Kingdoms, Principalities, Baronies, & Shires
Kingdom. The SCA Knowne Worlde (most of earth) is divided into numerous large plots of land called Kingdoms. Sometimes these Kingdoms may span several and/or parts of U.S. States and/or other countries. Each of these Kingdoms has it's own King and Queen (governing rulers) and Crown Prince and Princess (heirs to the throne). For more details on the various Kingdoms currently in the Knowne Worlde, please visit SCA.org or talk to your local Seneschal.
Principality. When a large section of a Kingdom, usually containing numerous smaller active SCA groups reaches a certain level of participation and has contributed significantly to the overall well-being of the Kingdom, representative from that large section may get organized and petition the Kingdom to elevate them to the status of a Principality. Once approved, a Principality holds a tournament to determine who will be the Prince and Princess (governing rulers of the Principality) then another tournament will be held to determine who will be the Tanist and Tanista (heirs to the Principality throne). Getting elevated to Principality level makes this large section of the Kingdom responsible to itself (to a degree) operationally, administratively, and fiscally. It is also the first step toward becoming a Kingdom.
Barony. Within Kingdoms and Principalities are smaller areas which have active SCA participation. If these areas have proven fealty to the Kingdom, they may have been elevated to the status of Barony. If so, the area has a Baron and Baroness who become peers to the Crown. A barony reports directly to the Crown.
Shire. Most of these smaller areas are referred to as Shire. Shires are usually well organized and have a significant number of active members. Shires are often groups which will eventually become Baronies.
Canton. The smaller groups who do not quite yet have enough participation to be a Shire are known as Cantons. Cantons usually report to the nearest Shire or Barony, but may report to the Kingdom.
College. Colleges are SCA groups which are located on a college or university campus. Sometimes, colleges are completely inactive for a few months while classes are not in session. They report to the nearest Shire of Barony.
Ports. Ports are SCA groups which are established on naval vessels. They are a less formal group and sometimes go inactive without losing their standing due to the nature of their location. Ports report to the nearest Shire or Barony.
Forts & Strongholds. Forts and Strongholds are SCA groups which are established on either army or marine military bases. They are also less formal groups and sometimes go inactive for periods of time. They report to the nearest Barony or Shire.