El Salvador Located in Central America on the Pacific coast Capital: San Salvador Population as of 2008: 6,133,910
El Salvador’s Flag • This flag design was adopted by El Salvador on September 27th, 1972 • The color white represents peace and honesty, while the color blue represents the sea and the sky. • The emblem in the center (the national coat of arms) shows: • Five flags representing the five countries of Central America • 14 laurel leaves representing the number of states • Five volcanoes representing the five countries in the Central American isthmus • The two oceans, the Pacific and Atlantic • An equilateral triangle representing equality • A rainbow representing hope • A knot representing unity
Independence Day • In the year 1821, El Salvador and the rest of the Central American countries declared independence from Spain. • In 1823, the United Provinces of Central America was formed by the five countries under General Manuel Jose Arce. • When this federation dissolved in 1838 El Salvador became and independent republic. • In it’s early years of independence there were many frequent revolutions and it wasn’t until around 1900-1930 that there was any form of relative stability. • The country was mainly ruled by the highly wealthy citizens. • Regular presidential elections were barely ever free or fair.
12-Year Civil War • In the 1970s, a civil war had broken out between the government (ruled by the right-wing National Conciliation party) and leftist antigovernment guerrilla groups. • This civil war broke out because of unhappiness with social inequalities, a bad economy, and repressive measures of dictatorship. • The US sided with the military dictatorship, despite its scores of human rights violations. • Between 1979 and 1981 around 30,000 people were killed by right-wing death squads. • Jose Napoleon Duarte (president from 1984-89) offered an alternative to the political extremes, but he couldn’t stop the war. • In 1989 Alfredo Cristiani of the right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance was elected. • On January 16th, 1992 the government signed a peace treaty with the guerrilla forces, finally ending the civil war which had killed about 75,000.
Soldiers’ Day • Every year on May 7th, people in El Salvador celebrate “Soldiers’ Day” or “Armed Forces Day”. • This day is celebrated by having a parade of the Armed Forces members • They also commemorate by having Air Force demonstrations followed up by ceremonies and parties at each of the military bases. • All relatives and friends are invited to celebrate along with the Armed Forces.
Joya de Cerén • In English, this means “Jewel of Cerén” • Joya de Cerén is an archeological site that presents a pre-Columbian farming village called Cerén • The village was first inhabited as early as 900 BC, but was completely evacuated around 590 AD due to a volcanic eruption from Loma Caldera nearby (much like the story of Pompeii, Italy). • When this village was discovered in 1976, no bodies were found. However, due to the 14 layers of ash that had fallen, everything else was substantially preserved. • Since the excavation started, about 70 buildings have been uncovered.
Izalco Volcano • Located about 28 miles North West of San Salvador, El Salvador, and about 2 miles South from its closest neighbor volcano, the Santa Ana volcano. • It is about 6,398 feet above sea level. It’s crater is about 656 feet wide and about 131 feet deep. • This volcano was in regular eruption periods from 1770 to 1966. • This is one of El Salvador’s 22 volcanoes.
José Matías Delgado • Delgado was the center figure for planning the liberty movement for the Central American countries. • Born in San Salvador on February 24th, 1767. He later grew up to get a pre-doctoral degree in Theology in Guatemala. • Due to his passionate patriotism, he was persecuted by many political figures. • On November 12th, 1832 he died, and he is buried at El Rosario Church.
Alicia Garcia • Alicia had experience many horrors during the El Salvador Civil War, such as the death squads, kidnappings, and other victimizations. • She co-founded the organization called “Comadres”, which helped the families dealing with loss because of the Civil War to fins justice and peace for their loved ones. • The organization created the Monument to Truth and Memory to honor those who were captured, tortured, or killed during the war. • She died recently on August 11th, 2010.
Fun Facts • El Salvador is the smallest as well as the most densely populated country in Central America. • El Salvador translated into English means “The Savior”. • El Salvador is the only country to start a war over soccer (a dispute with their neighbor, Honduras) • Since 2001, El Salvador has adopted the US Dollar as its main form of currency. It used to be only the colón. • El Salvador is one of the world’s most popular destination for surfing.
Bibliography • http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/675/ (Info about Joya de Ceren • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joya_de_Cer%C3%A9n (more info about Joya de Ceren) • http://www.volcanolive.com/izalco.html (info about Izalco Volcano) • http://lifestyle.iloveindia.com/lounge/facts-about-el-salvador-10286.html (fun facts) • http://www.botschaft-elsalvador.de/engl/HolidaysandFeasts.html (info about holidays like “Soldiers’ Day”) • http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0107489.html?pageno=2#axzz0wDcShm9A (info on 12-year civil war) • http://www.elsalvador.org/embajadas/eeuu/home.nsf/0/f5e161395982260d85256b0a005d2dee?OpenDocument (bio on Jose Matias Delgado) • http://luterano.blogspot.com/2010/08/mother-and-advocate-for-justice-alicia.html (info on Alicia Garcia) • Images I used were from Google Images