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SALVADOR, or SAN SALVADOR (Republica ...

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Originally appearing in Volume V24, Page 97 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SALVADOR, or SAN SALVADOR (Republica del Salvador), the smallest but most densely peopled of the republics of Central America, bounded on the N. and E. by Honduras, S. by the Pacific Ocean, and W. by Guatemala. (For map, see CENTRAL AMERICA.) Pop. (1906) 1,116,253; area, about 7225 sq. m. Salvador has a coastline extending for about 16o m. from the mouth of the Rio de la Paz to that of the Goascoran in the Bay of Fonseca (q.v.). Its length from E. to W. is 140 m., and its average breadth about 6o m. Physical Features.—With the exception of a comparatively narrow seaboard of low alluvial plains, the country consists mainly of a plateau about 2000 ft. above the sea, broken by a large number of volcanic cones. These are geologically of more recent origin than the main chain of the Cordillera which rises farther N. The principal river of the republic is the Rio Lempa, which, rising just beyond the frontier of Guatemala and crossing a corner of Honduras, enters Salvador N. of Citala. After receiving the surplus waters of the Laguna de Guija, it flows E. through a magnificent valley bet*een the plateau and the Cordillera, and then turning S. skirts the base of the volcano of Siguatepeque and reaches the Pacific in 88° 4o' W. Among its numerous tributaries are the Rio Santa Ana, rising near the city of that name, the Asalguate, which passes the capital San Salvador, the Sumpul, and the Torola, draining the N.E. of Salvador and part of Honduras. The Lempa is for two-thirds established in the suburbs of the capital an agricultural college and model farm. Mining.—In the Cordillera, which runs through Salvador, there are veins of various metals—gold, silver, copper, mercury and lead being found mostly in the E., and iron in the W. Coal has been discovered at various points in the valley of the Lempa. In the republic there are about 18o mining establishments, about half of them ,being in the department of Morazan; they are owned by British, United States and Salvadorian companies. Only gold and silver are worked. The output, chiefly gold, was valued at £250,000 in 1907. Commerce.—The trade of Salvador is almost entirely confined to the import of cotton goods, woollen goods, sacks and machinery, and to the export of coffee and a few other agricultural products. In 1900 the formation of a statistical office was decreed. The average yearly value of the imports for the five years 1904-1908 was £804,000, of the exports £1,250,000. The coffee exported in 1908 was valued at £830,000. The imports, comprising foodstuffs, hardware, drugs, cottons, silk and yarn, come (in order of value) chiefly from Great Britain, the United States, France and Germany; the exports are mostly to the United States and France. Shipping and Communications.—Until 1855 the roads of Salvador were little better than bridle-paths, and fords or ferries were the sole means of crossing the larger rivers. During the next half-century about 2000 M. of highways were built, and the rivers were bridged. The first railway, a narrow-gauge line, between the port of Acajutla and Sonsonate, was opened in 1882, and afterwards extended to Ateos on the E. and Santa Ana on the N.W. A railway from the capital to Nueva San Salvador was also constructed, and in 19oo was linked to the older'system by a line from Ateos to San Salvador. In 1903, a concession was granted for an extension from Nueva San Salvador to the port of La Libertad. From 350 to 450 vessels annually entered and cleared at Salvadorian ports (chiefly Acajutla, La Libertad and La Union), during the years 1895 to 1905. The old port of Acajutla has been closed, and a new port opened in a more sheltered position about 1 m. N., where an iron pier, warehouses and custom-house have been erected. Salvador joined the postal union in 1879. Currency and Credit.—In 1910 there were three commercial banks and an agricultural bank within the republic. In 1897 a law was passed adopting a gold standard. The currency of the country in 1910 consisted entirely of silver pesos, the fractional money under •900 fine having, by arrangement with the government, been all exported by the banks. The peso or dollar at par is valued at four shillings; its actual value was about Is. 8d. in 1910. The metric system of weights and measures was adopted by decree of January 1886, but the old Spanish weights and measures still continue in general use. Finance.—The revenue is mainly derived from import and export duties, but considerable sums are also obtained from excise, and smaller amounts from stamps and other sources. The principal branches of expenditure are the public debt, defence and internal administration. The official figures showing the revenue and expenditure for the five years 1904-1908 are as follows (pesos being converted into sterling at the rate of 12 to 4I):- Years. Revenue. Expenditure. 1904 675,000 734,000 1905 711,000 837,000 1906 707,000 1,024,000 1907 728,000 886,000 1908 1,064,000 1,019,000 The foreign debt, amounting to £726,420 (£240,000 of a 6% loan of 1889, and £485,720 of another of 1892) was in 1899 converted into 5% mortgage debentures of the Salvador Railway Company Limited, to which the government has guaranteed, for eighteen years from the 1st of January 1899, a fixed annual subsidy of £24,000. In March 1908 a new foreign loan was raised, amounting to £I,000,000. The bonds were issued at 86, and bore 6%
End of Article: SALVADOR, or SAN SALVADOR (Republica del Salvador)
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