The people of El Salvador are first documented around 2000 BC. These people were called the Olmec. Perhaps a more prevalent group in El Salvador were the Maya who existed after the Olmecs and existed for nearly 1000 years. in the 16th century the Spanish arrived in El Salvador. This occurred a little after the fall of the Mayan empire. Spain used El Salvador as an agricultural base for growing cotton, balsam and indigo with slaves from Africa. There was a minor revolt against the Spanish government in 1821 but that ended in failure. However as new changes gripped Europe (the Napoleonic era) El Salvador was able to gain its independence from Spain in 1821.
In the 1960ís, over population and a poor economy forced many El Salvadorians into Honduras. By 1969 word of mistreatment of El Salvadorian workers in Honduras surfaced in a World Cup Soccer game between the two rival teams. This escalated to a level that El Salvador invaded Honduras and bombed its airports. The attack was brief and isolated but relations between the two nations remained poor for 10 years afterwards.
In the 1970ís the government, in turmoil because of population increases and rampant poverty, was corrupt and lead by coups. In 1972 the military overthrew the old President and put up their own President. The people unhappy with the unfulfilled promises for reform, became restless and formed a political party called the Federation Democratio Revolucionario. This was a sect of the FMLN a militaristic political party that wished to gain power. With the Regan administration shocked by the revolution in Nicaragua, the U.S. feed money to the standing El Salvadorian government. In April of 1990 the United Nations stepped into the Salvadorian civil war and mediated negations between the standing government and the revolutionaries. The treaty was signed January 1992, and it forced the standing government to perform massive reforms. All in all the El Salvadorian civil war lasted 12 years, killed 75,000 and ate up 6 billion dollars of US money. Although somewhat better than before unemployment, poverty and unhappy war veterans lead to high crime rates. The latest presidential election was held in 1994 where Armando Calderon Sol was elected president.