From high mountains to rich coffee fields, the Central American country of El Salvador is a land of great beauty. It is also a country with a long history of suffering. El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America. In 1524, Hernan Cortés claimed the area for Spain. In 1841, El Salvador became independent. There was a civil war in El Salvador from 1980 to 1992. The people of El Salvador are now trying to rebuild their country.