The Central American nation of El Salvador, only about the size of Massachusetts, is the smallest nation on the mainland of North or South America.
But with a population of 4.3 million in the 1980s, it’s also the most densely populated nation on the American mainland. El Salvador’s population density was about 527 persons per square mile, more than eight times higher than that of the United States!
El Salvador is the only Central American nation without a coast on both oceans, for El Salvador’s shores are washed only by the Pacific. The country is largely mountainous, and most Salvadoreans live in fertile valleys in the central part of the country.
Both El Salvador and its capital city, San Salvador, take their name from the Spanish word for “savior.”