A republic in Central America, bordering on the Pacific Ocean. El Salvador was conquered by the Spanish in the 1520s and was ruled as part of the captaincy-general of Guatemala until 1821. It came under Mexican rule briefly, then formed part of the Central American Confederation until 1839. Since independence, El Salvador's history has been marked by political instability. Coups, countercoups, inequitable land ownership and a long-running civil war between Marxist guerrillas and right-wing elements of the military marked the country's history until recent years. In 1992 the civil war was ended, and an economic liberalization program was implemented in 1993.