El Salvador Facts

El Salvador Facts and History

North America

El Salvador, Spanish for “The Redeemer”, is a country in Central America that is located between Guatemala, Honduras and the Pacific Ocean and is located in one of the most active earthquake regions on earth.

The geographic structure is characterized by a chain of volcanoes, the highest representative of which is the 2,365 meter high Santa Ana in the west of the country.

With a size almost identical to that of the German state of Hesse, the República de El Salvador is also the smallest country in Central America.

The country, which is still marked by civil wars, has not yet been opened up for tourism, but it has a huge number of wonderful nature and culture to offer the interested visitor. In addition to the imposing volcanoes, the unreal lakes, the fascinating geysers, the picturesque lagoons, the tropical forests and nature parks, the country also invites you to visit the archaeological cultural riches – stone symbols of a bygone era. In addition, El Salvador has a coastline of over 300 kilometers on the Pacific Ocean.

Unfortunately, with 55 murders per 100,000 people in 2017, the country has a very high murder rate and gang nuisance is widespread.

Designation El Salvador
Form of government Presidential Republic
Head of state the president is both head of state and head of government
National anthem Saludemos la Patria orgullosos
National holiday September 15
Geographical location Central America
Population about 6.5 million (Credit: Countryaah: El Salvador Population)
Ethnicities about 90% mestizo, 9% have a European and 1% an indigenous descent
Religions about 80% belong to the Catholic Church, 15% are potentants (evangelicals), the rest are Muslims, Jews, Anglicans and religiously unrelated.
Official language Spanish
Capital San Salvador with about 1.8 million residents
Surface 21,041 km
Highest mountain the 2,730 m high El Pital on the border with Honduras
Longest river the 422 km long Rio Lempa with 320 km in El Salvador
Largest lake the 135 km² Suchitlán reservoir
National currency U.S. dollar
Time difference to CET -7 h
International phone code 00503 –
Mains voltage, frequency 230/400 volts, 50 hertz
Top Level Domain (TLD) .sv
International license plate IT

El Salvador: history

Independence of El Salvador

The Central American country known today as El Salvador was able to achieve its independence from the former colonial power Spain on September 15, 1821. Since 1839, the small country has also been independent of the “Confederación de Centroamérica”, i.e. the “Central American Confederation”.

According to Abbreviationfinder website, in 1882, the government of the country passed a law that removed the remnants of indigenous communal land and thus encouraged the expansion of the coffee plantations. The consequence of this massive intervention was that up to the turn of the century, 90% of all estates belonged to only 0.01% of the total population. Opposite them were the farmers, most of whom were landless and lived in extreme poverty.

“La Matanza” and the “Football War”

After General Maximiliano Hernández Martínez, Minister of Defense of El Salvador, had carried out a coup in 1930 and took power in the state, he had a bloody rebellion suppressed in 1932, led by indigenous Pipil farmers and directed by Agustín Farabundo Martí, the Leader of the country’s communist party. 30,000 deaths were the sad result of this measure, which Farabundo also fell victim to and which became generally notorious as “la Matanza” (= “the massacre”). La Mantanza represents the fall of the indigenous peoples of El Salvador.

In 1969 the small country was involved in the so-called “football war” with Honduraswhich was triggered by the fact that economic refugees from El Salvador were blamed for the economic problems in the country by the government of Honduras. The 300,000 or so Salvadorans who crossed the border into Honduras have taken possession of the land lying fallow in the border regions without legally acquiring it. The pent-up tensions discharged on July 14, 1969, after violent clashes during both countries’ World Cup qualifiers had resulted in deaths. The war lasted only 4 days, but it cost 3,000 lives. It could only be resolved through mediation attempts by the Organization of American States.

Civil War in El Salvador

Between 1980 and 1991, El Salvador sank in a bloody civil war that cost around 75,000 dead and billions in destruction over the entire eleven years. Although the actual trigger of the war was the murder of the liberation theologian Oscar Romero, there had already been strong social tensions in the country beforehand, which resulted from the considerable gap in prosperity in the country. The corrupt and brutal regime found support in the US President Ronald Reagan, to whom it was ideologically connected and to whom he not only sent military instructors, but also delivered military equipment. The civil war ended with the Chapultepec Peace Accords. While the rebel army FMLN was demobilized in 1992, the state army was halved. It was also decided to create democratic, civil and human rights institutions in the country under international surveillance.

El Salvador after the civil war until today

Indeed, after the end of the civil war, El Salvador has apparently evolved from an authoritarian regime to a democratic state structure. A clear step towards a real democratic situation was the election victory of the moderate left politician Mauricio Funes of the FMLN in the election of the president on March 15, 2009.

Funes won with around 51% of the votes against his rival from the right-wing Arena party.

Salvador Sánchez Cerén of the ruling Farabundo Martí Liberation Front (FMLN) has been president of the country since June 1, 2014.

El Salvador Facts