El Salvador is a country in Central America. Central America is the bridge of land in North America that connects it to South America. El Salvador is the smallest Central American country in land area, but it is the third largest in population. The country is bordered by Guatemala, Honduras, and the Pacific Ocean. San Salvador is its capital and largest city.
El Salvador has three main land regions. They are the Coastal Lowlands, the Central Region, and the Interior Highlands.
The Coastal Lowlands lie along the Pacific shore and extend inland for 10 to 20 miles (16 to 32 kilometers). Large sections of this area are used for farming.
The Central Region has most of the country’s industry and farmland. About three-fourths of the people live there.
The Interior Highlands in northern El Salvador have fewer people. El Salvador’s largest river, the Lempa, rises there in a mountain range called the Sierra Madre.
Most of the people of El Salvador are mestizos, or people whose ancestors were American Indians and whites. Some people are of European white ancestry and the rest are American Indians. Most of the Indians are related to the Pipil Indians who lived in El Salvador when the Spanish arrived.
The mestizos and white people follow Spanish-American ways of life and speak Spanish. Some of the American Indians follow the old ways of life, and speak the ancient language of the Pipils.
Resources and products
El Salvador’s main natural resource is its rich soil. Farming is very important in El Salvador. Ranchers raise beef and dairy cattle. Many of the farmers own small farms. Others work on large farms called fincas. Coffee is El Salvador’s leading farm product.
In recent years, new businesses have been started in El Salvador. However, factory products still make up only a small part of El Salvador’s income.
Nahua Indians came to what is now El Salvador almost 5,000 years ago. Between 1,000 and 2,000 years ago, Maya Indians built huge pyramids in western El Salvador.About 1,000 years ago, the Pipil Indians gained control of the lands west of the Lempa River.
The first Europeans in the area were Spanish soldiers who invaded El Salvador in 1524. El Salvador broke away from Spanish rule in 1821. In the late 1970′s, fighting broke out within El Salvador. This war ended in 1992.
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