Country brief

Australia and El Salvador enjoy warm relations, based on trade, investment and cooperation on a range of international issues, including the environment, agricultural development, climate change, transnational crime, disarmament and strong people-to-people links. Australia is home to the third largest Salvadoran community living abroad.

The two countries established diplomatic relations in 1984, when Australia’s first Ambassador to El Salvador, Cavan Hogue, presented credentials. The Australian Embassy in Mexico City is accredited concurrently to El Salvador. Australia has an Honorary Consul in San Salvador. El Salvador opened an Embassy in Australia in 2013.

El Salvador is situated in the norther half of the Central American isthmus, with a coastline on the Pacific Ocean and land borders with Honduras and Guatemala. El Salvador, Nicaragua and Honduras share a coastline along the Gulf of Fonseca, a closed sea under international law. El Salvador is a tropical country with a rainy season (May to October) and a dry season (November to April) on the coast and temperate uplands.

El Salvador’s population is approximately 6.1 million (2016 est). The main ethnic groups are mestizo (86.3 per cent) and white (12.7 per cent). 50 per cent of the population identify as Catholic and 36 per cent as Protestant. Spanish is the official language of El Salvador.

The first group of 75 El Salvadorans arrived in Australia in 1983 under the Special Humanitarian Program, during El Salvador’s civil war. Between 1983 and 1986, Australia accepted a further 10,000 Salvadorans. The Salvadoran community in Australia is estimated at 20,000.