A canton is a type of administrative division of a country. In general, cantons are relatively small in terms of area and population when compared with other administrative divisions such as counties, departments, or provinces. Internationally, the best-known cantons - and the most politically important - are those of Switzerland. As the constituents of the Swiss Confederation, theoretically (and historically), the Swiss cantons are semi-sovereign states.
In specific countries
Cantons exist (or existed) in the following countries:
- Cantons of Belgium
- Cantonal Government of Bohol
- Cantons of Bolivia
- Cantons of Bosnia and Herzegovina: federal units of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Canada: Canadian French equivalent for the English word "township", since the translation municipalité is already used for a different level of government (see township).
- Cantons of Costa Rica: subdivisions below the provinces of Costa Rica
- Cantons of Ecuador: subdivisions below the provinces of Ecuador
- Cantons of El Salvador: divisions of a municipality 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: a subdivision of 'arrondissements' and départements, grouping several 'communes'
- Cantons of Lebanon, unofficial areas controlled by the various militias and factions during the Lebanese Civil War and afterwards. Most areas have been returned to Lebanese government control.
- Cantons of Luxembourg: a subdivision of the districts of Luxembourg
- Cantonal Government of Negros, short-lived provisional government in the Visayas during the Filipino-American Wars in the 19th-20th century Republic of Negros
- Cantons of Rojava (Western Kurdistan): Afrin, Kobanî, Jazira, Shahba Canton
- Cantons of Switzerland: each a semi-sovereign state within Switzerland
- subdivisions of vingtaines in Jersey
- subdivisions of the parishes of Guernsey
In former countries
- Cantons of Prussia: military enrollment districts between 1733 and 1813
- Cantons of Eastern Rumelia, the subdivisions below the departments.
- Cantons of the Soviet Union, subdivisions of several autonomous regions of the Soviet Union before 1941
- In the Republic of New Granada, cantons were subdivisions below the provinces of the Republic of New Granada
- In 1873, "Cantonalists" took over the city of Cartagena, Spain, a haven for the Spanish Navy, and declared the city independent (see Cantonal Revolution)