Canton (subnational entity)
A canton is a type of administrative division
Administrative division
An administrative division, subnational entity, or country subdivision is a portion of a country or other political division, established for the purpose of government. Administrative divisions are each granted a certain degree of autonomy, and are required to manage themselves through their own...

 of a country. In general, cantons are relatively small in terms of area and population when compared to other administrative divisions such as counties
A county is a jurisdiction of local government in certain modern nations. Historically in mainland Europe, the original French term, comté, and its equivalents in other languages denoted a jurisdiction under the sovereignty of a count A county is a jurisdiction of local government in certain...

, departments or province
A province is a territorial unit, almost always an administrative division, within a country or state.-Etymology:The English word "province" is attested since about 1330 and derives from the 13th-century Old French "province," which itself comes from the Latin word "provincia," which referred to...

s. Internationally the best-known cantons, and the most politically important, are those of Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

. As the constituents of the Swiss Confederation, theoretically (and historically) the Swiss cantons are sovereign states.

The term is derived from the French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 word canton meaning corner or district (from which "Cantonment
A cantonment is a temporary or semi-permanent military or police quarters. The word cantonment is derived from the French word canton meaning corner or district, as is the name of the Cantons of Switzerland. In South Asia, the term cantonment also describes permanent military stations...

" is also derived).

Cantons in specific countries

Cantons exist (or existed) in the following countries:
  • Cantons of Belgium
    Cantons of Belgium
    -Judicial:A judicial canton is a group of municipalities in which there is one Justice of the Peace that has jurisdiction over those municipalities. A judicial arrondissement consists of all judicial cantons on its territory. There are 225 judicial cantons in Belgium. Most judicial cantons cover...

  • Cantons of Bolivia
    Cantons of Bolivia
    ||On the level below municipalities, Bolivia is divided into cantons ....

  • Cantons of Bosnia and Herzegovina
    Cantons of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina
    The 10 cantons of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina serve as the second-level units of local autonomy of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, one of the two political entities of Bosnia and Herzegovina....

    : a subdivision of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina
    Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina
    The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina is one of the two political entities that compose the sovereign country of Bosnia and Herzegovina . The two entities are delineated by the Inter-Entity Boundary Line...

  • Canada: Canadian French
    Canadian French
    Canadian French is an umbrella term referring to the varieties of French spoken in Canada. French is the mother tongue of nearly seven million Canadians, a figure constituting roughly 22% of the national population. At the federal level it has co-official status alongside English...

     equivalent for the English word "township
    Township (Canada)
    The term township generally means the district or area associated with a town. However in some systems no town needs to be involved. The specific use of the term to describe political subdivisions has varied by country, usually to describe a local rural or semi-rural government within the county...

    ", since the translation municipalité is already used for a different level of government (see township
    The word township is used to refer to different kinds of settlements in different countries. Township is generally associated with an urban area. However there are many exceptions to this rule. In Australia, the United States, and Canada, they may be settlements too small to be considered urban...

    • Cantons of Quebec
  • Cantons of Costa Rica
    Cantons of Costa Rica
    This is a list of the cantons of Costa Rica.Cantons are the second-level administrative division of Costa Rica. The country's seven provinces are subdivided into 81 cantons , and these are further subdivided into districts .A unique feature of the cantons is that they are the only administrative...

    : subdivisions below the provinces of Costa Rica
    Provinces of Costa Rica
    Costa Rica consists of 7 provinces :The provinces are further divided into cantons , which are subdivided into districts .-See also:* ISO 3166-2:CR* Cantons of Costa Rica* Districts of Costa Rica...

  • Cantons of Ecuador
    Cantons of Ecuador
    The Cantons of Ecuador are the second-level subdivisions of Ecuador, below the provinces. There are 226 cantons in the country, of which three are not in any province. The cantons are further sub-divided into parishes, which are classified as either urban or rural...

    : subdivisions below the provinces of Ecuador
    Provinces of Ecuador
    Ecuador is divided into 24 provinces . The provinces of Ecuador and their capitals are:1 Population as per the census carried out on 2001-11-25In addition, there are three areas within Ecuador that are non-delimited...

  • Cantons of El Salvador: divisions of a municipality
    Municipalities of El Salvador
    The departments of El Salvador are divided into 262 municipalities or municipios. The municipalities are listed below, by department El Salvador is divided into fourteen administrative divisions called departments, the equivalent of states in the United States. Each department is administered by a...

     outside the more urban caserios, which border the town or city. Cantones can be thought as the more rural parts of a city or town, generally far from the actual urban population.
  • Cantons of France
    Cantons of France
    The cantons of France are territorial subdivisions of the French Republic's 342 arrondissements and 101 departments.Apart from their role as organizational units in certain aspects of the administration of public services and justice, the chief purpose of the cantons today is to serve as...

    : a subdivision of arrondissements
    Arrondissements of France
    The 101 French departments are divided into 342 arrondissements, which may be translated into English as districts.The capital of an arrondissement/district is called a subprefecture...

    and départements, grouping several communes
    Communes of France
    The commune is the lowest level of administrative division in the French Republic. French communes are roughly equivalent to incorporated municipalities or villages in the United States or Gemeinden in Germany...

  • Cantons of Lebanon, unofficial areas controlled by the various militia
    The term militia is commonly used today to refer to a military force composed of ordinary citizens to provide defense, emergency law enforcement, or paramilitary service, in times of emergency without being paid a regular salary or committed to a fixed term of service. It is a polyseme with...

    s and factions during the Lebanese Civil War
    Lebanese Civil War
    The Lebanese Civil War was a multifaceted civil war in Lebanon. The war lasted from 1975 to 1990 and resulted in an estimated 150,000 to 230,000 civilian fatalities. Another one million people were wounded, and today approximately 350,000 people remain displaced. There was also a mass exodus of...

     and afterwards. Most areas have been returned to Lebanese government control.
  • Cantons of Luxembourg
    Cantons of Luxembourg
    ||The districts of Luxembourg are divided into 12 cantons. These cantons are subdivided into 116 communes. The cantons, listed by district, include:Diekirch District*Clervaux *Diekirch *Redange *Vianden *Wiltz Grevenmacher District...

    : a subdivision of the districts of Luxembourg
    Districts of Luxembourg
    The three districts of Luxembourg are the top-level administrative divisions of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. The districts are further subdivided into cantons:#Diekirch District#*Diekirch#*Clervaux#*Redange#*Vianden#*Wiltz#Grevenmacher District...

  • Cantons of Switzerland
    Cantons of Switzerland
    The 26 cantons of Switzerland are the member states of the federal state of Switzerland. Each canton was a fully sovereign state with its own borders, army and currency from the Treaty of Westphalia until the establishment of the Swiss federal state in 1848...

    : each a semi-sovereign state within Switzerland
    Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

  • subdivisions of vingtaine
    A vingtaine is a political subdivision of Jersey. They are subdivisions of the various parishes of Jersey, and one, La Vingtaine de la Ville , in Saint Helier is further divided into two cantons.St...

    s in Jersey
    Jersey, officially the Bailiwick of Jersey is a British Crown Dependency off the coast of Normandy, France. As well as the island of Jersey itself, the bailiwick includes two groups of small islands that are no longer permanently inhabited, the Minquiers and Écréhous, and the Pierres de Lecq and...

  • Juridical district in the Netherlands
    The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

Cantons in former countries

  • Cantons of the Ottoman Empire, also called kaza a subdivision of a sanjak
    Sanjaks were administrative divisions of the Ottoman Empire. Sanjak, and the variant spellings sandjak, sanjaq, and sinjaq, are English transliterations of the Turkish word sancak, meaning district, banner, or flag...

  • Cantons of the Soviet Union, subdivisions of several autonomous regions of the Soviet Union
    Soviet Union
    The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

     before 1941
  • In 1873, "Cantonalists
    Cantonalism, mainly prevalent in late 19th century and early 20th century Spain, is an insurrectionary movement which aims to divide the nation state into almost independent cantons....

    " took over the city of Cartagena, Spain
    Cartagena, Spain
    Cartagena is a Spanish city and a major naval station located in the Region of Murcia, by the Mediterranean coast, south-eastern Spain. As of January 2011, it has a population of 218,210 inhabitants being the Region’s second largest municipality and the country’s 6th non-Province capital...

    , a haven for the Spanish Navy, and declared the city independent (see Cantonal Revolution
    Cantonal Revolution
    The Cantonal Revolution was a cantonalist uprising that took place during the First Spanish Republic, starting on July 12 of 1873 in Cartagena...



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