El Salvador History

By | June 1, 2022

The Spanish conquest and independence

The territory corresponding to the current El Salvador, populated in pre-Columbian times by indigenous tribes belonging to two groups Lenca and Pipil, was conquered by the Spaniards after more than four years of bloody wars (1524-28) and remained dependent for the entire colonial age on ‘Audiencia of Guatemala, in turn belonging to the viceroyalty of New Spain. Declared independent in 1821, he participated in the federation of the United Provinces of Central America (1823-39). In 1841, after its dissolution, the republic was proclaimed. ● As in the rest of the region, the achievement of independence did not lead to any improvement in the living conditions of Indians in the El Salvadorand mestizos, who continued to occupy the lower rungs of a social ladder dominated by a Creole elite politically divided between conservatives, opposed to any federal hypothesis, and liberals, in favor of reconstituting a union with neighboring countries. The attempts made in this direction by El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua (1842-44, 1849-52 and 1862) failed due to the resistance of the conservative oppositions of the three countries, supported from the outside by the Guatemalan conservative leader R. Carrera. He invaded the El Salvador -85). A small bourgeois oligarchy dedicated to the production of coffee for export (the so-called 14 families) managed to seize the expropriated land from the village communities of the Indians. Various attempts at regional unification failed, the El Salvador was involved in brief conflicts for territorial issues with Guatemala (1906) and Nicaragua (1907), both resolved with the mediation of the USA, interested in the control of the region in which they intended to build an interoceanic canal.

Military regimes and the civil war

According to localcollegeexplorer, the liberal dominance was interrupted by the military coup which in 1931 brought General MH Martínez to the presidency; the following year he bloodily repressed an insurrection organized by the local Communist Party, led by A. Farabundo Martí, which saw as protagonists the Indians and mestizos of the coffee plantations. Martínez ruled with dictatorial methods until 1945, when he was replaced by General El Salvador Castañeda (1945-48), then by Colonels O. Osorio (1950-56) and JM Lemus (1956-60). ● In the meantime, the economy of the El Salvador benefited from a rise in international coffee prices and registered the development of a new crop for export, cotton. After a brief period of reform in 1960, thanks to a junta made up of a group of young progressive officers, in 1961 yet another coup d’état brought new conservative political formations to power. Over the course of the decade, the worsening of the living conditions of the majority of the population and the permanent exclusion of the opposition from any perspective of government favored the formation of guerrilla groups of Marxist inspiration. In 1979 a coup d’état promoted by reformist officials gave power to a military and civilian junta including progressive exponents, who were soon ousted. While the terrorist actions of far-right paramilitary formations multiplied in the country (assassination of the archbishop of San Salvador, OA Romero, in 1980), leftist guerrilla groups gave life to the Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional (FMLN). The El Salvador it plunged into a bloody civil war, which saw the growing involvement of the US alongside the government. Although the rise to power of the far right had initially caused a radicalization of the conflict, in 1990 the end of the civil war in Nicaragua, the change in relations between East and West and the relaunch of the role of the UN at the regional level made it possible to search for a negotiated solution to the conflict, which ended in 1992, thanks to UN mediation, after 12 years, 75,000 dead and more than a million refugees.

After the civil war

The persistence of the traditional imbalances and the failure to implement the peace agreements, however, determined a strong growth in poverty and social instability. During the presidency of A. Calderón Sol (1994-99), of the far-right Alianza Republicana Nacionalista (ARENA) party, the initial favor met by the neoliberal policy promoted by the president himself waned, while the situation of the public order for the increase of common delinquency. The presidential elections of 1999 were won by F. Flores, of the ARENA. The victory, however, was diminished by the results of the 2000 legislative elections. In the meantime, in the country, severely hit by the earthquake (2001), the debate was growing between the Catholic Church, the opposition parties and non-governmental organizations to ask the government to promote a pact national for reconstruction. In 2003 the FMLN achieved success in the legislative elections; despite this, the 2004 presidential vote saw the victory of the ARENA candidate, EA Saca, who confirmed the economic line of his predecessor and announced a renewed commitment to the fight against crime and drug trafficking. The orientation of the country changed again in 2009, when the FMLN won the legislative elections and its candidate, CM Funes, prevailed in the presidential elections, while in the consultations held in March 2012 the conservative coalition was the winner, obtaining 39.7% of the votes.

In the presidential elections held in February 2014, El Salvador Sánchez Cerén, vice president of the country and candidate of the ruling party FMLN won with 48.9% of the votes; the politician was confronted in the ballot of the following March with N. Quijano, candidate of the opposition party ARENA (which in the first round had received 38.9% of the votes), winning 50.11% of the preferences against 49, 89 of Quijano and being recognized by the Supreme Electoral Court as the winner of the consultations. In the legislative elections of March 2015, the FMLN failed to win a majority in Parliament for a single seat, which made the legislative assembly’s support for President Sánchez Cerén, who was replaced by the candidate of the conservative party N. Bukele, who won in the first round, obtaining over 53% of the votes. The Nuevas ideas party founded by the president in 2019 won the political elections held in February 2021, achieving an unprecedented victory in the country’s history. In September 2021, the country’s Constitutional Court approved an amendment to the Constitution that allows reappointment to the presidential office for a second consecutive term, paving the way for Bukele’s re-election.

In 2005, the Central American Customs Union formed by El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua became operational. In 2006, the country enacted a free trade agreement with the United States and resolved a border dispute with Honduras that dated back to the 1960s.

In 2021, Parliament approved a bill for the legalization of bitcoins, opening up the possibility for the country to be the first in the world to use cryptocurrency as a real currency.

El Salvador History 2