Appenzell ä´pəntsĕl [key], canton, NE Switzerland. A rural and sparsely populated region, it is mainly a meadowland dotted with small farms. Appenzell retains many ancient customs and has been famous for centuries as a textile and embroidery center. It was ruled after the 11th cent. by the abbots of St. Gall, against whom it revolted in 1403. In 1411, Appenzell allied itself with the Swiss Confederation, which had helped defeat the abbots. It became a Swiss canton in 1513, and in 1597 it was split into two independent half cantons. Ausser-Rhoden (1993 pop. 53,400), 94 sq mi (243 sq km), with its capital at Herisau, accepted the Reformation; Inner-Rhoden (1993 pop. 14,500), 67 sq mi (174 sq km), with its capital at the town of Appenzell (1993 pop. 5,400), remained Catholic.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Swiss Political Geography