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About El Salvador

The smallest and most densely populated country in Central America, El Salvador adjoins the Pacific in a narrow coastal plain, backed by a volcanic mountain chain, and a fertile plateau. About 90 percent of Salvadorans are mestizo; 9 percent claim Spanish descent. The rich volcanic soils brought coffee plantations—with a few, rich landowners and a subjugated peasant population. Economic inequality led to the 1980-1992 civil war; many Salvadorans, rich and poor, fled to the United States. El Salvador's democratic government shows success in adding manufacturing jobs—but faces the challenges of poverty, crime, and natural disasters.

Fast Facts 

Population: 6,881,000

Capital: San Salvador; 1,424,000

Area: 21,041 square kilometres (8,124 square miles)

Language: Spanish, Nahua

Religion: Roman Catholic, Evangelical

Currency: U.S. dollar

Life Expectancy: 70

GDP per Capita: U.S. $4,600

Literacy Percent: 80

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