Located on the Pacific Coast, bordering Guatemala and Honduras, El Salvador is geographically the smallest Central American country, with a land area of 8,124 square miles (20,720 square kilometers) and a coastline of 191 miles (308 kilometers). The World Bank estimates the population at about 6.1 million. At the time of the Spanish conquest, Amerindians known as the Pipil inhabited the region now known as El Salvador. In 1525, they were defeated by the Spanish, who claimed the area as a colony. The country gained independence in 1821, and became a republic in 1859.

Civil unrest in El Salvador developed into a violent civil war from 1980 to 1992, with estimated casualties numbering nearly 80,000, and record levels of internal displacement and out-migration. The percentage of ...

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