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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

What is Culture in El Salvador


El Salvador Listeni   (Spanish: República de El Salvador, literally "Republic of The Savior") is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America. The country's capital city and largest city is San Salvador. Important cultural and commercial centers for Central America on the whole include Santa Ana and San Miguel. El Salvador borders the Pacific Ocean on the south, and the countries of Guatemala to the west and Honduras to the north and east. Its easternmost region lies on the coast of the Gulf of Fonseca, opposite Nicaragua. As of 2009, El Salvador had a population of approximately 5,744,113 people, composed predominantly of Mestizos. The colón was the official currency of El Salvador from 1892 to 2001, when it adopted the U.S. Dollar. In 2010 El Salvador ranked in the top 10 among Latin American countries in terms of the Human Development Index and in the top 3 in Central America (behind Costa Rica and Panama), due in part to ongoing rapid industrialization.

History of El Salvador

                                   
Temazcal in Joya de Ceren
Civilization in El Salvador dates to its settlement by the Native American Pipil people, who were descendants of the Aztecs. They called their territory Kozkatlan, a Nahuatl word  meaning The Place of Precious Jewels, hispanicized as Cuzcatlán. The people of El Salvador today are variably referred to as Salvadoran, while the term Cuzcatleco is commonly used to identify someone of Salvadoran heritage. In pre-Columbian times the territory was inhabited by various Native American peoples, including the Pipil, a Nahuatl-speaking population that occupied the central and western regions of the territory, and the Lenca, who settled in the east of the country. The larger domain until the Spanish conquest of the kingdom was Cuzcatlán. The Mayan civilization which inhabited El Salvador has left ruins such as
those at Tazumal, Joya De Ceren, San Andres, Casa Blanca, Cihuatan, and Chalchuapa.  European Contact (1522)  In 1520 the indigenous population of the territory had been reduced by 80% due to the smallpox epidemic that affected the Mesoamerican area. The Spanish Admiral Andrés Niño led an expedition to Central America and disembarked on Meanguera island, which he named Petronila, in the Gulf of Fonseca, on May 31, 1522. Thereafter he discovered Jiquilisco Bay on the mouth of Lempa River. This was the first known visit by Spaniards to what is now Salvadoran territory. Conquest of Cuzcatlán  Between 1524 and 1525, after participating in the conquest of Mexico, Spanish Conquistadors led by Pedro de Alvarado and his brother Gonzalo crossed the Rio Paz (Peace River) from the area comprising the present Republic of Guatemala into what is now the Republic of El Salvador. The Spaniards were disappointed to discover that the indigenous Pipil people had no gold or jewels like those they had found in Guatemala or Mexico, but recognized the richness of the verdant land's volcanic soil.
Pedro de Alvarado led the first incursion by Spanish forces to extend their dominion to the nation of Cuzcatlán (El Salvador), in June 1524. On June 8, 1524, the conquerors arrived in the neighborhood of Acajutla at a village called Acaxual. There, according to records, a battle ensued between the opposing armies, with the Pipil wearing cotton armor (of three fingers' thickness, according to Alvarado) and carrying long lances. This circumstance would be crucial in the progression of the battle. Alvarado approached the Pipil lines with his archers' showers of crossbow arrows, but the natives did not retreat. The conquistador noticed the proximity of a nearby hill and knew that it could be a convenient hiding place for his opponents. Alvarado pretended that his army had given up the battle and retreated. The Pipil suddenly rushed the invaders, giving Alvarado an opportunity to inflict massive losses. The Pipil warriors who fell to the ground could not get back on their feet, hindered by the weight of their cotton armor, which enabled the Spanish to slaughter them. In the words of Alvarado: "...the destruction was so great that in just a short time there were none which were left alive...". However, Alvarado's army were not completely unscathed. In the battle Alvarado himself was struck by a sling shot to his thigh which fractured his femur bone. According to local tradition the stone that hit the conquistador was hurled by a Pipil "Tatoni" (a prince) called Atonal. The resultant infection lasted about eight months and left Alvarado partially crippled. In spite of this wound, he continued the conquest campaign with relish. The Spanish efforts were firmly resisted by the indigenous people, including the Pipil and their Mayan-speaking neighbors. Despite Alvarado's initial success in the Battle of Acajutla, the people of Cuzcatlán, who according to tradition were led by a warlord called Atlacatl, defeated the Spaniards and what was left of their Mexican Tlaxcala Indian allies, forcing them to withdraw to Guatemala. There, Pedro de Alvarado was again wounded, this time on his left thigh, which left him handicapped for the rest of his life. He abandoned the war and appointed his brother, Gonzalo de Alvarado, to continue the task. It took two subsequent expeditions (the first in 1525, followed by a smaller group in 1528) to bring the Pipil under Spanish control. In 1525, the conquest of Cuzcatlán was completed and the city of San Salvador was established. The Spanish faced much resistance from the Pipil and were not able to reach eastern El Salvador, the area of the Lencas. Finally, with reinforcements, in 1526 the Spanish established the garrison town of San Miguel, headed by another explorer and conquistador, Luis de Moscoso Alvarado, nephew of Pedro Alvarado. A Maya-Lenca woman, crown Princess Antu Silan Ulap I, daughter of Asisilcan Nachan I and Lady Omomatku, Monarch of the Lencas, organized resistance to the domination of the gold- and profit-hungry Conquistadors. The Lenca kingdom was alarmed by de Moscoso's invasion, and Antu Silan dealt with it by going from village to village, uniting all the Lenca towns in present-day El Salvador and Honduras against the Spaniards. Through surprise attacks and their overwhelming numbers, they were able to drive the Spanish out of San Miguel and destroy the garrison. For ten years, the Lencas prevented the Spanish from building a permanent settlement. Then the Spanish returned with more soldiers, including about 2,000 forced conscripts from indigenous communities in Guatemala. They pursued the Lenca leaders further up into the mountains of Intibucá. Antu Silan Ulap continued leading the united forces until, late in pregnancy, she slipped out of the conflicted area to a safe haven, Tihuilotal, where she gave birth to twins, a girl and a boy. Their father was Prince Salaiki Kanul from Sesori. The daughter became Atonim Silan I – she and her twin and another brother lived in the mountains near the lake Olomega and Maquigue – in this way they escaped the Spanish and their allies who were hunting them. Tihuilotal is a little southwest of the present city of La Unión, near the source of the sacred Managuara River. Antu Silan Ulap eventually handed over control of the Lenca resistance to Lempira (also called Empira). Lempira was noteworthy among indigenous leaders in that he mocked the Spanish by wearing their clothes after capturing them and using their weapons captured in battle. Lempira fought in command of thousands of Lenca forces for six more years in El Salvador and Honduras until he was killed in battle. The remaining Lenca forces retreated into the hills. The Spanish were then able to rebuild their garrison town of San Miguel in 1537.
20th century
                      In 1898, Gen. Tomas Regalado gained power by force, deposing Rafael Antonio Gutiérrez and ruling as president until 1903. Once in office he revived the practice of designating presidential successors. After serving his term, he remained active in the Army of El Salvador, and was killed July 11, 1906, at El Jicaro during a war against Guatemala. Until 1913 El Salvador was politically stable, but there were undercurrents of popular discontent. When President Dr. Manuel Enrique Araujo was killed in 1913, there were many hypotheses advanced for the political motive of his murder.
Araujo's administration was followed by the Melendez-Quinonez dynasty that lasted from 1913 to 1927. Pio Romero Bosque, ex-Minister of the Government and a trusted collaborator of the dynasty, succeeded President Jorge Melendez and in 1930 announced free elections, in which Arturo Araujo came to power on March 1, 1931 in what was considered the country's first freely contested election. His government lasted only nine months before it was overthrown by junior military officers who accused his Labor Party of lacking political and governmental experience and of using its government offices inefficiently. President Araujo faced general popular discontent, as the people expected economic reforms and the redistribution of land. There were demonstrations in front of the National Palace from the first week of his administration. His vice president and Minister of War was Gen. Maximiliano Hernández Martínez and his National Police Director was Rochac—his brother-in-law.

In December 1931 a coup d'état was organized by junior officers and led by Gen. Martínez; the first strike started in the First Regiment of Infantry across from the National Palace in downtown San Salvador. Only the First Regiment of Cavalry and the National Police defended the President (the National Police had been on its payroll), but later that night, after hours of fighting, the badly outnumbered defenders surrendered to the rebel forces.

The Directorate, composed of officers, hid behind a shadowy figure,a rich anti-Communist banker called Rodolfo Duke, and later installed the ardent fascist Gen. Martínez as president. The causes of the revolt were probably due to the army's discontent at not having been paid by President Araujo for some months. Araujo left the National Palace and later unsuccessfully tried to organize forces to defeat the revolt.

The U.S. Minister in El Salvador met with the Directorate and later recognized the government of Martínez, who agreed to hold presidential elections later. He resigned in 1934, six months before the presidential elections, to run for the presidency, which he won—not a difficult achievement, seeing as he was the only candidate. He ruled from 1935 to 1939, then from 1939 to 1943. He began a fourth term in 1944, but resigned in May after a general strike. Martínez had said he was going to respect the Constitution, which stipulated he could not be re-elected, but he refused to keep his promise.

From December 1931, the year of the coup in which Martínez came to power, there was brutal suppression of the rural resistance. The most notable event was the February 1932 Salvadoran peasant uprising, led by Farabundo Martí and Abel Cuenca, and university students Alfonso Luna and Mario Zapata. Only Cuenca survived; the other insurgents were killed by the government. It was later referred to as La Matanza (The Massacre), because tens of thousands of peasants were slaughtered on the orders of President Martinez.

In the unstable political climate of the previous few years, the social activist and revolutionary leader Farabundo Martí helped found the Communist Party of Central America, and led a Communist alternative to the Red Cross called International Red Aid, serving as one of its representatives. Their goal was to help poor and underprivileged Salvadorans through the use of Marxist-Leninist ideology (strongly rejecting Stalinism). In December 1930, at the height of the country's economic and social depression, Martí was once again exiled due to his popularity among the nation's poor and rumors of his upcoming nomination for President the following year. Once Arturo Araujo was elected president in 1931, Martí returned to El Salvador, and along with Alfonso Luna and Mario Zapata began the movement that was later truncated by the military.

They helped start a guerrilla revolt of indigenous farmers. The government responded by killing over 30,000 people at what was to have been a "peaceful meeting" in 1932; this became known as La Matanza (The Slaughter). The peasant uprising against Martínez was crushed by the Salvadoran military ten days after it had begun. The Communist-led rebellion, fomented by collapsing coffee prices, enjoyed some initial success, but was soon drowned in a bloodbath. President Martínez, who had himself toppled an elected government only weeks earlier, ordered the defeated Martí shot after a perfunctory hearing.

Historically, the high Salvadoran population density has contributed to tensions with neighboring Honduras, as land-poor Salvadorans emigrated to less densely populated Honduras and established themselves as squatters on unused or underused land. This phenomenon was a major cause of the 1969 Football War between the two countries. As many as 130,000 Salvadorans had been forcibly expelled or had fled from Honduras.

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