FACTBOX: Key facts about Honduras

Sun Jun 28, 2009 4:26pm EDT

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(Reuters) - Honduran soldiers detained leftist President Manuel Zelaya on Sunday as a crisis deepened over his drive to amend the constitution to allow presidents to run for re-election.

Here are some key facts about Honduras:

* Honduras is the second largest country in Central America after Nicaragua with a population of 7.2 million. It is bordered by Guatemala to the north and west, El Salvador to the southwest and Nicaragua to the southeast.

* Once an ally of the United States during the Cold War, Honduras has moved closer to socialist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez since Zelaya took power in 2006.

* Christopher Columbus first sighted the country in 1502 when he named it Honduras, meaning "depths" in Spanish, after its coastal waters.

* Honduras, a member of the U.S.-Central American Free Trade Act, suffers from massive unemployment and is one of the poorest countries in Latin America, relying on money from Hondurans living in the United States for more than 25 percent of its gross domestic product.

* An exporter of coffee and bananas, the country has attracted textile and mining investment over the past decade as it seeks to diversify its economy away from agriculture.

* The government expects the Honduran economy to grow less than 2 percent this year as the global economic crisis hurts exports, remittances and tourism.

* The economy was devastated in 1998 by Hurricane Mitch which killed 13,500 people across Central America and caused $5 billion (3.03 billion pounds) in damage.

(Reporting by Gustavo Palencia in Tegucigalpa)

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