According to Countryaah, El Salvador has been populated by the Chibcha people since time immemorial, with the Pipil and Lenca constituting the two largest subgroups. The Mayans also settled in the country, but had no major influence.
After defeating the Aztecs in Mexico, the Spaniards continued under the leadership of Pedro de Alvarado the conquest of Central America. In 1525, Alvarado founded the city of El Salvador de Cuscatlán. The area was part of the General Command in Guatemala, which was again subject to the Spanish Viceroy in Mexico. Central America freed itself from the Spaniards in 1821 and organized itself as a federal state.
The rivalry between the “imperialists” and the “republicans” led to the outbreak of the civil war in 1827. The president of the Central American Republic, General Fransisco Morazán, tried to prevent the dissolution of the Alliance from 1839. He started the fight for the preservation of the Alliance with El Salvador Native American population group the nonulcs, under the leadership of Anastasio Aquino. Morazán’s forces suffered defeat in 1840 and he was sent into exile while Anastasio Aquino was arrested and executed.
When the land was divided, the English gained relatively easy control of the area. When President Doroteo Vasconcelos in 1848 refused to bow to the English pressure, the Salvadoran ports were blocked. In the last third of the century, English domination was replaced by that of the United States.
With the invention of artificial dyes at the end of the century, world market prices of indigo, which until then had been El Salvador’s primary export item, were replaced by coffee. The Liberalists’ revolution of 1880, fueled by the need for land for the new crop, led to the expulsion of thousands of peasants from the collective lands – creating a land-working class, but also laying the ground for a permanent conflict in the lands. The “coffee goods owners” became the country’s dominant class in the subsequent period.
- AllCityPopulation: Find El Salvador demographics including latest population, life expectancy, age structure, and urbanization.
As a result of the economic world crisis of 1929, coffee became a very marketable product; one failed to reap the coffee and thousands of day laborers and peasants were left to their own destiny. On January 22, 1932, a popular uprising began, inspired by the Communist Party led by Farabundo Marti, who had previously been Secretary of Augusto Sandino during the resistance campaign against the North Americans invasion of Nicaragua.
The insurrection was quelled in the birth of General Maximiliano Hernández Martínez’s forces; he had conquered power in 1931, becoming the first of a series of military regimes to lead the country for the next 50 years. The fight against the uprising cost up to 12,000 people.
In late 1960, the industrialization of the country began within the framework of the Central American Common Market with the assistance of the “Progress Alliance”. Although high rates of growth could be noted, it was not enough to alleviate the unemployment that had caused 300,000 landless peasants to leave the country in the past centuries and apply for Honduras. These demographic pressures, coupled with internal competition from the industrial bourgeoisie, led El Salvador to start the war against Honduras in June 1969. The 100-hour bloody conflict caused the crackdown in the Central American common market to crack and the Salvadoran industrial sector smoked into a crisis.