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El Salvador Information - Page 2
The Spanish arrived in Cuzcatlan, later renamed El Salvador, around 1520. Within twenty years El Salvador was a Spanish Colony.

Spain ruled El Salvador for almost three centuries. Independence was achieved in 1821. Soon after independence, El Salvador, along with other Central American countries, was annexed by Mexico. Following the collapse of the union (1823) El Salvador became a member of UPCA, the United Provinces of Central America. Other members of UPCA were Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. The union dissolved in 1840.

An expansion of El Salvador's coffee industry in the 1860s led to coffee becoming the mainstay of the country's economy. However, the industry was controlled by a minority of the population causing discontent amongst the poor and the working population.

In 1931 a coup installed General Maximiliano Hernandez Martinez as president of El Salvador. The General remained in charge of the country until 1944. This was one of a succession of military-backed governments which were to follow.

Unrest in El Salvador continued. The opposition group, FMLN (Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front), intensified its activities towards the end of the 1970s. By the 1980's El Salvador was engaged in a civil war which left over seventy thousand people dead.

In 1991 FMLN became a recognized political party. This was followed by a peace agreement between FMLN and the government, brokered by the United Nations.

El Salvador's economy suffered from the global recession in 2009.

A significant percentage of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is derived from remittances; in 2010 the economy began to recover helped by money sent home by Salvadorans working in other countries.

The largest percentage of the working population is employed in the services sector which also provides the largest percentage of El Salvador's GDP.

Industry's contribution to the GDP has increased. Major industries are petroleum, chemicals, fertilizer, light metals, furniture, textiles, food processing and beverages.

The agricultural sector accounts for the smallest percentage of the GDP. Agricultural products are beans, coffee, corn, oilseed, rice, sorghum, sugarcane, tropical fruits, dairy products and beef. Cotton is also grown. Shrimp farming takes place along the coast.

Modern Salvadoran writers include Roque Dalton (1935-1975), a poet, and Manilo Argueta (born 1935), a novelist and poet. Works of both writers reflect the political situation of their time.

Cultural institutions in El Salvador are the National Symphony Orchestra, the National Chorus, and the National Theater.

Football is the most popular sport in El Salvador. Other sports include baseball, basketball and softball.

Christmas and Easter are celebrated. Other holidays include New Year's Day - 1 January, Labour Day - 1 May, and Teachers' Day - 22 June. The fiesta for El Salvador del Mundo is celebrated in the first week of August.

News from El Salvador is available from Newslink.

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