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North America

El Salvador

A map of El SalvadorA map of El Salvador El Salvador is the smallest—and most densely populatedcountry in Central America. It lies on the Pacific coast, in a volcanic region known as the Pacific Ring of Fire: it is constantly at risk from earthquakes. Along the coast there is a narrow strip of lowlands where farmers grow cotton and sugar cane. Inland, the land rises to a plateau with low mountains and volcanoes. El Salvador was once covered by thick rainforests, but these have been almost completely cleared to make way for farmland. The country has a tropical climate with hot, humid weather all year round; high up on the plateau, temperatures are cooler.

A map of El SalvadorA map of El Salvador

Metropolitan Cathedral, San SalvadorMetropolitan Cathedral, San Salvador


El Salvador’s population is mostly mestizo: people of mixed Spanish and Native American ancestry. Overcrowding and a shortage of land and resources have meant that a large number of Salvadorans are poor, especially those who live in the countryside. Many people have emigrated to the USA to work and send money home to their families.

El Salvador’s Izalco volcano was once known as the “Lighthouse of the Pacific”. From the early 1800s to the mid-1950s it erupted constantly; at night its glowing cone could be seen from far out at sea.

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