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El Salvador – Country Profile and General Information

El Salvador, officially the Republic of El Salvador, is a sovereign country in Central America located on the coast of the Pacific Ocean with a territorial extension of 21,041 km². In 2018 it had an estimated population of 7,329,015 inhabitants, being the most densely populated country in the American continent, not including some islands in the Caribbean Sea.

El Salvador borders Guatemala to the west and Honduras to the north and east, to the southeast the Gulf of Fonseca separates it from Nicaragua, and is flanked to the south by the Pacific Ocean. Its territory is organized into 13 departments, 35 districts and 249 municipalities. The city of San Salvador is the capital of the country; Its metropolitan area includes 14 nearby municipalities, and concentrates the country’s political and economic activity.

The current territory of El Salvador includes what was previously the Mayor’s Office of Sonsonate and what was the Intendancy of San Salvador that made up most of the territory. Both provinces acquired their independence from Spain in 1821 together with the General Captaincy of Guatemala and in 1824 they were united to form the “State of Salvador”, as part of the Federal Republic of Central America. In pre-Columbian times, there was an important indigenous nucleus known as the Señorío de Cuzcatlán (which in the Nahuat language means ‘place of jewels’ or ‘place of necklaces’).

A 12-year civil war, whose human cost reached approximately 75,000 lives, ended on January 16, 1992, when the government and the guerrillas signed the peace accords that led to military, social, and political reforms in the country.