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From the so late 1970s to the beforehand 1990s, El Salvador was the emphasis of global attention, fan to its civil war and also to outside involvement in its interior conflicts. The war, i beg your pardon pitted a militarily and also politically capable left-wing insurgency versus the U.S.-backed Salvadoran equipped Forces, was resulted in by decades of repressive, military-dominated rule and also profound society inequality. Adhering to the joined Nations-mediated 1992 peace accords, which contained basic provisions for El Salvador’s democratization (including the removed of the armed forces from politics affairs), the country started to recuperate from year of political and economic turmoil, just to be ravaged by Hurricane Mitch in 1998 and also by a significant earthquake in 2001. Skyrocketing crime, faltering economic growth, and persistent social inequality have more hampered full postwar reconstruction.


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The Pipil (descendants of the Aztecs), the predominant tribe in the region prior come the Spanish conquest, named their territory and also capital Cuscatlán, definition “Land that the Jewel”; the name is tho sometimes applied to El Salvador today. The mix of the Pipil and also other tribes through European inhabitants is reflect in the modern-day ethnic ingredient of the country. El Salvadorans are recognized for your industriousness, and also the country has created several around the world acclaimed artists, including poet Roque Dalton.


El Salvador is bounded through Honduras come the north and also east, by the Pacific ocean to the south, and by Guatemala to the northwest. Its region is situated wholly top top the western next of the isthmus, and it is thus the only central American nation that lacks a Caribbean coast. The entire territory of El Salvador is situated on the main American volcanic axis, which determines the significant geographic areas of the country.


Relief in El Salvador is overcame by the main highlands, consisting mostly of a west-east line of volcanoes (some the which are still active) cross the center of the country. This volcanic range includes 20 cones, native the westernmost Izalco Volcano (6,447 feet <1,965 metres>), v those of mountain Salvador (6,430 feet <1,960 metres>) and also San Miguel (6,988 feet <2,130 metres>), to the of Conchagua (4,078 feet <1,243 metres>) in the extreme east. This volcanoes room separated by a series of basins (commonly referred to as El Salvador’s central plain), lying in ~ elevations of in between 3,500 and 5,000 feet (1,000 and also 1,500 metres), whose productive soils, acquired from volcanic ash, lava, and also alluvium, have for centuries supported the farming of crops. To the south, wherein the main highlands give means to the Pacific coast, is a narrow seaside plain with average elevations of between 100 and 500 feet (30 and also 150 metres).

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

Extending along the whole northern border region are a range of highlands, with typical elevations that 5,000 to 6,000 feet (1,500 to 1,800 metres), developed by old and heavily eroded volcanic structures. The steepness that slope, too much forest clearance, and overuse that soils have led to serious deterioration of the atmosphere of this north region. In the extreme northwestern component of the country, there are limited outcrops of limestone rock associated with the older nonvolcanic frameworks of Honduras.


Two primary river systems and their associated tributaries drain the significant part the the country. Most necessary is the Lempa, which enters El Salvador native Guatemala in the northwestern corner of the country and flows eastward because that 80 mile (130 km) throughout the interior plain to type part of the border v Honduras before transforming sharply southern to operation 65 miles (105 km) v the central highlands and across the seaside plain come its mouth on the Pacific. The Lempa was navigable for number of miles inland before the construction of two major hydroelectric installations on its center reaches in the mid-1950s. The eastern component of the country is drained through the Rio Grande de san Miguel system. A collection of short north-south streams drain straight from the central highlands to the Pacific. Submarine volcanic craters constitute the country’s biggest bodies of water: Lakes Coatepeque (15 square mile <39 square km>), Ilopango (40 square miles <100 square km>), and also Olomega (20 square mile <52 square km>).

Lake Coatepeque, El Salvador
Lake Coatepeque, one of the largest of a line of flooded volcanic craters in west El Salvador.
Lawrence Berlin/Photo Researchers


Less than one-fifth that El Salvador’s soils are perfect for agriculture. The main plain and also interior valleys have mostly volcano soils the are relatively fertile yet that are also vulnerable come erosion. The southern coast has level, fertile alluvial soils, deposit by the numerous little rivers draining indigenous the central highlands. Merged with high year-round temperatures and also abundant rainfall, they provide favourable problems for tree growth and agriculture.

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The climate the El Salvador is tropical yet is moderated by elevation in the interior; in basic it is heat rather than hot, varying in between the high 50s and also low 70s F (about 15 and 23 °C). Heavy rains, recognized as the temporales, loss in the winter season, from might to October. The dried summer season lasts indigenous November to April. Over there is significant climatic variation in the different regions. The Pacific lowlands and also low locations in the center Lempa flow valley have actually mean monthly temperatures in between the high 70s and 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 preferably monthly typical 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), typical monthly temperatures vary in between the low 60s and also low 70s F (about 17 and 22 °C). Yearly precipitation on the Pacific lowlands averages about 65 to 70 inches (about 1,700 mm); ~ above the southern and also northern hill ranges, in ~ elevations between 2,000 and 3,500 feet (600 and 1,060 metres), the average is in between 70 and 100 customs (1,800 and 2,500 mm); the greater mountains receive a small more. Annual precipitation videotaped in the deeper valleys and also surrounding plateaulike areas is between about 45 and 60 customs (1,100 and also 1,500 mm).