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El Salvador
Facts
Area: 21,041 sq km
Population: 6.2 million
Languages: Spanish
Religions: Christian
GNI per capita: US$3,480
Currency: US dollar & Salvadoran colon
 
El Salvador achieved independence from Spain in 1821 and from the Central American Federation in 1839. A 12-year civil war, which cost about 75,000 lives, was brought to a close in 1992 when the government and leftist rebels signed a treaty that provided for military and political reforms.
 
The terrain of El Salvador can be divided into three main regions: the tropical coastal belt on the Pacific, a central upland area of valleys and plateaus, and a mountainous north. 
 
Temperatures vary primarily with elevation and show little seasonal change. The Pacific lowlands are uniformly hot; the central plateau and mountain areas are more moderate. The rainy season extends from May to October. Almost all the annual rainfall occurs during this time.
 
The tiny country is the most densely-populated state on the mainland of the Americas and is highly industrialized
 
In 2001, El Salvador adopted the U.S. dollar as its currency. The current government has pursued economic diversification, showing some success in promoting textile production, international port services, and tourism. It has made a commitment to opening the economy to trade and investment. El Salvador was the first Central American country to implement a free trade agreement (CAFTA) with the U.S. in March 2006.
 
El Salvador's economy has traditionally been agricultural, but services and industry now employ a greater percentage of the workforce and account for a much higher percentage of the gross domestic product. The economy also depends heavily on the money sent home by Salvadorians living in the US. 

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