Nations of the World 1: El Salvador

A nation plagued by disfunction and a dark past. A resilient people willing to do what ever it takes to survive. This is El Salvador

The+Flag+of+El+Salvador%0A
Back to Article
Back to Article

Nations of the World 1: El Salvador

The Flag of El Salvador

The Flag of El Salvador

The Flag of El Salvador

The Flag of El Salvador

Lord Toussaint, Reporter in Chief

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Hello Cougars! I decided that I would start a new segment on the nations of the world. Most people know little about the world around them, and I find this to be a problem. With my love of geography I decided I would address this issue by starting a geography segment. Every month, I will spin the globe, and what ever nation it lands on will be the one I write on. The article will entail the nation’s political geography, physical geography, history, government, economy, culture, and more. The first nation , so let’s begin.

El Salvador, a land of natural beauty in western Mesoamerica, was once home to the great Pipil people, who fought off the Spanish conquistadors until the end. Today, it is the home of the Salvadoran people. A resilient people, who have suffered the blunt of civil war, internal instability, and natural disaster. Despite these difficulties, the Salvadoran people have proven to be resourceful and eternally resilient. They possess the ability to live off their wit, the beautiful land that they possess, and make everything work with their own distinctive flare.

Eighty six percent of El Salvadorans identify as Mestizo, which is a mix of European and Amerindian peoples. The main indigenous population of El Salvador before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors were the Pipil people, who were descendants of the Aztecs. The Pipil fiercely resisted Spanish conquest, but eventually subdued. The Pipil, along with other indigenous groups mixed with the Europeans, and created the large mestizo population found in El Salvador today.

El Salvador gained independence from Spain on September 15th, 1821, along with Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Costa Rica. After the signing of the Act of Central American Independence in Guatemala City, these countries formed the Federal Republic of Central America, which lasted until 1840, when it fell apart in political disarray . After the fall of the Federal Republic of Central America, El Salvador was on its own, and the first true Salvadoran republic formed.

From the beginning of El Salvador’s existence, the agriculture has always been a major part of their economy. It was a banana and coffee republic and still has an agricultural sector, but, now one of El Salvador’s main economic sectors is the services sector, which now makes up three fifths of the Salvadoran economy. This amounts to about 16 billion dollars. The currency of El Salvador was the Salvadoran Colon from 1892 to 2001. It was replaced by the US dollar in 2001 in order create economic stability after the civil war years. The Colon is still accepted by some businesses, but it is no longer printed by the government.

The government of the Republic of El Salvador operates under the constitution of 1983, which the divides the government into three branches, the legislative, the executive, and the judicial branches. The legislative branch, which is composed of a national assembly, is unicameral, has 84 seats, and members have three-year terms. The president exercises the executive powers of El Salvador and is the head of state. He or she is elected for five-year terms, via a popular election, and may not succeed him of herself according to the Salvadoran Constitution of 1983. The current president of El Salvador is Nayib Buckele, as of June 1st ,2019. He is a millennial and was born on July 24th, 1981. The highest court in the land is the Salvadoran Supreme Court. “Justices have nine-year terms, with a renewal of one third of the judges every three years”. The county is divided into fourteen departments, which are further subdivided into municipalities. The two main political parties of El Salvador are the right-wing National Liberation Front and the leftist Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, or FMLN.
The Salvadoran Civil War lasted from 1980 to 1992. It was a conflict between the leftist guerilla group FMLN, and a slur of US backed Salvadoran regimes. The Salvadoran people had been oppressed by numerous of military regimes for nearly fifty years. These regimes were largely dysfunctional, often abused human rights, and were often deposed by other military coups. The military dictatorships did not hold on to power simply by brute military force, but with the support of the wealthy, who feared that if a leftist group were to take power, their own fortunes would be threatened. The elite class began to notice that they could not rely only on the military for their wellbeing, so they created a political party called the National Liberation Front, and eventually the military dictatorships and the junta governments would fall. Despite the formation of this new party, and the eventual adoption of a new constitution in 1983, the people were still tired of the oppression of the government, and the civil war raged on. The multiple guerilla groups banded together and formed the FMLN. El Salvador’s governing regimes were backed by the Regan administration, which feared the further development of communism on the US’s doorstep. The US trained Salvadoran soldiers, gave equipment, and helped finance the government’s military efforts through foreign aid. Ten years into the war, UN mediated peace talks began, and after almost two years of UN mediated negotiations, in January of 1992, both sides finally signed a peace agreement. The war left seventy-five thousand dead, a battered economy, and ravaged infrastructure. The FMLN became a political party and along with the NLF, has been the dominant force in Salvadoran politics. El Salvador is still plagued with violence, especially form crimes and gangs due to the large number of firearms that are still in circulation as a result of the civil war.

El Salvador has a population of 6.5 million and is the most densely populated country in central America. The capital and largest city is San Salvador, with a population of five hundred and twenty-five thousand. Other major cities include, Syapango, with three hundred and twenty-nine thousand people. Santa Anna, with one hundred and seventy-six thousand people. San Miguel, with one hundred and sixty-one thousand people, and Mejicanos, with one hundred and sixty thousand people.

El Salvador is a land with all kinds of foods. Due to its location on the Pacific coast, sea food, such as fish, clams, octopus, snails, and squid, are common. Due to its lush and arable land, crops and meats are also popular. Popular meats include, chicken, pork, and beef. Corn is the predominant vegetable in the country; almost every dish includes corn. Popular dishes include, pupusas, which are stuffed corn tortillas, pollo encebollado, a dish of chicken and onions, and yuca frita, a deep-fried cassava root vegetable dish.
El Salvador, like most countries in Mesoamerica, was heavily influenced by the Spanish. The nation speaks Spanish and follows many of Spain’s religious traditions. The nation’s main religions are Roman Catholicism at 50% of the population and protestant Christianity at 36% of the population. Twelve percent adhere to no faith, and 2% adhere to other faiths. Spanish influence on Salvadoran culture can be seen in its holidays and celebrations. El Salvador partakes in many usual Christian traditions, but also has some of its own unique traditions and celebrations. One of these celebrations is August Fest which celebrates the transfiguration of Jesus Christ before his disciples Peter, James and John. The Festivities last from August first to August sixth. There are marching bands, dancing, singing and more. Another uniquely Salvadoran celebration is the Flower and Palm Festival of Panchimalco, a town near San Salvador. Celebrated on the first Sunday of May, the festival was originally pre-Columbian, and was meant to celebrate the beginning of the rainy season. As time passed, it also began to honor the patron saints of the village, the Virgin of the Rosary and the Virgin of Conception. To celebrate, women create large decorations out of palm fronds and flowers by skewering the flower blooms into the frond. A procession if held by dancing men, and at the end of the day a mass is held. Salvadoran culture has been impacted by Spanish culture and it is evident the impact the Spaniards have had on El Salvador. The beautiful thing about Salvadoran culture, is that although it may be predominantly Spanish influenced, it still holds on to aspects of pre-Colombian tradition, and fuses two together.
Despite the numerous difficulties that the Salvadoran people have been forced to face, they have proven to be resilient and resourceful. The turbulent history of the Salvadoran people gives them motivation to succeed and overcome the obstacles they face as a nation. Progress may be slow, but they have the means of improving their situation. Hopefully, in the near future, with their wit, they will be able to use their history and land in order to create a better country for themselves and their posterity.

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email