population, such as a national language or lingua franca.- Etymology :The term is not a recent one...

 is called Caliche. Salvadoreans use voseo
Voseo
Voseo is the use of the second person singular pronoun vos in many dialects of Spanish. In dialects that have it, it is used either instead of tú, or alongside it....

, which is also used in Uruguay
Uruguay
Uruguay ,officially the Oriental Republic of Uruguay,sometimes the Eastern Republic of Uruguay; ) is a country in the southeastern part of South America. It is home to some 3.5 million people, of whom 1.8 million live in the capital Montevideo and its metropolitan area...

 and Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

. This refers to the use of "vos" as the second person pronoun, instead of "tú".However "caliche" is considered informal and some people choose not to use it. Nahuatl
Nahuatl
Nahuatl is thought to mean "a good, clear sound" This language name has several spellings, among them náhuatl , Naoatl, Nauatl, Nahuatl, Nawatl. In a back formation from the name of the language, the ethnic group of Nahuatl speakers are called Nahua...

 is an indigenous language that has survived, though it is only used by small communities of some elderly Salvadorans in western El Salvador.

Religion

There is diversity of religious and ethnic groups in El Salvador. The majority of the population are Christians, mostly Roman Catholics (52.5%), while Protestantism
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

 represents 27.6% of the population. Mormonism and Pentecostalism
Pentecostalism
Pentecostalism is a diverse and complex movement within Christianity that places special emphasis on a direct personal experience of God through the baptism in the Holy Spirit, has an eschatological focus, and is an experiential religion. The term Pentecostal is derived from Pentecost, the Greek...

 are two of the notable Non–Catholic faiths in El Salvador. According to a survey in 2008, 52.6% of El Salvador's residents are Catholic and 27.9% are Protestant. Pentecostals and Latter-Day Saints (Mormons). The Latter-day Saint (Mormon church) temple was dedicated earlier this year in San Salvador. Other religions (1.4%) are present as well - Islam, Judaism and Jehovah's Witnesses.

Health

For the period 2005–2010 El Salvador has the third lowest birth rate in Central America, 22.8 per 1,000. However, it has the highest death rate in Central America during the same period, 5.9 per 1,000. According to the most recent United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 survey, life expectancy for men was 68 years and 74 years for women. Healthy life expectancy was 57 for males and 62 for females in 2003. There are about 148 physicians per 100,000 people.

Crime

In the past years El Salvador has experienced high crime rates including gang-related crimes and juvenile delinquency
Juvenile delinquency
Juvenile delinquency is participation in illegal behavior by minors who fall under a statutory age limit. Most legal systems prescribe specific procedures for dealing with juveniles, such as juvenile detention centers. There are a multitude of different theories on the causes of crime, most if not...

. Some say that this was a result of the deportation of thousands of Salvadorans from the U.S, the majority of whom were members of MS-13 (Mara Salvatrucha, Mississippi, or La Mara), in the mid-90s. The gangs in which Salvadorans had been involved in the United States began to show up in El Salvador.

Today El Salvador experiences some of the highest murder rates in the Latin America; it is also considered an epicenter of the gang crisis, along with Guatemala
Guatemala
Guatemala is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Belize to the northeast, the Caribbean to the east, and Honduras and El Salvador to the southeast...

 and Honduras
Honduras
Honduras is a republic in Central America. It was previously known as Spanish Honduras to differentiate it from British Honduras, which became the modern-day state of Belize...

. In response to this, the government has set up countless programs to try to guide the youth away from gang membership; so far its efforts have not produced any quick results. One of the government programs was a gang-reform called "Super Mano Dura" (Super Firm Hand). Super Mano Dura had little success and was highly criticized by the UN
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

. It saw temporary success in 2004 but then saw a rise in crime after 2005. In 2004, the rate of intentional homicides per 100,000 citizens was 41, with 60% of the homicides committed were gang
Gang
A gang is a group of people who, through the organization, formation, and establishment of an assemblage, share a common identity. In current usage it typically denotes a criminal organization or else a criminal affiliation. In early usage, the word gang referred to a group of workmen...

-related.

The Salvadoran government reported that the Super Mano Dura gang legislation led to a 14% drop in murders in 2004. However, El Salvador currently has 65 homocides per 100,000 inhabitants, more than triple the current rate of Mexico. There are an estimated 25,000 gangmembers at large in El Salvador with another 9,000 in prison. The well most known gangs, called "maras
Maras (gangs)
Maras are gangs originating from Central American countries such as El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.- Activities :Maras activities range from Arms trafficking, assault, auto theft, burglaries, drug trafficking, extortion, human trafficking, identity fraud, identity theft, illegal gambling,...

" in colloquial Spanish, are Mara Salvatrucha
Mara Salvatrucha
Mara Salvatrucha is a transnational criminal gang that originated in Los Angeles and has spread to other parts of the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Central America. The majority of the gang is ethnically composed of Central Americans and active in urban and suburban areas...

 and their rivals Calle 18
18th Street gang
18th Street gang is considered to be the largest transnational criminal gang in Los Angeles, California. It is estimated that there are thousands of members in Los Angeles County alone...

; maras are, or at least were, hunted by death squad
Death squad
A death squad is an armed military, police, insurgent, or terrorist squad that conducts extrajudicial killings, assassinations, and forced disappearances of persons as part of a war, insurgency or terror campaign...

s including Sombra Negra
Sombra Negra
The Sombra Negra are death squad groups based in El Salvador comprising mostly police and military personnel who target criminals and gang members for vigilante justice. Recent years have also seen increasing accusations of continuing death squad activity targeting the Salvadoran political...

. New rivals also include the rising mara, The Rebels 13.

Culture

Mestizo
Mestizo
Mestizo is a term traditionally used in Latin America, Philippines and Spain for people of mixed European and Native American heritage or descent...

 culture dominates the country heavy in Native American Indigenous and European Spanish influences. A new mix of population began as a result of the European settlers intermixing at great extent with the native Mesoamericans population of Cuzcatlan. The Catholic Church plays an important role in the Salvadoran culture. Archbishop Óscar Romero is a national hero for his role in resisting human rights violations that were occurring in the lead-up to the Salvadoran Civil War. Significant foreign personalities in El Salvador were the Jesuit priests and professors Ignacio Ellacuria
Ignacio Ellacuría
Ignacio Ellacuría, S.J. was a Jesuit priest, philosopher, and theologian who did important work as a professor and rector at the Universidad Centroamericana "José Simeón Cañas" , a Jesuit university in El Salvador founded in 1965...

, Ignacio Martín-Baró
Ignacio Martín-Baró
Ignacio Martín-Baró, S.J. was a scholar, social psychologist, philosopher and Jesuit priest...

, and Segundo Montes
Segundo Montes
Segundo Montes, S.J. was a scholar, philosopher, educator, sociologist and Jesuit priest...

, who were murdered in 1989 by the Salvadoran Army during the height of the civil war.

Painting, ceramics and textile goods are the main manual artistic expressions. Writers Francisco Gavidia
Francisco Gavidia
Francisco Gavidia was a Salvadoran writer, educator and journalist. His poetry evolved from romanticism to a reflective direction and conceptual character...

 (1863–1955), Salarrué
Salarrué
Salvador Efraín Salazar Arrué , known as Salarrué , was a Salvadoran writer, poet and painter...

 (Salvador Salazar Arrué) (1899–1975), Claudia Lars
Claudia Lars
Claudia Lars, born in Armenia, El Salvador on December 20, 1899 as Margarita del Carmen Brannon Vega, was a Salvadoran poet. She died in San Salvador in 1974...

, Alfredo Espino
Alfredo Espino
Alfredo Espino was a poet from El Salvador. Born in Ahuachapán, his only book is Jícaras Tristes , a collection of 96 poems. It is one of the most published books of poetry in El Salvador. Espino died in San Salvador....

, Pedro Geoffroy Rivas
Pedro Geoffroy Rivas
Pedro Geoffroy Rivas was an anthropologist, poet, and linguist. His poetic work marked a landmark in Salvadoran poetic development...

, Manlio Argueta
Manlio Argueta
Manlio Argueta is a Salvadoran writer, critic, and novelist born in 1935. Although he considers himself first and foremost a poet, he is known in the English speaking world for his book One Day of Life.- Life :...

, José Roberto Cea
José Roberto Cea
-Biography:Cea was born in the city of Izalco, department of Sonsonate, El Salvador, on April 10, 1939. He studied journalism and literature at the Universidad de El Salvador , though he did not conclude his course of studies...

, and poet Roque Dalton
Roque Dalton
Roque Dalton García was a Salvadoran poet and journalist. He is considered one of Latin America's most compelling poets...

 are among the most important writers to stem from El Salvador. Notable 20th century personages include the late filmmaker Baltasar Polio, female film director Patricia Chica
Patricia Chica
Patricia Chica also known as Chicatronica is a Canadian film and television director. She is one of the most internationally renowned filmmakers of Salvadorian descent. In 2007 and 2010, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of El Salvador gave her a diploma of recognition for her outstanding...

, artist Fernando Llort
Fernando Llort
Fernando Llort Choussy is a Salvadoran artist of international recognition, called "El Salvador's National Artist" by the Foundation for Self-Sufficiency in Central America. He is known for teaching and inspiring the small town of La Palma, Chalatenango, how to make a living through art. His style...

, and caricaturist Toño Salazar
Toño Salazar
Antonio "Toño" Salazar was a Salvadoran caricaturist, illustrator and diplomat. Born in Santa Tecla, in 1920 he went to study in Mexico on an art scholarship then in 1922 traveled to France to join the throng of artists and writers from around the world who were living, working, and learning in...

.

Amongst the more renowned representatives of the graphic arts are the painters Augusto Crespin
Augusto Crespin
Augusto Crespin was born in El Salvador, in July 1956. Studied ink drawing and painting for about five years in the Academy of Valero Lecha from 1969 to 1973; engraving with Japanese master Futaba Ando in the Centro de Artes de El Salvador in 1975; further studies engraving with Japanese masters...

, Noe Canjura
Noe Canjura
Noe Canjura was a Salvadoran painter and a prominent figure in 20th century modern art in France.- First steps :...

, Carlos Cañas
Carlos Cañas
Carlos Cañas is a Salvadoran painter.He studied art and theory in the School of Arts of El Salvador. In 1950 he received a scholarship to study in Madrid art, history, esthetics, and literature....

, Julia Díaz, Mauricio Mejia, Maria Elena Palomo de Mejia, Camilo Minero
Camilo Minero
Camilo Minero was born in Zacatecoluca, El Salvador in 1917. He was a pupil of Marcelino Carballo and student at the National School of Graphical Arts. In Mexico he studied in the National Polytechnical Institute and the Factory of Popular Graph...

, Ricardo Carbonell, Roberto Huezo, Miguel Angel Cerna, (the painter and writer better known as MACLo), Esael Araujo, and many others. For more information on promiment citizens of El Salvador check the List of Salvadorans.
Holidays
DateEnglish nameLocal nameObservance
January 16 Peace Accords Day Día de los Acuerdos de Paz Celebrates the peace accords signing between the government and the guerrilla in 1992 that finished the 12-year civil war. Mostly political events.
March/April Holy Week
Holy Week
Holy Week in Christianity is the last week of Lent and the week before Easter...

/Easter
Easter
Easter is the central feast in the Christian liturgical year. According to the Canonical gospels, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. His resurrection is celebrated on Easter Day or Easter Sunday...

Semana Santa Celebrated with Carnival
Carnival
Carnaval is a festive season which occurs immediately before Lent; the main events are usually during February. Carnaval typically involves a public celebration or parade combining some elements of a circus, mask and public street party...

-like events in different cities by the large Catholic population.
May 1 Labor Day Día del trabajo International Labour Day
May 3 The Day of the Cross Día de la Cruz A celebration with pre-colonial origins that is linked to the advent of the rainy season. People decorate a cross in their yards with fruit and garlands, in the belief that if they do not, the devil will appear and dance at their yard.They then go from house to house to kneel in front of the altar and make the sign of the cross.
May 10 Mothers' Day Día de las Madres A day that is used to celebrate mums. Similar to many other countries Mother's Day.
August 1–7 August Festivals* Fiestas de agosto Week-long festival in celebration of El Salvador del Mundo, patron saint of San Salvador.
September 15 Independence Day Día de la Independencia Celebrates independence from Spain, achieved in 1821.
October 1 Day of the children "Día del niño" Celebration dedicated to the Children of the country it is celebrated across the country.
October 12 Day of the race Día de la raza Celebration in dedication to the Christopher Columbus's arrival to America.
November 2 Day of the Dead
Day of the Dead
Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and around the world in many cultures. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. It is particularly celebrated in Mexico, where it attains the quality...

El día de los muertos A day on which most people visit the tombs of deceased loved ones. (November 1 may be commemorated as well.)
November 7–13 National Festival Of Pupusa Festival Nacional De La Pupusa This week is the national commemoration of the national food (Pupusa).
November 21 Queen of the Peace Day Dia de la Reina de la Paz Day of the Queen of Peace, the patron saint. Also celebrated, the San Miguel Carnival, (carnaval de San Miguel) a known feast in El Salvador, celebrated in San Miguel City, similar to Mardi Gras of New Orleans,where you can enjoy about 45 music bands on the street.
December 24 Christmas Day Noche Buena In many communities, December 24 (Christmas Eve
Christmas Eve
Christmas Eve refers to the evening or entire day preceding Christmas Day, a widely celebrated festival commemorating the birth of Jesus of Nazareth that takes place on December 25...

) is the major day of celebration, often to the point that it is considered the actual day of Navidad — with December 25 serving as a day of rest.
December 31 New Year's Eve
New Year's Eve
New Year's Eve is observed annually on December 31, the final day of any given year in the Gregorian calendar. In modern societies, New Year's Eve is often celebrated at social gatherings, during which participants dance, eat, consume alcoholic beverages, and watch or light fireworks to mark the...

Fin de año The final day of the Gregorian year, and the day before New Year's Day is celebrated in El Salvador with family reunions.


* Almost only celebrated in San Salvador

Tourism


The only airport serving international flights in the country is Comalapa International Airport. This airport is located about 40 km (24.9 mi) southeast of San Salvador. The airport is commonly known as Comalapa International or El Salvador International.

El Salvador's tourism industry has grown dynamically over recent years as the Salvadoran government focuses on developing this sector. Last year tourism accounted for 4.6% of GDP; only 10 years ago, it accounted for 0.4%. In this same year tourism grew 4.5% worldwide. Comparatively, El Salvador saw an increase of 8.97%, from 1.15 million to 1.27 million tourists. This has led to revenue from tourism growing 35.9% from $634 million to $862 million. As a reference point, in 1996 tourism revenue was $44.2 million. Also, there has been an even greater increase in the number of excursionists (visits that do not include an overnight stay). 222,000 excursionists visited El Salvador in 2006, a 24% increase over the previous year.

Most North American and European tourists are seeking out El Salvador's beaches and nightlife. Besides these two choices, El Salvador's tourism landscape is slightly different than those of other Central American countries. Because of its geographical size and urbanization, there are not many nature-themed tourist destinations such as ecotours or archaeological monuments. Surfing
Surfing
Surfing' is a surface water sport in which the surfer rides a surfboard on the crest and face of a wave which is carrying the surfer towards the shore...

, however, is a natural tourist sector that has gained popularity in recent years as Salvadoran beaches have become increasingly popular. Surfers visit many beaches on the coast of La Libertad and the east side of the country, finding surfing spots that are not yet overcrowded. Also, the use of the United States dollar
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

 as Salvadoran currency and direct flights of 4–6 hours from most cities in the United States are important things to note for first-time travelers from the United States. Urbanization and Americanization
Americanization
Americanization is the influence of the United States on the popular culture, technology, business practices, or political techniques of other countries. The term has been used since at least 1907. Inside the U.S...

 of Salvadoran culture has also led to something else that first time tourists might be surprised to see: the abundance of American-style malls, stores, and restaurants in the three main urban areas, especially greater San Salvador.

Currently, tourists to El Salvador can be classified into four groups: Central Americans; North Americans; Salvadorans living abroad, primarily in the United States; and Europeans and South Americans. The first three represent the vast majority of tourists. Recently, El Salvador has attempted to broaden its tourist base and increase the number of visitors from Europe and South America. Early indicators show that the government's efforts are working. When comparing January–March 2007 to the same period in 2006 (most recent data available), overall tourism has grown 10%, while from North America 38%, Europe 31%, and South America 36%. In the fall, Livingston Airlines will initiate the only direct flight between Europe (departing from Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

) and El Salvador. The Decameron Salinitas, a recently inaugurated resort, has contributed to the growth of tourism from South American visitors (because of name recognition of the resort chain) and is looking to do the same with Europeans.

A whole new segment of tourism has grown up around El Salvador's recent turbulent past. Artillery fragments, battle photographs, combat plans, and mountain hideouts have become tourist attractions in themselves. Since 1992, residents in some economically depressed areas have set up local enterprises to profit from these. The mountain town of Perquin
Perquín
Perquín is a municipality in the Morazán department of El Salvador. It is home to the Museum of the Revolution, which contains artifacts and exhibits related to the Salvadoran Civil War...

 was considered the "guerrilla capital", and today it is home to the "Museum of the Revolution", featuring cannons, uniforms, pieces of Soviet
Soviet Armed Forces
The Soviet Armed Forces, also called the Armed Forces of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Armed Forces of the Soviet Union refers to the armed forces of the Russian SFSR , and Soviet Union from their beginnings in the...

 weaponry, and other weapons of war once used by the FMLN's (Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front) headquarters.

According to the El Salvadoran newspaper El Diario De Hoy
El Diario de Hoy
El Diario de Hoy is a national newspaper published in San Salvador, El Salvador, one of the two dailies of highest circulation in the Central American country...

, the top 10 attractions are: the coastal beaches, La Libertad
La Libertad, La Libertad
La Libertad is a municipality located in El Salvador namesake and one of the main sights of this country. According to official census of 2007, has a population of inhabitants.-History:...

, Ruta Las Flores, Suchitoto
Suchitoto
Suchitoto is a municipality in the Cuscatlán department of El Salvador.Suchitoto is widely known throughout El Salvador for its church and for its cobblestone roads...

, Playa Las Flores in San Miguel
San Miguel, El Salvador
San Miguel is the fourth most populous city in El Salvador after Santa Ana and Soyapango and the second most important after San Salvador. It is located 138 km east of the capital, San Salvador. It is also the capital of the department of San Miguel and a municipality...

, La Palma, Santa Ana
Santa Ana Volcano
The Santa Ana Volcano or Ilamatepec is a large stratovolcano located in the Santa Ana department of El Salvador. At 2,381 metres above sea level, it is the highest volcano in the country. It is located immediately west of Coatepeque Caldera....

 (location of the country's highest volcano), Nahuizalco
Nahuizalco
Nahuizalco is a municipality in the Sonsonate department of El Salvador. It lies on the "flowers route" , 9 km from Sonsonate and 74 km from San Salvador, at 540 m above sea level on the southern part of the Apaneca-Ilamatepec mountain range.There are strong indigenous customs...

, Apaneca
Apaneca
Apaneca is a municipality in the Ahuachapán department of El Salvador.It has an area of 45.13 kilometers. Its population is of 8,597 inhabitants . The municipality is divided in 7 cantons:*El Saltillal*Palo Verde*Quezalapa*San Ramoncito...

, Juayua
Juayúa
Juayúa is a municipality in the Sonsonate department of El Salvador.Juayua is a quaint little town up in the mountains, founded in 1577. The town's central plaza faces an old white cathedral that features a black Christ statue. This statue is a sister statue to that of the revered Basilica of...

, and San Ignacio
San Ignacio, Chalatenango
San Ignacio is a municipality of El Salvador. Is located in the departament of Chalatenango, to a distance of 87 km. from San Salvador, and to 8 km. of the international border with Honduras.This municipality takes his name in honor to Ignatius of Loyola...

.

Among the numerous volcanic crater lakes in the mountains, Lake Coatepeque and Lake Ilopango
Lake Ilopango
Lake Ilopango is a crater lake which fills a scenic 8 x 11 km volcanic caldera in central El Salvador. The caldera, which contains the second largest lake in the country and is located immediately east of the capital city, San Salvador, has a scalloped to high rim.-Eruptive History:Four...

 are two of the most beautiful.

Cuisine

One of El Salvador's notable dishes is the pupusa
Pupusa
A pupusa is a traditional Salvadoran dish made of thick, hand-made corn tortilla that is usually filled with a blend of the following: cheese , cooked pork meat ground to a paste consistency...

. Pupusas are a thick hand-made corn tortilla (made of masa de maíz
Masa
Masa is Spanish for dough. In the Americas it is often short for masa de maíz, a maize dough made from freshly prepared hominy. It is used for making corn tortillas, tamales, pupusas, arepas and many other Latin American dishes. The dried and powdered form is called masa harina, masa de harina,...

 or masa de arroz, a maize or rice flour dough used in Latin American cuisine
Latin American cuisine
Latin American Cuisine refers to typical foods, beverages, and cooking styles common to many of the countries and cultures in Latin America...

) stuffed with one or more of the following: cheese (usually a soft Salvadoran cheese such as quesillo
Quesillo
Quesillo refers to different Latin American food or dishes depending on the country:-Bolivia:Quesillo in Bolivia means small fresh cheese. Popular farm cheese of the Cochabamba valley. Usually made from raw cow milk, pepsin and acid coagulation, maize size curd, dry salted, hand formed palm size...

, similar to mozarella), chicharrón, or refried beans
Refried beans
Refried beans is a dish of cooked and mashed beans and is a traditional staple of Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine, although each cuisine has a somewhat different approach when making the dish.-Ingredients and preparation:...

. Sometimes the filling is queso con loroco (cheese combined with loroco, a vine flower bud native to Central America). Pupusas revueltas are pupusas filled with beans, cheese and pork. There are also vegetarian options. Some adventurous restaurants even offer pupusas stuffed with shrimp or spinach. The name "pupusa" comes from the pipil-nahuatl word, pupushahua. The pupusa's exact origins are debated, although its presence in El Salvador is known to predate the arrival of the Spaniards.

Two other typical Salvadoran dishes are yuca frita and panes rellenos. Yuca frita, which is deep fried cassava
Cassava
Cassava , also called yuca or manioc, a woody shrub of the Euphorbiaceae native to South America, is extensively cultivated as an annual crop in tropical and subtropical regions for its edible starchy tuberous root, a major source of carbohydrates...

 root served with curtido
Curtido
Curtido is a type of cabbage relish, lightly fermented. It is typical of Mexican and Central American cuisine. In Salvadoran cuisine it is usually made with pickled cabbage, onions, carrots, and sometimes lemon juice and resembles sauerkraut, kimchi, or cole slaw. It is commonly served alongside...

 (a pickled cabbage, onion and carrot topping) and pork rinds with pescaditas (fried baby sardines). The Yuca is sometimes served boiled instead of fried. Panes con Pavo (literally breads with turkey) are warm turkey
Turkey (bird)
A turkey is a large bird in the genus Meleagris. One species, Meleagris gallopavo, commonly known as the Wild Turkey, is native to the forests of North America. The domestic turkey is a descendant of this species...

-filled submarine sandwiches. The turkey is marinated and then roasted with Pipil spices and handpulled. This sandwich is traditionally served with chicken
Chicken
The chicken is a domesticated fowl, a subspecies of the Red Junglefowl. As one of the most common and widespread domestic animals, and with a population of more than 24 billion in 2003, there are more chickens in the world than any other species of bird...

, tomato
Tomato
The word "tomato" may refer to the plant or the edible, typically red, fruit which it bears. Originating in South America, the tomato was spread around the world following the Spanish colonization of the Americas, and its many varieties are now widely grown, often in greenhouses in cooler...

, and watercress
Watercress
Watercresses are fast-growing, aquatic or semi-aquatic, perennial plants native from Europe to central Asia, and one of the oldest known leaf vegetables consumed by human beings...

 along with cucumber
Cucumber
The cucumber is a widely cultivated plant in the gourd family Cucurbitaceae, which includes squash, and in the same genus as the muskmelon. The plant is a creeping vine which bears cylindrical edible fruit when ripe. There are three main varieties of cucumber: "slicing", "pickling", and...

, onion
Onion
The onion , also known as the bulb onion, common onion and garden onion, is the most widely cultivated species of the genus Allium. The genus Allium also contains a number of other species variously referred to as onions and cultivated for food, such as the Japanese bunching onion The onion...

, lettuce
Lettuce
Lettuce is a temperate annual or biennial plant of the daisy family Asteraceae. It is most often grown as a leaf vegetable. It is eaten either raw, notably in salads, sandwiches, hamburgers, tacos, and many other dishes, or cooked, as in Chinese cuisine in which the stem becomes just as important...

, mayonnaise
Mayonnaise
Mayonnaise, , often abbreviated as mayo, is a sauce. It is a stable emulsion of oil, egg yolk and either vinegar or lemon juice, with many options for embellishment with other herbs and spices. Lecithin in the egg yolk is the emulsifier. Mayonnaise varies in color but is often white, cream, or pale...

, and mustard
Mustard (condiment)
Mustard is a condiment made from the seeds of a mustard plant...

.

One of El Salvador's typical breakfasts is fried plantain, usually served with cream. It is common in Salvadoran restaurants and homes, including those of immigrants to the United States.

"Maria Luisa" is a dessert commonly found in El Salvador. It is a layered cake that is soaked in orange marmalade and sprinkled with powdered sugar.

A popular drink that Salvadorans enjoy is Horchata
Horchata
Horchata or orxata is the name of several kinds of traditional beverage, made of ground almonds, sesame seeds, rice, barley, or tigernuts .-Etymology:...

, a drink native to the Valencian Community
Valencian Community
The Valencian Community is an autonomous community of Spain located in central and south-eastern Iberian Peninsula. Its capital and largest city is Valencia...

 in Spain. Horchata is most commonly made of the morro seed ground into a powder and added to milk or water, and sugar. Horchata is drunk year round and can be drunk anytime of day. It mostly is accompanied by a plate of pupusas or fried yucca. Horchata from El Salvador has a very distinct taste and is not to be confused with Mexican horchata, which is rice based. Coffee is also a common morning beverage.

Other popular drinks in El Salvador include "Ensaladas" a drink made of chopped fruit swimming in fruit juice and Kolachampan, a sugar cane-flavored carbonated beverage.

One of the most popular desserts is the cake Pastel de tres leches (Cake of three milks), consisting of three types of milk; evaporated milk, condensed milk, and cream
Cream
Cream is a dairy product that is composed of the higher-butterfat layer skimmed from the top of milk before homogenization. In un-homogenized milk, over time, the lighter fat rises to the top. In the industrial production of cream this process is accelerated by using centrifuges called "separators"...

.

Education

The public education system in El Salvador is severely lacking in resources. Class sizes in public schools can reach 50 children, so Salvadorans who can afford the cost often choose to send their children to private schools, that are reasonably higher in every level. Most private schools follow foreign study systems: American, European or other advanced systems. Lower-income families are forced to rely on the public education system.

Education in El Salvador is free through high school. After nine years of basic education (elementary - middle school) students have the option of a two year high school or a three year high school. A two year high school prepares the student to transfer to a university. A three year high school allows the student graduate with a vocational career and enter the workforce or transfer to a university as well to further their education in that field.

The Post-Secondary education varies widely in price

There is one public university:
  • Universidad de El Salvador, UES

The University of El Salvador has one main campus in San Salvador and three more campuses in Santa Ana, San Miguel and San Vicente.

El Salvador has several private universities:
  • Universidad Dr. José Matías Delgado, UJMD
  • Universidad Centroamericana "José Simeón Cañas", UCA
  • Universidad Francisco Gavidia, UFG
  • Universidad Tecnologica, UTec
  • Universidad Don Bosco, UDB
  • Universidad Evangelica
  • Universidad Dr Andrés Bello UNAB
  • Universidad de Nueva San Salvador, UNSSA
  • Universidad Albert Einstein
  • Universidad Salvadorena Alberto Masferrer, USAM
  • Universidad Modular Abierta, UMA
  • Universidad Monsenor Oscar Arnulfo Romero, UMOAR
  • Universidad Polytecnica
  • Universidad Católica de El Salvador, UNICAES
  • Escuela de Comunicación Mónica Herrera, ECMH
  • Escuela Superior de Economía y Negocios, ESEN


Local Foundations and NGOs are fostering further education development.

Sport

The El Salvador national football team
El Salvador national football team
El Salvador's national football team represents El Salvador in international football and is sanctioned by the Federación Salvadoreña de Fútbol . In 1899, Santa Ana and San Salvador met for the first hosted football game in El Salvador...

 qualified for the FIFA World Cup
FIFA World Cup
The FIFA World Cup, often simply the World Cup, is an international association football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the members of Fédération Internationale de Football Association , the sport's global governing body...

 in 1970
1970 FIFA World Cup
The 1970 FIFA World Cup, the ninth staging of the World Cup, was held in Mexico, from 31 May to 21 June. The 1970 tournament was the first World Cup hosted in North America, and the first held outside South America and Europe. In a match-up of two-time World Cup champions, the final was won by...

 and 1981
1982 FIFA World Cup
The 1982 FIFA World Cup, the 12th FIFA World Cup, was held in Spain from 13 June to 11 July. The tournament was won by Italy, after defeating West Germany 3–1 in the final.-Host selection:...

. Their qualification for the 1970 tournament was marred by the Football War
Football War
The Football War , also known as the Soccer War or 100 hour War, was a four-day war fought by El Salvador and Honduras in 1969. It was caused by political conflicts between Hondurans and Salvadorans, namely issues concerning immigration from El Salvador to Honduras...

, a war against Honduras
Honduras
Honduras is a republic in Central America. It was previously known as Spanish Honduras to differentiate it from British Honduras, which became the modern-day state of Belize...

 who the team had defeated.

See also




Further reading

  • "Background Notes", Background Notes: El Salvador, January 2008. Accessed March 6, 2008.
  • Bonner, Raymond. Weakness and Deceit: U.S. Policy and El Salvador. New York: Times Books, 1984.
  • CIA World Factbook, "El Salvador", February 28, 2008. Accessed March 6, 2008.
  • "Country Specific Information", U.S. State Department, October 3, 2007. Accessed March 6, 2008.
  • Danner, Mark. The Massacre at El Mozote: A Parable of the Cold War. New York: Vintage Books, 1994.
  • Foley, Erin. 'Cultures of the world, El Salvador. 1995
  • Montgomery, Tommie Sue. Revolution in El Salvador: From Civil Strife to Civil Peace. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1995.
  • Vilas, Carlos. Between Earthquakes and Volcanoes: Market, State, and the Revolution America. New York: Monthly Review Press. 1995.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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