El Salvador: key historical events

Page last modified 5/11/2020


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El Salvador, Urban lighting, economic development and crime

2006, parliamentary elections; Arena took 34 seats, the National Liberation Movement took 323 seats, out of total 84. Minor Parties won the remaining 18 seats.

2004, Arena retained the Presidency, which was won by Elias Antonio Saca, a former sports correspondent.

13/1/2001, A magnitude 7.6 earthquake hit El Salvador.

2000, The National Liberation Movement won Assembly elections, retaining power until 2003.

1999, Francisco Flores, Arena Party, beat the National Liberation Movement into a poor second. Flores promised to redistribute income and reduce poverty.

1997, The Left did well in elections, securing the Mayorality of San Salvador and half the State capitals.

1994, Arnando Calderon Sol, of the right-wing ARENA (National Republican Alliance) Party was elected.

15/12/1992. El Salvador’s 12-year civil war, which had killed 75,000, officially ended. The FMLN became a legal political Party

1/2/1992. UN Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar brokered a peace deal in El Salvador between the Government and the National Liberation Movement.

1989, The Right-Wing Arena (Nationalist Republican Alliance) Party won Presidential elections in El Salvador. However there were allegations of vote-rigging, and rebel attacks by the FMLN (Farabundo Marti Liberation Front, Socialist) intensified.

11/1989, An El Salvadorean Right-wing death squad burst into the rooms of six Jesuit priests who taught at the Catholic University and shot them, along with a cook and her daughter. The ckergy were regarded as ‘Communist’ by the landowning elite.

13/2/1989, The Salvadoran Army attacked Encuentros Hospital, and raped its patients.

1988, Jose Duarte resigned.

1986, Jose Duarte opened negoatiations with the Leftist guerrillas.

1982, The Assembly elections were boycotted by the Left, and marked by considerable political violence.

1981, Civil war began in El Salvador as Left-winger Farbundo Marti launched the National Liberation Movement. Mexico and France recognised the guerrillas as a legitimate political Party; however the USA assisted the El Salvadorean Government in efforts to crush them.

1980, El Salvador was a very unequal country with just 14 ‘families’ or clans controlling most of the land, agriculture and economy.

1980, Jose Duarte became the first civilian president since 1930.

30/10/1980, Honduras and El Salvador formally settled their boundary dispute.

30/3/1980, Twenty were killed as the funeral of the murdered Salvadorean rebel Archbishop Oscar Romero became a bloodbath.

24/3/1980, In El Salvador the Human Rights activist, Archbishop Oscar Romero, was assassinated by gunmen whilst saying Mass. The death squad was led by Roberto D’Aubuisson, a henchman for wealthy landowners.

1979, Reformist officers overthrew National Conciliation Party rule.

28/2/1977, In El Salvador, Government troops fired on protestors in San Salvador led by Claramount, the opposition candidate in the 20/2/1977 elections.

20/2/1977, Former Defence Minister Carlos Romero rigged the Presidential elections in El Salvador, stuffing ballot boxes to ensure his victory.

1972, General Carlos Romero was elected President. Leftist guerrilla activity grew amidst allegations of Human Rights abuses by the Government.

14/7/1969, Outbreak of the ‘Football War’ between El Salvador and Honduras; hostilities lasted until 18/7/1969, and a ceasefire was negotiated on 20/7/1969 by the Organisation of American States. In 1969 wealthy landowners controlled most of the land in El Salvador, which resulted in the migration of many poor El Salvadoran labourers into Honduras, causing social tensions there. In 1969 Honduras decided to distribute land to its own poor, thereby evicting the Salvadoran migrants. El Salvador became concerned that the returning peasants would spark demands for land reform there too, Tensions between the two countries rose during the qualifying matches for the 1970 FIFA World Cup, Salvadoran troops attacked into Honduras. The troops were withdrawn in early August 1969, but a full peace treaty was not signed between the two combatants until 30/10.1980. The border essentially remained where it had been before the war. Both sides suffered around 2,000 casualties each.

1944-79, A period of Army rule through the National Conciliation Party.

1932, A popular peasant-backed insurrection led by Farabundi Marti was crushed by the Army.

1841, Guatemala became independent from the United Provinces of Central America.

1821, El Salvador became indeoendent from Spain as part of the United Provinces of Central America.

1525, San Salvador was founded by Diego de Alvarado; it was transferred top its current location in 1528.

1522, The Spanish first entered what is now El Salvador, landing in the Gulf of Fonseca and naming the territory Cuscatlan,


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