The Canton of Glarus is a canton in east central Switzerland. The capital is Glarus. The population speaks a variety of Alemannic German. The majority of the population (81%) identifies as Christian, about evenly split between the Protestant and Catholic confessions.
According to legend, the inhabitants of the Linth Valley were converted to Christianity in the 6th century by the Irish monk Saint Fridolin, the founder of Säckingen Abbey (d. 538). The Alemanni began to settle in the valley from the early 8th century. The Alemannic German language took hold only gradually, and was dominant by the 11th century. From the 9th century, the area around Glarus was owned by the Säckingen Abbey, town of Glarus being recorded as Clarona. By 1288 the Habsburgs claimed all the abbey's rights.
Glarus joined the Old Swiss Confederacy in 1352 as one of the foundational eight cantons (Acht Orte) of the period of 1353–1481. The first recorded Landsgemeinde of Glarus took place in 1387. Habsburgian attempts to reconquer the valley were repelled in the Battle of Näfels of 1388. A banner depicting Saint Fridolin was used to rally the people of Glarus at that battle, and from that time Glarus has used the image of Saint Fridolin on its flags and in its coat of arms.
The county of Werdenberg was annexed to Glarus in 1517. Between 1506 and 1516 the later reformer Huldrych Zwingli was priest in Glarus, but Glarus remained Catholic, and by 1564 all of Zwingli's followers were eliminated. This, however, did not end the struggles between the Protestants and the Catholics in the area. To secure peace it was decided that each party should have its own assembly (Landsgemeinde) in 1623, and at a later stage in 1683, each side was granted the right to have its own tribunals.
On May 6, 2007 Glarus became the first Swiss canton to lower the voting age to 16.