By: Kayla Hickok

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Capital: San Salvador Location: South America, Western Hemisphere

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Mostly a Christian nation. 83% are Catholic

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17% are other Christian faiths.

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Summer clothing is suitable all year. Women commonly seen in dresses. Light jackets will be needed during dry season.

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Shaking ones hand is a sign of respect. People of the opposite sex kiss cheeks. When visiting from far away places, its accustomed to bring a small gift.

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Red beans, tortillas, rice, eggs, fruit. Common dish is called pupusas and consist of tortilla with meat, beef, chicken, and cheese. Poor families eat tortillas, what they can grow, and occasionally a pig or chicken.

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All members contribute to family well-being. Families average around 5 people. Most families are poor.

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Most houses are close together. Only the wealthy have carpet. Family members share beds and sleeping quarters. Usually made out of adobe, concrete blocks, wood or metal.

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Dating usually begins at 15. Ceremonies follow Catholic traditions. Its considered improper to date unless you are married. Often enter in common-law relationships because they can t afford a wedding.

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Holidays that are commonly celebrated: New Years day, Easter week (Semana Santa), Labor Day, Mother s Day, Father s day, August religious festivities, Independence Day, Columbus Day, and Christmas. Each town also has its own Holy Day.

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Democratic Republic. President Antonio Saca was elected in 2004. Presidents serve 5 year terms. Major political parties are ARENA, FMLN, Christian Democratic Party, and National Conciliation Party. Voting age is 18. El Salvador has a unicameral legislative that includes has 84 members.

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One of the weakest economy in Latin America. Big problems are inequality and unemployment. 20% have no education nor health care. Exports include: coffee, sugar, shrimp and clothing.

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In 2001, El Salvador adopted the U.S. dollar. The usage of dollars was introduced so that international trade and commerce becomes easier.

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Bus riding is most common. Road conditions are very bad. Taxis are available, but usually only the rich can afford them. Walking is also very common.

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35% of all rural adults are literate. There are only 45 colleges. After elementary school, one must choose between 3 years of technical school, 3 years of college, or to not go further. Although all schooling is free, even college, most people stop attending to help their families.

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Tropical climate. Average temperature is 85 degrees. Temperature rarely fluctuates more than 10 degrees. There are two season: wet, and dry.

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8,124 square miles. Smaller than Massachusetts. Formed by more than 2,000 volcanoes. Capitol lies on plateau at the foot of the San Salvador volcano. Small earthquakes are common.

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1524, Pedro de Alvarado conquered the area. El Salvador was a minor province of Guatemala. 1821, El Salvador gained independence. Constitution of 1871, marked actual birth of the country. A war started in 1979 and lasted 12 years. Formal peace began in 1992. Over 75,000 people died during the war.

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People talk with their hands a lot. Pointing at others is impolite. Friends wave to one another, but strangers call each other over.

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Salvadorans have a strong work ethic. Keeping clean and a neat appearance is a must. Soccer and basketball are popular sports. Dance parties and discos are there for people who can afford it. Domestic violence is a major problem in El Salvador.

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