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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Acajutla is a seaport and municipality in Sonsonate Department, El Salvador. The town is located at 13°35′24″N 89°50′01″W on the Pacific Coast of Central America and is El Salvador's principal seaport from which a large portion of the nation's exports of coffee, sugar, and balsam are shipped. As a municipality, Acajutla is one of seventeen such districts in Sonsonate. As of 1992, the population of the town was 18,008, and of the municipality 47,678.
Nearby towns and villages to the main town include Hacienda Atalaya (0.5 nm), El Flor (1.7 nm), Hacienda San Antonio (1.7 nm) and Club Salinitas (3.6 nm).
Spanish conquistador Pedro de Alvarado, under the command of Hernan Cortés, had conquered Mexico and Guatemala before coming to the vicinity of Acajutla. There he met heavy resistance, but defeated the indigenous people in 1524 and conquered all of present-day El Salvador at the Battle of Acajutla.
Acajutla became an important colonial port for the Spanish Empire as part of the Kingdom of Guatemala, which was subordinate to the Viceroyalty of New Spain.
Following the complete independence of El Salvador in 1838, the economy of the nation became increasinging dependent on the export of coffee. The rapid growth of this lucrative "cash crop" led to profound socio-economic changes in the region, and drew of the attention of foreign investors and the local plantation owners to Acajutla, where infrastructure development was seen as necessary to assure the transport of crops from the interior and the ability to load them efficiently aboard ships.
The 1855 completion of the Panama Railway across the Isthmus of Panama further added to the activity at the port of Acajutla. With a convenient means of transporting goods between the Caribbean and the Pacific, additional shipping lines were created to carry these goods up and down the Pacific coast to and from the western terminus of the railway. Acajutla was a regular port of call from which coffee and sugar were shipped to the East Coast of the United States and Europe.
On June 4, 1882, the first railway line in El Salvador began operations, with Sonsonate as the northern terminus and Acajutla as the southern terminus.
During the 1932 Salvadoran peasant uprising, two destroyers of the Royal Canadian Navy anchored off the shore of Acajutla at the request of the British Consul in El Salvador who feared for the safety of British nationals and assets. Armed Canadian sailors briefly landed against the wishes of the Salvadoran government and began preparing to continue on to San Salvador before the situation improved and the British no longer deemed an armed Canadian presence necessary.
During the twelve-year Salvadoran civil war (1980-1992), the oil refinery at Acajutla (then the only operating refinery in El Salvador), was a target for anti-government rebels.
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