VII. The Contemporary Period, 1945–2000 > D. Latin America, 1945–2000 > 3. Central America, 1945–2000 > c. El Salvador
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
(See 1944, April 19)
c. El Salvador
1948, Dec. 14
Pres. Salvador Castañeda was forced to resign. A provisional government restored full constitutional liberties and called for free elections.  1
1950, March 26–28
In the first free elections since 1931, Maj. Oscar Osorio was elected president. Osorio introduced a constitution that allowed urban unions but banned rural organizing.  2
1956, Sept. 14
Gen. José María Lemus became president.  3
1961, Jan. 26
After a three-month junta was overthrown on Jan. 25, the new five-member Military-Civilian Directorate took control amid a rash of urban violence that left 96 dead.  4
Feb. 15
U.S. president John F. Kennedy recognized the junta, which could then receive aid from the Alliance for Progress. Aid seemed crucial to dealing with the explosive social problems stemming from El Salvador's massive population growth and booming coffee industry. The population was 2.5 million by 1961. Along with the “fifty families” (the country's economic elite), the government sought to promote foreign-sponsored light industry. With the creation of the Central American Common Market (CACM), Salvadoran officials saw a solution to social problems, but these enterprises did little to alleviate population and unemployment pressures. Meanwhile, mechanization increased in cotton, cattle, and coffee, driving peasants off the land.  5
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.