Photo: El Salvador Celebrates 191st Anniversary of Independence
Today, all of El Salvador is celebrating and rejoicing its 190-year old independence from Spain. The Spanish arrived in the 1500’s and stayed for nearly 300 years as it colonized the region, enslaved native populations and decimated the island with smallpox. The fight for independence started in 1811 with numerous uprisings against Spanish rule and concluded in 1821 when El Salvador declared itself independent from Spain as did four other Central American countries.
El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America with a proud history of struggle and success. After numerous military regimes, coups and a civil war in 1980 the country is moving forward with economic reforms and democratically held elections.
Today the country’s estimated 7 million residents start to celebrate early and at 7:00 am students and their teachers march all around the capital city singing folk songs and dancing traditional dances. Independence heroes such as Father Jose Matias Delgado and Manuel Jose Arce are honored with patriotic parades and festivities.
President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton send their regards to the people of El Salvador:
On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to send best wishes to the people of El Salvador as you celebrate your independence this September 15.
This is a time for Salvadorans across the globe to rejoice in your proud heritage and vibrant culture. With more than two and a half million Salvadorans living in the United States, the rich tapestry of Salvadoran culture is woven closely into American society. This year, on the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Chapultepec Accords, we can also reflect on the progress your nation has made in consolidating democracy and building a more secure and prosperous future.
The United States and El Salvador share a commitment to realizing your country’s aspirations of inclusive economic growth, safe and resilient communities, and expanded opportunities, particularly for young people. The American people stand with you as partners and friends as you build a brighter future for generations of Salvadorans to come.