The Canton of Zürich has a population (as of ) of . The canton is located in the northeast of Switzerland and the city of Zürich is its capital. The official language is German. The local Swiss German dialect called Züritüütsch is commonly spoken. In English the name of the canton is often written without an umlaut.
The Prehistoric pile dwellings around Zürichsee comprises 11 of total 56 Prehistoric pile dwellings around the Alps in Switzerland, that are located around Zürichsee in the cantons of Schwyz, St. Gallen and Zürich. Located on Zürichsee lakeshore, there are Freienbach–Hurden Rosshorn, Freienbach–Hurden Seefeld, Rapperswil-Jona/Hombrechtikon–Feldbach, Rapperswil-Jona–Technikum, Erlenbach–Winkel, Meilen–Rorenhaab, Wädenswil–Vorder Au, Zürich–Enge Alpenquai, Grosser Hafner and Kleiner Hafner. Because the lake has grown in size over time, the original piles are now around to under the water level of . Also on the small area of about around Zürichsee, there also the settlements Greifensee–Storen/Wildsberg on Greifensee and Wetzikon–Robenhausen on Pfäffikersee lakeshore. As well as being part of the 56 Swiss sites of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, each of these 11 prehistoric pile dwellings is also listed as a Class object in the Swiss inventory of cultural property of national and regional significance.
The canton of Zürich consists of lands acquired by the capital Zürich after it became reichsfrei in 1218, especially after the revolution of the guilds in 1336. Zürich joined the Swiss Confederacy in 1351. The lower part of the canton was added to the territories of Zürich in 1362. Zürich claimed and lost the Toggenburg in the Old Zürich War of the 1440s. The northern parts up to the river Rhine came to the canton after the city of Zürich purchased Winterthur from the Habsburgs in 1468. Possessions to the west gained independence from Zürich as parts of the Canton of Aargau in 1803. In 1804 the Kantonspolizei Zürich was established as Landjäger-Corps des Kantons Zürich.
The people approved a new constitution for the canton in February 2005, replacing the 1869 constitution. The new constitution took effect in January 2006. The Antiquarische Gesellschaft in Zürich is an organization devoted to preserving the canton's history, the Staatsarchiv Zürich houses the state archives.