ARRONDISSEMENT (from arrondir, to make round), an administrative subdivision of a department in France. Dating nominally from 1800, the arrondissement was really a re-creation of the "district" of 1790. It comprises within itself the canton and the commune. It differs from the department and from the commune in being merely an administrative division and not a complete legal personality with power to acquire and possess. The purposes for which it exists are, again, unlike those of the department and the commune, comparatively limited. It is the electoral district for the chamber of deputies, each arrondissement returning one member; if the population is in excess of 100,000 it is divided into two or more constituencies. It is also a judicial district having a court of first instance. It is under the control of a sub-prefect. There are 362 arrondissements in the 87 departments. Each arrondissement has a council, with as many members as there are cantons, whose function is to subdivide among the communes their quota of the direct taxes charged to the arrondissement by the general council of the department. (See France) Somewhat different from the arrondissements of the department are the arrondissements (20 in number) into which Paris is divided. They bear a certain resemblance to the sub-municipalities created in London by the London Government Act 1899, and each forms a local administrative unit (see Paris).
France is also subdivided, for purposes of defence, into five maritime divisions, termed arrondissements. Instituted originally under the Consulate, they were suppressed in 1815, but re-established again in 1826. They are under the direction of maritime prefects, who, by a decree of 1875, must be vice-admirals in the navy.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)