The entire territory of El Salvador is located on the Central American volcanic axis, which determines the major geographic regions of the country.
Conchagua (4,078 feet [1,243 metres]) in the extreme east.
Because the Oligarchy viewed the Indians as disposable labor, they did not feel the need to treat them to prevent their numbers from dwindling.
Instead, the Spanish replaced them with slaves imported from Africa (Montgomery 71).
Skyrocketing crime, faltering economic growth, and persistent social inequality have further hampered full postwar reconstruction.
Pipil (descendants of the Aztecs), the predominant tribe in the region prior to the Spanish conquest, named their territory and capital Cuscatlán, meaning “Land of the Jewel”; the name is still sometimes applied to El Salvador today.This led the Oligarchy to increase its acquisition of land in El Salvador, which was mainly inhabited by the native Indians.On top of being extremely lucrative, indigo was far less labor-intensive than cacao was, so it became the main focus of El Salvador's agriculture by 1600 (Montgomery 71).By the end of the 20th century, however, the service sector had come to dominate the economy. From the late 1970s to the early 1990s, El Salvador was the focus of international attention, owing to its civil war and to external involvement in its internal conflicts.The war, which pitted a militarily and politically capable left-wing insurgency against the U.North of the central highlands, and parallel to them, a broad interior plain drained by the Lempa River is situated at elevations between 1,300 and 2,000 feet (400 and 610 metres).Intermittently broken by ancient dormant volcanic structures and adversely affected by poor drainage and high soil acidities, this interior plain has provided a less-attractive environment for human habitation.These volcanoes are separated by a series of basins (commonly referred to as El Salvador’s central plain), lying at elevations of between 3,500 and 5,000 feet (1,000 and 1,500 metres), whose fertile soils, derived from volcanic ash, lava, and alluvium, have for centuries supported the cultivation of crops.To the south, where the central highlands give way to the Pacific coast, is a narrow coastal plain with average elevations of between 100 and 500 feet (30 and 150 metres).Extending along the entire northern border region are a range of highlands, with average elevations of 5,000 to 6,000 feet (1,500 to 1,800 metres), formed by ancient and heavily eroded volcanic structures.The steepness of slope, excessive forest clearance, and overuse of soils have led to serious deterioration of the environment of this northern region.