Sonsonate, one of fourteen departments of El Salvador (2006 estimated pop. 530,988). It was part of the territory of the colonial region of Izalcos, which later became the alcaldía mayor of Sonsonate, a colonial subdivision incorporated into the state of San Salvador in 1824. Economic activities include port services (at Acajutla), oil refining, and production of dairy products, cereals, coffee, cotton, and sugar. The capital city of the department, also named Sonsonate (2005 est. pop. 66, 201), is 37.8 miles west of San Salvador. Founded in 1552 with the name of Santísima Trinidad de Sonsonate, it was one of the first Spanish settlements in present-day El Salvador. It owed its early prosperity to the production of cacao and to the proximity of the Pacific port of Acajutla. Sonsonate means "Place of 400 Rivers" or "Place of Many Waters," as it receives well over 2,000 millimeters (79 inches) of rain per year.
See alsoEl Salvador .
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