El Salvador

Climate

Tropical; rainy season May to October; dry season November to April; tropical on the coast; temperate in the uplands.

History

The civilization of El Salvador dates from the pre-Columbian time, around 1500 B.C., according to evidence provided by the ancient structures of Tazumal in Chalchuapa.

The Spanish Admiral Andrés Niño lead an expedition to Central America and disembarked on the Island Meanguera, located in the Gulf of Fonseca, on May 31st, 1522. This was the first Salvadoran territory visited by the Spaniards. In June, 1524, Spanish Captain Pedro de Alvarado began a predatory war against the native tribes of Cuzcatlán. During 17 days of bloody battles many natives and Spaniards died. Pedro de Alvarado was defeated and, with an injury to his left hip, abandoned the fight and fled to Guatemala, appointing his brother, Gonzalo de Alvarado, to continue with the conquest of Cuzcatlán. Later, his cousin Diego de Alvarado established the Villa of San Salvador in April 1525. King Carlos I of Spain granted San Salvador the title of City in the year 1546. During the following years, El Salvador developed under Spanish rule.

Towards the end of 1810, a feeling of a need for freedom arose among the people of Central America and the moment to break the chains of slavery arrived at dawn on November 5th, 1811, when the Salvadoran priest, Jose Matías Delgado, sounded the bells of the Iglesia La Merced in San Salvador, making a call for insurrection. After many internal fights, the Acta de Independencia Act of Independence of Central America was signed in Guatemala on September 15th, 1821.

In December of 1931, the corrupt and incompetent regime of the Labour Party, headed by Manuel Araujo, was overthrown and General Maximiliano Hernández Martínez assumed the presidency. The fraudulent elections of January 1932 were the detonating factor of the social outbreak. Several voting sites were suspended in populations in which the Communist Party had a strong presence. A new insurrection began. After two frustrated assaults on the Cuartel de Caballería Cavalry Quarters were conducted by the rebel forces, the government ordered martial law. Strict censorship of the press was implemented. In the following days thousands of farmers and workers, carrying machetes and some few "Mauser" rifles attacked police stations, municipal offices, telegraph stations, warehouses, and wealthy landowners' properties. This insurrection was crushed. On January 31st, Manuel Antonio Castañeda sentenced Farabundo Martí to death. He was shot and killed on February 1st, 1932.

Over the next decades, many coups d'états followed, including the one that overthrew General Maximiliano Hernández Martínez.

Relations with Honduras deteriorated in the late 1960s. There was a border clash in 1967, and a four-day so-called Football war Soccer War, as it was named by the international mass media, broke out in July 1969. The war ended with a cease-fire prompted by pressure from the United States and the Organization of American States. The Salvadoran forces that had invaded Honduras were withdrawn. They were just a few kilometers outside Honduras' capital.

A movement of organized leftist guerrillas sprang up in 1974 and 1975, amid increasing political violence. In 1980, three of the leftist organizations united to coordinate a fight against the government. This movement was called FMLN Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional. English: Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front. In March of the same year Monseñor Oscar Arnulfo Romero, the archbishop of San Salvador, was assassinated while he was celebrating mass. It is widely believed that the order for his execution came from Major Roberto D'Abuisson, the founder and leader of ARENA, a right-wing party. D'Abuisson is best known for his suspected involvement in death squad murders. He died of cancer in 1992. On January 16th, 1992, the government of El Salvador and the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front FMLN, signed Los Acuerdos de Paz Peace Accords in Chapultepec, Mexico, putting an end to one of the most painful chapters in the history of El Salvador. The 12 years of armed conflict claimed the lives of over 75,000 people and caused the exodus of hundreds of thousands more who fled to the United States, Canada, and other countries in order to escape the violence.

Today, El Salvador is stable and with a growing economy, leaving behind its painful history.

Holidays
Date English Name Local Name Remarks
March/April Easter Semana Santa Celebrated with carnival-like events in different cities by the large Catholic population
May 1 Labor Day Día del Trabajo International Labour Day
May 10 Mother's Day Día de la Madre .
August 1–7 August Carnival Fiestas Agostinas Week long festival in celebration of El Salvador del Mundo, patron saint of El Salvador.
September 15 Independence Day Día de independencia Celebrates independence from Spain, achieved in 1821AD
October 12 Columbus Day Día de la Raza This day commemorates the arrival of Europeans in the Americas
November 2 Day of the Dead Día de los Difuntos A day on which people usually visit the graves of deceased loved ones.
November final week San Miguel's Carnival Carnaval de San Miguel Week long carnival in San Miguel
December 25 Christmas Day Navidad Salvadorans stay up on December 24th until 12AM to welcome Christmas with a huge "arsenal" of firecrackers
December 31 New Year's Año nuevo Salvadorans stay up on December 31st until 12AM to welcome the New Year the same way as Christmas You can hear the deafening sound of the firecrackers on both days all over the country.