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El Salvador

El Salvador, a country in Central America, has long had problems with both rural poverty and urban poverty in shanty towns around the capital, San Salvador. This has led to much political infighting and an insurgency during the late 1970s through the 1980s.

The Spanish conquistadors first made contact with the region in the late 1510s, and some 80 percent of the indigenous population were killed in a smallpox epidemic in 1520. Thus, when the first Spanish settlers under Pedro de Alvarado arrived in 1524 and 1525, they found a largely depopulated region with no gold that could be looted. However, the rich volcanic soil was good for agriculture and gradually the Spanish managed to conquer the region, destroying all resistance.

The Spanish established farms and turned ...

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