El Salvador

Facts & Figures

President: Salvador Sánchez Cerén (2014)

Land area: 8,000 sq mi (20,720 sq km); total area: 8,124 sq mi (21,040 sq km)

Population (2014 est.): 6,125,512 (growth rate: 0.27%); birth rate: 16.79/1000; infant mortality rate: 18.44/1000; life expectancy: 74.18

Capital and largest city (2011 est.): San Salvador, 1.605 million

Other large cities: Santa Ana, 167,200; San Miguel, 145,100; Zacatecoluca, 36,700

Monetary units: Colón; U.S. dollar

More Facts & Figures

Flag of El Salvador
  1. El Salvador Main Page
  2. El Salvador Suffers During 12-Year Civil War
  3. Gang Truce Leads to Drop in Crime
  4. Former Rebel Leader Narrowly Wins Presidential Election


Situated on the Pacific coast of Central America, El Salvador has Guatemala to the west and Honduras to the north and east. It is the smallest of the Central American countries, with an area equal to that of Massachusetts, and it is the only one without an Atlantic coastline. Most of the country is on a fertile volcanic plateau about 2,000 ft (607 m) high.




The Pipil Indians, descendants of the Aztecs, likely migrated to the region in the 11th century. In 1525, Pedro de Alvarado, a lieutenant of Cortés's, conquered El Salvador.

El Salvador, with the other countries of Central America, declared its independence from Spain on Sept. 15, 1821, and was part of a federation of Central American states until that union dissolved in 1838. For decades after its independence, El Salvador experienced numerous revolutions and wars against other Central American republics. From 1931 to 1979 El Salvador was ruled by a series of military dictatorships.

In 1969, El Salvador invaded Honduras after Honduran landowners deported several thousand Salvadorans. The four-day war became known as the “football war” because it broke out during a soccer game between the two countries.

Next: El Salvador Suffers During 12-Year Civil War
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