Sonsonate (sōnsōnäˈtā) [key], city (1993 pop. 46,101), capital of Sonsonate dept., SW El Salvador. It is the commercial center of a rich agricultural region, where cacao, coffee, sugar, tobacco, Peruvian balsam, and subsistence crops are produced. The city was founded in 1524 by the Spanish conquistador Pedro de Alvarado. Sonsonate has two beautiful churches and is a point of departure for excursions to the parks and resorts around nearby Izalco volcano.