1932 Salvadoran peasant uprising

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict = 1932 Salvadoran peasant uprising

caption = Map of the Salvadoran districts affected by the uprising.
date = January 22, 1932 – July 11, 1932
place = El Salvador
territory =
result = Uprising suppressed by government
status =
combatant1 = Salvadoran rebels
combatant2 = )
commander1 = Feliciano Ama
Francisco Sánchez
commander2 = Maximiliano Hernández Martínez
José Tomás Calderón
Osmín Aguirre y Salinas
Salvador Ochoa
Saturnino Cortez
casualties3 = 10,000–40,000 dead
notes =

The peasant uprising of 1932, also known as "La matanza" ("The Slaughter"), [cite encyclopedia
last = Stearns
first = Peter N.
authorlink = Peter Stearns
encyclopedia =
title = El Salvador: 1932, Jan. 22
url = http://www.bartleby.com/67/2281.html
accessdate = 2008-08-11
year= 2001
publisher = Houghton Mifflin
isbn = 0-39565-237-5
] was a brief, peasant-led rebellion that occurred in January 22 of that year in the western departments of El Salvador. The uprising was quickly suppressed by the government, then led by Maximiliano Hernández Martínez, and whose army was vastly superior in terms of weapons and soldiers, who then proceed execute anyone who stood against it. The rebellion was a mixture of protest and insurrection and ended in ethnocide, [cite web|last=Payés|first=Txanba|url=http://www.loquesomos.org/lacalle/tuopinion/Lainsurreciondeunpueblooprimido.htm|title= El Salvador. La insurrección de un pueblo oprimido y el etnocidio encubierto|date=January 2007|accessdate=2008-08-11 es icon] claiming the lives of anywhere between 10,000 and 40,000 [cite web|author=University of California, San Diego|url=http://dodgson.ucsd.edu/las/elsal/1902-1932.html|title=El Salvador elections and events 1902-1932|date=2001|accessdate=2008-08-12] peasants and other civilians, many of them indigenous people. [cite web|author=CIPES|url=http://www.cispes.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=151&Itemid=80|title=La sangre de 1932|date=January 27, 2007|accessdate=2008-08-11 es icon]


Social unrest in El Salvador had begun to grow in the 1920s, primarily because of the abuses of the political class and the broad social inequality between the landowners and the peasants, [cite web|last=Navas|first=Mario E|url= http://www.monografias.com/trabajos41/el-salvador/el-salvador.shtml#caracter|title= El Salvador en los años 1920–1932|accessdate=2008-09-14 es icon] cite web|author=Armed Forces of El Salvador|url= http://www.faes.gob.sv/MdnCCp/heroes-batallas/revolucion-1932.htm|title= Revolución 1932|accessdate=2008-09-14 es icon] product of the policies of the latifundia. This unrest was only strengthened by the tremendous drop in the price of the coffee bean and the growing unemployment rates. During the last decades of the 19th century and through the beginning of the 20th century, the Salvadoran economy relied greatly upon the cultivation of coffea, so as to the period being called the "coffee republic." Therefore, the drop in the price of coffee meant mass firing of peasants and the closing of several haciendas, which led to deep economic crisis.Harvnb|Ministerio de Educación de la República de El Salvador|1994|loc=Tomo II es icon]

The national coffee-growing industry arose from the accumulation of riches of a small group of landowners and merchants [cite journal|last=Moreno|first=Israel|year=1997|month=December|title=El Salvador: Un paisito en peligro de extinción|issue=189|journal=Revista Envío|publisher=Universidad Centroamericana|url=http://www.envio.org.ni/articulo/336|accessdate=2008-09-14 es icon] who had purchased large portions of land and employing a great number of peasants, many of them indigenous. [cite web|last=de La Rosa Municio|first=Juan Luis|title=El Salvador: Memoria histórica y organización indígena|url=http://www.nodo50.org/foroporlamemoria/documentos/2006/elsalvador_gen2006.htm|date=January 2006|accessdate=2008-09-14 es icon]

The coup

Unrest soon spread among military officers. In December 1931, with the collapse of coffee prices, the military's dissatisfaction peaked. A group of young officers, led by Vice President Maximiliano Hernández Martínez, staged a coup and ousted Araujo. Araujo fled the country and Martínez assumed power.

The uprising

While Martínez may have satisfied the military, popular discontent continued to build and the government's opponents continued to agitate. Within weeks, communists, believing the country was ready for a peasant rebellion, were plotting an insurrection against Martínez. However, the government became aware of the plot and arrested most of the ringleaders.

Nevertheless, actual fighting broke out on January 22, 1932. Rebels, led by the communist party and Agustín Farabundo Martí, attacked government forces with support that was largely from Pipil Indians in the western part of El Salvador. Within three days, they had succeeded in taking control of several towns, disrupting supply lines to many of the country’s towns and villages, and attacking a military garrison. With their superior training and technology, the government troops needed only a few days to defeat the rebels. While the rebels killed fewer than 100 people, the military retaliated with great force. Promising an open discussion and pardons for those involved in the uprising, the government invited them into a large public square where they killed between 10,000 and 40,000 peasants, including Martí.


In the aftermath, accounts of the uprising and massacre were purged from libraries and replaced by the myth of Martínez as the savior of Salvadorans from vicious communists and barbaric Indians. To avoid further violence, members of the Pipil indigenous group generally severed their ties to their culture, adopting Western dress and the Spanish language as well as intermarrying with members of non-indigenous groups. In modern-day El Salvador, it is estimated that 1% or less of the population is of exclusively indigenous descent.



* citation
last=Ministerio de Educación de la República de El Salvador
title=Historia de El Salvador, tomo II
location=San Salvador
es icon

* cite journal
last = de Bry
first = John
year = 2004
month = May 18,
title = Review of 1932 - Scars of Memory (Cicatriz de la Memoria), A film by Jeffrey Gould and Carlos Henriquez Consalvi
journal = KACIKE: The Journal of Caribbean Amerindian History and Anthropology
volume = [On-line Journal]
issue =
id = ISSN|1562-5028
url = http://www.kacike.org/1932review.html
accessdate = 2006-06-30

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