El Salvador – important dates for your trip to Latin America
Area: 21,041 km² (land: 20,721 km², water: 320 km²)
Population: 6.1 million people (July 2011, CIA). 90% mestizo (white and indigenous ancestors), 9% white, 1% indigenous American population.
Population density: 289 people per km²
Population growth: 0.318% per year (2011, CIA)
Capital: San Salvador (535,000 residents, 2006)
Highest point: Cerro El Pital, 2,730 m
Lowest point: Pacific Ocean, 0 m
Form of government: El Salvador has been a presidential republic since 1983, the constitution dates from the same year. The National Assembly consists of 84 members who are elected every 3 years by general election. The president is elected directly and has a term of office of 5 years. El Salvador has been independent from the then Central American Confederation since April 13, 1838.
Administrative division: 14 departamentos: Ahuachapan, Cabanas, Chalatenango, Cuscatlan, La Libertad, La Paz, La Union, Morazan, San Miguel, San Salvador, San Vicente, Santa Ana, Sonsonate and Usulutan.
Head of State and Government: President Mauricio Funes, since June 1, 2009
Language: The official language in El Salvador is Spanish, as well as native languages such as Nahua and Maya. The commercial language is English.
Religion: 83% of the population are Catholic, along with Protestant minorities.
Local time: CET – 7 h. There is no change from summer to winter time in El Salvador.
The time difference to Central Europe is -7 h in winter and -8 h in summer.
International phone code: +503
Mains voltage: 110 V, 60 Hz. An adapter is required.
El Salvador geography and map
The smallest Central American country El Salvador has an area of 21,040 square kilometers (about the size of the state of Hesse) and has an east-west extension of about 250 km, in north-south direction El Salvador extends over about 100 km.
As the only country in Central America that has El Salvador no access to the Caribbean. El Salvador is on the southwest side of the Central American Land Bridge. The northwestern neighbor is Guatemala, the southwestern Honduras. To the south and west is bordered by the Pacific and the Gulf of Fonseca with a coastline of 307 km country.
Vjokes arise where tectonic forces tear crevices in the earth’s crust. This often leads to earthquakes. El Salvador is in such a neuralgic zone. From the southwest, the Cocos Plate, a fragment of the earth’s crust consisting of relatively heavy rocks, slowly pushes under the Central American mainland. Their rocks partially melt and transform into liquid lava, which can penetrate through crevices to the surface of the earth. The ascent channels of the around 60 volcanoes of El Salvador are mainly located in fracture zones that run parallel to the coast from northwest to northeast. The Central American Trench, which is over 6,000 m deep, extends in the same direction, which marks the place where the coconut plate dips into the hot interior of the earth.
According to 800zipcodes, El Salvador is characterized by volcanic chains that divided the country into three different regions: the southern coastal region, the central volcanic plateau, which is bordered by two almost parallel volcanic chains, and the mountains in the north.
El Salvador consists for the most part of volcanic rocks. In the northeast, older lava layers are widespread, which build up the mountainous country up to around 2,500 m high on the border with Honduras. The younger volcanic cones (including seven active to the present day) are located in the mountain range that rises 30 to 40 km behind the flat, mangrove-lined coastline. Within the more than 2,000 m high volcanic zone, lakes have formed in various places in depressions.
The only larger river in El Salvador, the Rio Lempa, drains the wide high valley between the north-eastern mountains and the coastal mountains.
The highest peaks are near the Pacific coast and on the border with Honduras: El Pital (2,730 m), Santa Ana (2,365 m) and San Vincente (2,182 m).
At high altitudes, earlier volcanic eruptions led to fertile layers of ash and lava, which are mainly used for growing coffee. Under the hot and humid climate, the volcanic rocks, which are rich in nutrients, quickly weather to red to reddish-yellow laterite soils (Latin later – brick), which only still have low nutrient reserves.
In El Salvador, the proportion of forest in the country’s area is only a few percent. Humans have almost completely pushed back the natural vegetation. Even before the colonial era, the forests were heavily cleared by the slash and burn cultivation of the Indians, and since then, larger areas have been cut down year after year.
According to the prevailing climate, El Salvador lies in the transition area between rain-green forests and the savannah belt on the edge of the tropics. Before the colonization by the Indians immigrating from the north, savannahs with individual forest strips and islands probably covered most of the country. The middle and higher elevations of the mountains were occupied by mixed forests of pine and oak or by tropical cloud forests.
Due to the destruction of the natural habitats and hunting, the originally species-rich fauna also became impoverished. The larger mammals such as deer, puma, mountain cat and tapir were particularly affected. The bird world, on the other hand, is still rich in species, including numerous hummingbirds, parrots and flamingos. Reptiles such as iguanas and lizards are also common.