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First Football War (Outer Crisis)
Location Honduran-Salvadoran border, Central America.
Result Crushing Salvadorian Victory

The Football War (La guerra del fútbol, in Spanish), also known as the Soccer War or 100 hour War, was a six-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, foreign companies' land confiscation, and tensions between Honduran and Salvadorian public.


Although the nickname "Football War" implies that the conflict was due to a football game, the causes of the war goes 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 neighboring El Salvador, but 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.

As the majority of the land on Honduras was owned by a few elite, with just small percentage of land owned by the Honduran lower classes, Salvadorian merchants bought land from the Honduran lower classes creating a situation in which 87% percent of the land was owned by private and foreign parties. President Lopez Arellano, facing discontent by the Honduran public and in hopes of gaining support, launched the 1968’s Land reforms. In which all land owned by foreign persons and companies should be sold to the central government, the Honduran government would pay the price of the land which the owners had declared on their taxes’ declarations. Moreover, all illegal immigrants would be extradited to their countries. Thousands of Salvadorans were displaced by this law and were forced to emigrate once again. Salvadoran newspapers then heightened the already stressed relationship between the two countries by showing the many supposed atrocities being committed against Salvadorans in Honduras.

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