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El SalvadorEl Salvador is a direct translation from the Spanish that means "the Savior," referring to Jesus. The country is primarily Christian, specifically Catholic, and believes Jesus was the Son of God and their savior.

WARNING: Violence is common in El Salvador, please read this travel warning before going!

Introduction:

El Salvador has its share of mountains, which divide the people and make the lands difficult to access in areas. However, the valleys and flat lands are fertile and easily accessible as this is where most of the people live today and in the past. These fertile farm lands have always attracted people to the region as farming has been one of the most important industries in the region for centuries and this continues to be true today.

After the Spanish arrived, they intermarried many of the local people and today most of the people are "mestizo," which is a combination of the indigenous people and the Europeans. This marriage also intertwined the cultures of the people and in some aspects Spanish traditions thrived, but other aspects of the local cultures survived. Today most of the people are Catholic due to the Spanish and nearly everyone is a native Spanish speaker in El Salvador. However some indigenous languages have survived, as have many traditional foods and to a lesser dress traditional dress.

Despite the many changes the Spanish introduced, the way of life in the region remained tied to agriculture and the lands. At first this farming was focused on foods that allowed the indigenous people to survive, but this shifted with the arrival of the Spanish when trade became more important. Agriculture shifted to focusing on indigo, but today the crop of choice has again shifted, this time to coffee. This farming lifestyle still dominates the culture today, but the exporting process and recent technological changes have altered the culture rapidly in recent years. Being so focused on exported goods, trading centers and cities have risen as urbanization has occurred and job diversity and lifestyle differences have grown.

As the economy, lifestyle, and culture have changed so have the people. This has been magnified with the division of the people in geographic terms as well. Technology has also arrived, but is more accessible to some, vastly changing the lifestyle and wealth of individuals, creating a widening social, economic, and political gap among the people.

Today the people in El Salvador are divided by social class and where an individual falls helps determine a person's way of life. The indigenous people, who tend to be poor, generally live in rural areas and are often times agricultural workers who have a lifestyle tied to the land as many ancient traditions persist. The middle class of mestizos work in all areas, but feel suppressed by the rich, who generally live in the cities and own much of the country's lands and industries, although others work these lands.

Information for El Salvador was last updated: March, 2014 ● View our: Sources & Special Thanks