Schaffhausen (shäfhouˈzən) [key], canton (1993 pop. 73,000), 115 sq mi (298 sq km), N Switzerland. Entirely on the right (northern) bank of the Rhine River, the canton consists of three noncontiguous agricultural and forested areas, which are largely surrounded by German territory. Its inhabitants, who are German-speaking and largely Protestant, raise cereals, fruit, and vegetables and produce a fine wine. Nearly all of the canton's industry is concentrated in the town of Neuhausen and in the adjoining city of Schaffhausen (1993 pop. 33,900), the original settlement and capital of the canton. Schaffhausen is an old city, picturesquely situated on the Rhine. Machinery, metal goods, jewelry, cement, glass, paper, chemicals, woolen textiles, and watches are produced. The Rheinfall, a cataract of the Rhine, plunges c.70 ft (20 m) just southwest of the city and is harnessed for hydroelectric power. Originally a Benedictine abbey (founded c.1050), Schaffhausen became (c.1208) a free city of the Holy Roman Empire, ruled first by its abbots, then by the Hapsburgs, and, after c.1415, by its local trade guilds. It joined the Swiss Confederation in 1501. With an 11th-century minster, a hilltop castle (the Munot), and several old houses, Schaffhausen retains much of its medieval character.
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