El Salvador
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Quick Facts



República de El Salvador


Capital: San Salvador


Currency: US Dollar


Population (July 2008): 7 million


Nationality: Salvadoran (s)


Religions: Roman Catholic 83%


Languages: Spanish, Nahua among the indigenous groups


Literacy: age 10 and over can read and write: 80.2%


Historical Background: El Salvador achieved independence from Spain in 1821 and from the Central American Federation in 1839. A 12-year civil war, which cost about 75,000 lives, was brought to a close in 1992 when the government and leftist rebels signed a treaty that provided for military and political reforms.


Borders Guatemala and Honduras and the Pacific Ocean


Climate: May – October is the rainy season and November – April is the dry season.  The weather is tropical on the coast and temperate in the highlands.


Terrain is mostly mountainous with a narrow coastal belt and a central plateau


Highest Point: Cerro El Pital at 2,730 m (8,900 ft)


Natural Resources: hydropower, geothermal power, petroleum, arable land


Natural Hazards: Frequent and at times very destructive earthquakes and volcanic activity.


Environmental Current Issues: deforestation; soil erosion; water pollution; contamination of soils from disposal of toxic wastes


Independence Day: September 15, 1821 from Spain


President: Elias Antonio Saca (since June 1, 2004)


Economic Overview: With the adoption of the US dollar as its currency, El Salvador has lost control over monetary policy and must concentrate on maintaining a disciplined fiscal policy. GDP per capita is roughly only half that of Brazil, Argentina, and Chile, and the distribution of income is highly unequal. The trade deficit has been offset by annual remittances of almost $2 billion from Salvadorans living abroad and external aid. The government is striving to open new export markets, encourage foreign investment, modernize the tax and healthcare systems, and stimulate the sluggish economy.


GDP Per Capita: $6,000


Unemployment Rate: 6.5% - but high underemployment (2007)


Agriculture Products: coffee, sugar, corn, rice, beans, oilseed, cotton, sorghum; shrimp; beef, dairy products


Industries: food processing, beverages, petroleum, chemicals, fertilizer, textiles, furniture, light metals


Export Commodities: offshore assembly exports, coffee, sugar, shrimp, textiles, chemicals, electricity


Trivia: El Salvador is the world's largest exporter of live iguanas.




28 Nov 2008

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