El Salvador is the smallest country in terms of area in Central America yet has the highest population density. Its population of over seven million citizens has a large percentage living abroad - mainly in the United States. Economic opportunities are extremely limited within the country. In fact, the amount of foreign remittances from citizens living elsewhere exceeds the entire budget of the federal government. El Salvador also has the highest debt of any Central America country; approximately ten billion dollars, 14% of its population lives in extreme poverty.
The country was "founded" by the Spanish in 1524 who came from Mexico looking for gold. When precious metals were not found, the area was turned into a giant Spanish plantation leading to the mass deforestation of the land. Indigo and coffee were the main crops.