Canton in northeastern Switzerland, surrounded by the Canton of St Gallen, and divided into two Half-Cantons from 1597.
It was called after the town of Appenzell (Abbot’s cell). The whole area originally belonged to the Abbey of St Gallen, but it revolted against the Abbot in the early 15th century and was taken under the protection of the Swiss Confederates in 1411. Appenzell became an allied district in 1452 and a member of the Confederation in 1513. It was bitterly divided by the Reformation, and in 1597 was split into the two Half-Cantons of Appenzell Innerrhoden (AI) and Appenzell Ausserrhoden (AR) (the Rhoden was a tax district). Appenzell is the capital of the Catholic Innerrhoden, Herisau of the Protestant Ausserrhoden.
In the Helvetic Confederation, 1798-1803, Appenzell was included in the Canton of Säntis, but became two half-cantons again in the new Swiss Confederation of 1803. Ausserrhoden and Innerrhoden are 15th and 16th in precedence among the members of the Confederation (as a Canton Appenzell ranks 13th). Innerrhoden has fewer people than any other member and only Basel-Stadt is smaller in area. Of the 23 Cantons Appenzell is 21st in area and 20th in population.