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From the late 1970s to the early 1990s, El Salvador was the focus of global attention, owing to its polite war and to exterior involvement in its internal conflicts. The war, i m sorry pitted a militarily and politically capable left-wing insurgency versus the U.S.-backed Salvadoran equipped Forces, was brought about by years of repressive, military-dominated rule and profound social inequality. Following the joined Nations-mediated 1992 peace accords, which contained fundamental provisions because that El Salvador’s democratization (including the removal of the army from politics affairs), the country began to recoup from years of political and also economic turmoil, only to be ruined by Hurricane Mitch in 1998 and also by a major earthquake in 2001. Skyrocketing crime, faltering financial growth, and also persistent social inequality have additional hampered complete postwar reconstruction.


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The Pipil (descendants the the Aztecs), the primary tribe in the region prior to the Spanish conquest, called their territory and also capital Cuscatlán, definition “Land of the Jewel”; the surname is tho sometimes applied to El Salvador today. The mix of the Pipil and also other tribes v European settlers is reflected in the modern-day ethnic composition of the country. El Salvadorans are well-known for their industriousness, and also the country has produced several around the world acclaimed artists, including poet Roque Dalton.


El Salvador is bounded through Honduras to the north and also east, by the Pacific s to the south, and by Guatemala to the northwest. Its are is located wholly on the western side of the isthmus, and it is as such the only main American country that lacks a Caribbean coast. The whole territory that El Salvador is situated on the main American volcano axis, which identify the significant geographic areas of the country.


Relief in El Salvador is dominated by the central highlands, consisting mostly of a west-east line of volcanoes (some of which are still active) crossing the centre of the country. This volcanic range includes 20 cones, from the westernmost Izalco Volcano (6,447 feet <1,965 metres>), with those of san Salvador (6,430 feet <1,960 metres>) and also San Miguel (6,988 feet <2,130 metres>), to that of Conchagua (4,078 feet <1,243 metres>) in the extreme east. This volcanoes space separated by a series of containers (commonly described as El Salvador’s main plain), lying in ~ elevations of between 3,500 and 5,000 feet (1,000 and 1,500 metres), whose productive soils, derived from volcano ash, lava, and also alluvium, have actually for centuries supported the farming of crops. Come the south, whereby the central highlands give method to the Pacific coast, is a narrow seaside plain with typical elevations of between 100 and 500 feet (30 and also 150 metres).

North of the main highlands, and also parallel come them, a large interior plain drained through the Lempa flow is located at elevations between 1,300 and also 2,000 feet (400 and 610 metres). Intermittently broken by ancient dormant volcano structures and also adversely affected by negative drainage and also high floor acidities, this interior plain has detailed a less-attractive environment for human habitation.

Extending along the whole northern border region are a range of highlands, with median elevations the 5,000 to 6,000 feet (1,500 to 1,800 metres), developed by ancient and greatly eroded volcanic structures. The steepness the slope, extreme forest clearance, and also overuse of soils have led to serious degradation of the environment of this north region. In the excessive northwestern component of the country, there are minimal outcrops of limestone rock linked with the enlarge nonvolcanic frameworks of Honduras.


Two major river systems and their associated tributaries drainpipe the major part the the country. Most essential is the Lempa, which enters El Salvador indigenous Guatemala in the northwestern edge of the country and flows eastward because that 80 mile (130 km) throughout the internal plain to type part that the border v Honduras before turning sharply south to run 65 miles (105 km) through the main highlands and across the seaside plain to its mouth on the Pacific. The Lempa to be navigable for several miles inland before the building and construction of two major hydroelectric installations top top its middle reaches in the mid-1950s. The eastern component of the nation is drained by the Rio Grande de san Miguel system. A series of short north-south streams drain straight from the central highlands come the Pacific. Submarine volcanic craters constitute the country’s biggest bodies that water: Lakes Coatepeque (15 square mile <39 square km>), Ilopango (40 square mile <100 square km>), and also Olomega (20 square mile <52 square km>).

Lake Coatepeque, El Salvador
Lake Coatepeque, among the biggest of a line of submarine volcanic craters in western El Salvador.
Lawrence Berlin/Photo Researchers


Less than one-fifth the El Salvador’s soils are an ideal for agriculture. The main plain and also interior valleys have mostly volcano soils the are relatively fertile yet that are likewise vulnerable come erosion. The southern coastline has level, productive alluvial soils, deposit by the numerous small rivers draining from the central highlands. Linked with high year-round temperatures and abundant rainfall, they administer favourable conditions for plant growth and also agriculture.

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The climate of El Salvador is tropical yet is moderated by elevation in the interior; in basic it is warmth rather than hot, varying in between the high 50s and low 70s F (about 15 and also 23 °C). Heavy rains, well-known as the temporales, loss in the winter season, from might to October. The dry summer season lasts from November to April. Over there is considerable climatic variation in the different regions. The Pacific lowlands and low areas in the middle Lempa flow valley have actually mean monthly temperatures between the high 70s and also mid-80s F (about 25 and also 29 °C). In san Salvador, the capital, which is 2,238 feet (682 metres) above sea level, the maximum monthly average temperature is in the mid-90s F (about 34 °C), in March, and also the lowest monthly average is in the low 60s F (about 17 °C), in January. In the mountains, over 4,800 feet (1,460 metres), mean monthly temperatures vary between the short 60s and also low 70s F (about 17 and also 22 °C). Annual precipitation ~ above the Pacific lowlands averages around 65 to 70 inches (about 1,700 mm); on the southern and also northern mountain ranges, at elevations in between 2,000 and 3,500 feet (600 and also 1,060 metres), the average is in between 70 and also 100 inches (1,800 and 2,500 mm); the higher mountains receive a tiny more. Annual precipitation tape-recorded in the depth valleys and also surrounding plateaulike locations is between about 45 and 60 customs (1,100 and also 1,500 mm).