Football War

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The Football War (La guerra del fútbol, in Spanish), also known as the Soccer War or 100-hours War, was a four-day war fought by El Salvador and Honduras in 1969. It was caused by political conflicts between Hondurans and Salvadorans, namely issues concerning immigration from El Salvador to Honduras. These existing tensions between the two countries coincided with the inflamed rioting during the second North American qualifying round of the 1970 FIFA World Cup. On 14 July 1969, the Salvadoran army launched an attack against Honduras. The Organization of American States negotiated a cease-fire which took effect on 20 July, with the Salvadoran troops withdrawn in early August.

Eleven years later the two nations signed a peace treaty on 30 October 1980[1] to put the border dispute over the Gulf of Fonseca and five sections of land boundary before the International Court of Justice. In 1992, the Court awarded most of the disputed territory to Honduras, and in 1998, Honduras and El Salvador signed a border demarcation treaty to implement the terms of the ICJ decree. The total land area given to Honduras from El Salvador after the court's ruling was around 374.5 km2. As of the beginning of 2006 demarcation had not yet been completed, but Honduras and El Salvador maintain normal diplomatic and trade relations.[2]

Contents

Context

Although the nickname "Football War" implies that the conflict was due to a football game, the causes of the war go deeper. The roots of the war were issues over land reform in Honduras and immigration and demographic problems in El Salvador. Honduras is more than five times the size of neighbouring El Salvador, even though in 1969, El Salvador had a population that was more than double that of Honduras. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Salvadorans had begun migrating to Honduras in large numbers. By 1969, more than 300,000 Salvadorans were living in Honduras. These Salvadorans made up twenty percent of the peasant population of Honduras.[3] In Honduras, as in much of Central America, a large majority of the land was owned by large landowners or big corporations. The United Fruit Company owned ten percent of the land, making it hard for the average landowners to compete. In 1966, the United Fruit Company banded together with many other large companies to create la Federación Nacional de Agricultores y Ganaderos de Honduras (FENAGH; the National Federation of Farmers and Livestock-Farmers of Honduras). FENAGH was anti-campesino as well as anti-Salvadoran. This group put pressure on the Honduran president, General Lopez Arellano, to protect the property rights of wealthy landowners.[4]

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