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Posted by on Oct 1, 2012 | 23 comments

27 Interesting Facts About El Salvador

27 Interesting Facts about El Salvador

 

How much do you know about El Salvador?  This small Central American country does not receive the attention it deserves.  I have visited many times and still feel like I have only scratched the surface.  The truth is that El Salvador is more “developed” and varied than many people think. Here are some interesting facts that might surprise you.

  • It has the third largest economy in Central America (behind Costa Rica and Panama).
  • The rainy season (May to October) is called winter (invierno) even though those months are considered summer for the Northern Hemisphere.
  • It is known as the “Land of the Volcanoes” because of the more than 20 volcanoes in the territory. Two of them are currently active.
  • It has a population of almost 7 millions in an area slightly smaller than the state of Massachusetts (or Wales).  This fact makes El Salvador the most densely populated country in the Americas.
  • Spanish is the official language but Nahuatl is still spoken in some regions.

The torogoz, the national bird

 

  • Salvadorans are extremely friendly, warm and hospitable.
  • 64% of the population lives in urban areas.
  • The national bird is known as the torogoz (turquoise-browed motmot).
  • It is the smallest country in Central America and the only one without a Caribbean coastline.
  • The cell phone density is one of the largest in the world (125 per 100 persons).
  • 19% of the population lives with less than $1.25 per day.

Izalco Volcano

 

  • Tropical forest and overall forest cover has expanded in the last two decades making it one of the few countries experiencing reforestation.
  • Tourism is the fastest growing sector of the Salvadoran economy.
  • Salvadorans are known as “guanacos.”
  • Four species of sea turtles make the coasts of El Salvador their home.
  • The country has declared five national parks: El Imposible, Cerro Verde, El Boqueron, Conchagua and Montecristo.
  • El Salvador is the only Central American country that has no visible population of African descent. This is in part due to laws established during colonial and modern times prohibiting   entrance to the country of people of African descent.

El Imposible National Park

 

  • Various indigenous groups such as the Mayas and the Lencas inhabited El Salvador’s territory during pre-Columbian times.  However, the country was “conquered” when the Spaniards took control of the Kingdom of Cuzcatlan inhabited by the Pipiles (a group descending from the Aztecs).
  • The country experienced a bloody civil war from 1979 to 1992. Some estimate 80,000 perished during the war.
  • Salvadorans use voseo like Argentineans and Uruguayans (the use “vos” as the second person pronoun instead of “tu”).
  • The national soccer team has attended the FIFA World Cup two times.
  • International surfing competitions have taken place in El Salvador because of its beaches.  It is common to see people with surfing boards at the international airport.
  • There is one UNESCO World Heritage Site in the country: Joya de Ceren.  This site was buried in ashes by a volcanic eruption and it is considered the “Pompeii of the Americas.”

The town of Ataco

 

  • Some words used in El Salvador: chucho (dog instead of perro), chuco(dirty instead of sucio), pisto (money instead of dinero), salu (goodbye instead of adios).
  • Many critics and journalist consider Salvadoran soccer player, Magico Gonzales as one of the best soccer players in history.
  • It has the largest mall and airport in Central America.
  • The national dish is the famous pupusa (which dates from pre-Columbian times).

What any other interesting fact can you add?  Does any particular fact surprised you?  Let me know in the comments section below.

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27 Interesting facts about El Salvador.  Learn more about this Central American country.

 

23 Comments

  1. Well… Just to correct some “facts”….
    * El Salvador has 177 volcanoes, 20 of them are active but only 2 have been visibly active in the last 10 years.
    * the native language is Nahuat (yeah with T in the end… One letter makes a difference).
    * even though we have lots of volcanoes, El Salvador is known as “The Valley of Hammocks” or Valle de las Hamacas in Spanish due to the high sismisity in the region.

    • Nadia,

      Thanks for stopping by and for your comment.

      Notice that in the text I didn’t write the exact number of volcanoes in El Salvador. It is kind of difficult to find detailed and credible information on this topic. The book ‘Volcanoes of the World’ (which seems to be the most authorative text on the topic) list 22 volcanoes in El Salvador. I am not sure what type of volcanoes the authors describe in the book but it gives the impression that it refers to any type of volcano. In addition, I am not sure how these experts list volcanoes. For example, the book lists the Apaneca Range as one volcano but I have seen others (people in El Salvador) to describe the different peaks in the range as different volcanoes. That is why I wrote the country has more than 20 volcanoes because it is a number in the 22 ballpark. Can you direct me to the source that lists the 177 volcanoes? I would like to take a look.

      In terms of the language of the Pipiles, I admit I made an error. For what I found, the most accepted way to refer to the language is Nahuatl. I read in El Salvador it is often referred to as Nahuat or Nawat. Nahua is the people and Nahuatl is the language (I actually knew that but don’t know why I wrote it wrong). So I fixed the error by using the most accepted spelling (not your suggestion).
      Ruth recently posted..Point Vicente at DuskMy Profile

    • I found more about the number of volcanoes in El Salvador by doing a search in Spanish (not in English, duh). I found more information from the Territorial Studies National Service (Servicio Nacional de Estudios Territoriales, a Salvadoran institution). The 177 number comes from a 1973 text. However, recent geological investigations, survey work and specific criteria, has led the institution to list 23 volcanoes and 5 volcanic fields exist in El Salvador.

    • you must really have some attention issues to correct a person by using incorrect facts. Its really sad, and honestly makes you look horrible

      • Talking to Nadia btw

    • firstly,read what she(Ruth) wrote about volcanoes because it was correct. Also, Nahuat was an old language spoken in some areas still, but Spanish is their official language.
      ray recently posted..La Jolla in PhotosMy Profile

    • The correct spelling should be Nahuatl:

      Na·hua·tl
      ˈnäˌwätl/
      noun
      1.
      a member of a group of peoples native to southern Mexico and Central America, including the Aztecs.
      2.
      the Uto-Aztecan language of the Nahuatl.
      adjective
      1.
      relating to the Nahuatl or their language.

  2. I enjoyed reading this article. It truly makes me feel proud of my country.
    In addition, I learned new things about El Salvador that I did not consider as a fact but as a statement, Thanks to this website I now have more knowledge about my native country.

  3. Hi, great list! Brings back many fond memories of my time there.

    Clarification regarding the following: “El Salvador is the only Central American country that has no visible population of African descent.”

    My understanding is the principle reason there are no visible people of African descent is the people brought over as slaves were kept, then settled, close to the Atlantic. Traveling through Central America most people of African descent seem to be in the eastern regions.

    When was the law enacted?

    Best! sm

    • Hello Sherri,

      Thanks for stopping by and thanks for your comment.

      From your comment, I am not sure if you are disputing the fact or if you are just trying to add more information.

      Anyway, the fact is just saying you do not see big groups (or even many individuals) of African descent in El Salvador. In other Central American countries and in the Caribbean, the African descent is visible not only in the people but on the culture, festivities and words used in the colloquial language. I am not suggesting slaves never made it to El Salvador.

      Wikipedia explains the reason behind this fact: “Africans that were brought to El Salvador completely mixed into the Mestizo population, creating Afro-Mestizo Salvadorans. Africans are also not visible because of El Salvador’s isolation from the Atlantic Central American coastline, where the slave trade occurred for centuries. This scarcity of African population is also due to laws imposed by the Spanish and Criollos around the 17th century after a slave revolt in San Salvador, which were sustained by authorities even after independence was won from Spain in 1821, and slavery was abolished. During most of the 20th century, immigration of people of African descent was restricted by law. General Maximiliano Hernández Martínez instituted race laws in 1930 that prohibited four[clarification needed] ethnic groups — blacks, Gypsies, and Asians — from entering the country. It was not until the 1980s that this law was rescinded, although it was never implemented forcefully”.

      Hope this answers your question.
      Ruth recently posted..The 17-Mile Drive in PhotosMy Profile

    • Thank you for this article. Just to answer reader’s question: El Salvador does not have african descendents because back in the 1930’s president and general Maximiliano Martinez passed on a law where he did not allow slaves. During those times, slaves were no longer purchased in the US so human trafickers brought them to the rest of America.Hope you find this information useful

      • El Salvador was actually the 2nd country in the Americas to abolish slavery after Haiti. The laws have been speculated to proceed in part from a racial standpoint as the population underwent a “lightening” period where European immigration was encouraged while other races were considered undesireable. In the 18th century nearly 80% of the population in San Miguel identified as mulatto and having african decent, by the next century the public had been systematically taught to accept the “mestizo” (european and amerindian) terminology despite having african ancestry. Mostly due to political and social oppression. Today, many salvadorans will stand with that assumption and may even be reluctant to accept the influence that the slave era had in the Salvadoran geneology.

  4. Very nice; just to add a few things to your magnificent collection, El Salvador has also been know as El Faro de las Americas because of it’s constant volcanic activity. The First Capital of El Salvador was founded in Suchitoto, Cuscatlán, El Salvador. The beaches of El Salvador are the only beaches know to be comprised entirely of black volcanic sand and you forgot to mention Jose Arturo Castellanos Contreras who happens to be very important to El Salvador’s history. Overall, I’m impressed by your knowledge of my country. Thank you and God Bless.

  5. I forgot to mention that Suchitoto,El Salvador was the hub or the main producer of the Anil (royal blue) color, used in many of the great Mayan pyramids and Temples throughout Central America. The color blue as we know it was later reproduced in laboratories and patented by German Scientists.

  6. We travel extensive together and your advice are sound, tested and true.

    Great post

  7. Hello, I was looking for some mainstream and non mainstream sites and activities in El Salvador, I was wondering If I can get some help.

    Thanks in advance if anyone replied.

  8. el salvadors full name was “provincia de de nuestro senor jesucristo,El salvador del mundo.

  9. Actually there r 23 active volcanoes.

  10. Thank you , for helping me with my Homework
    P.S My mother also got the volcano part wrong

  11. Hey Ruth,

    What an Amazing Post!!

    I completely agree with you that El Salvador is considered one of the main countries with most activity and history in Central America, a fascinating region in the Americas.

    From San Salvador, the capital city of the country, to Ahuachapan and Santa Ana, El Salvador is a place of friendly people and beauty, where there are several historical and natural wonders.

    I must say that it is a beautiful country to visit. And If you’re looking for gambling options, El Salvador casinos are the best place you are searching for!!

    Cheers!!
    Adam Bennett recently posted..7 People Who Lied About TragediesMy Profile

  12. This was really useful for my homework,thanks!!!

  13. hey ruth can you help me with my project about el salvador

  14. How many volcanoes are in El Salvador? 177, 23, 22, or 20?

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