The Canton System (German: Kantonsystem or Kantonssystem) or Canton Regulation (Kantonreglement) was a system of recruitment used by the Prussian army between 1733 and 1813. The country was divided into recruiting districts called cantons (Kantone), and each canton was the responsibility of a regiment. The system was a Prussian distinctive. Every male was from the youngest possible age enrolled in the army, and by 1740 the Prussian army, with a strength of 3.6% of the total population, was proportionately the largest in Europe. The new system replaced coercive recruiting, which in turn replaced the hiring of undependable and expensive mercenary forces. It allowed the army to double from 38,000 to 76,000, making it the fourth largest in Europe, and it linked the local population more closely to the royal government.