1577-1622 History of Italy 1648-1700

Graubünden 1621-1648

Following the failed campaign against Bormio, in a three-pronged invasion, Austrian and Spanish troops occupied Graubünden. They encountered local resistance, which lacked coordination and leadership. Georg Jenatsch and his companions fled to Glarus. The Graubünden Bundestag, in the Treaty of Milan, Jan. 15/16th 1622, ceded the Münster Valley, the Lower Engadin, Davos, the Prätigau, Schanfigg and Belfort to Austria. The remainder was placed under Austrian military occupation; Bormio, Valtellina and Chiavenna remained under Spanish occupation. The Austrian administration promoted the Counterreformation; protestant religious services were banned, reading protestant books prohibited. Protestant preachers wee expelled, their places taken by Capucin monks.
In 1622 the peasants of the Prätigau rose in rebellion and expelled the Austrian occupation troops. Their call upon their brethren to join them found only lukewarm response; still they managed to cause the Austrians to withdraw entirely from Graubünden. The country cancelled the Treaty of Milan and returned to her old constitution. Graubünder forces even raided Austrian territory across the border.
In August 1622 a second Austrian invasion into Graubünden was staged. Graubünden General Rudolf von Salis was outnumbered and only could slow down the enemy's advance. The Austrians burnt down the conquered villages; von Salis thus had to cover the evacuation of the civilian population. By the end of the month, the country again was occupied by the Austrians; Graubünden had to sign the Treaty of Lindau, which in essence repeated the conditions of the Treaty of Milan.
After the rebellion and temporary liberation, the Counterreformation now was implemented with even more vigour; among those who converted was Rudolf Planta, Graubünden exile whose return the Austrians had made possible (1623). The winter from 1622 to 1623 brought famine and disease, which not only took their toll on the Graubünden population, but also on the Austrian occupation force.
In 1623 France decided to intervene; several thousand Graubünden exiles were recruited, with French money, as mercenaries, which under the command of French officer Marquis de Coeuvres, together with a French contingent and a regiment of Swiss mercenaries, liberated Graubünden in a brief campaign (Oct.1624-Feb.1625). The protrestant preachers returned, the old constitution was revived. Although the Valtellino was taken, de Couvres did not restore it to Graubünden. In March 1626, France concluded a treaty with Spain (T. of Monsonio), which formally restored the Valtellino to Gr., but guaranteed her Catholic faith and granted the valley self-administration. The French & Graubünden forces were to withdraw, and the valley was to be occupied by Papal forces, who occupied the valley in Feb. 1627. This treaty, signed without the knowledge of Gr., caused disappointment in their French allies, and some advocated reconciliation with the Austrians and Spanish.
In 1629 the succession in the Duchy of Mantua was contested, one of the claimants being a Frenchman and supported by France. The conflict escalated into a full-scale war. An Imperial force, formed in Lindau on Lake Constance, marched toward Mantua, taking route through Graubü,nden, which they occupied. Again protestant preachers had to leave the country, Capucin monks taking their places. Attendance at Catholic holy mass was mandatory. The Austrian troops also brought the Bubonic Plague into the country.
Swedish victories in 1631 caused Austria to give in in the Mantuan Succession War; at Chierasco a peace treaty was signed between Austria and France (Apr. 6th) in which the Emperor agreed to evacuate Gr. The Austrian troops departed; France recruited several thousand Gr. mercenaries and placed then under the command of the Duke de Rohan. However, the Duke failed to fulfil the Gr. expectation of reconquering the Valtellino. Georg Jenatsch, protestant preacher with diplomatic experience, now was an officer in the Gr. force. Doubting in the French he entered into secret communication with Austria, secretly converted to Catholicism (1635).
In 1635, France formally entered the Thirty Years War. The Duke de Rohan lead a force of 5,000 soldiers from the Alsace through Switzerland to Gr. Immediately he proceeded to occupy the Valtellino. Then he fended off a number of Austrian and Spanish attempts to invade Gr. Again, France refused to place the Valtellino under Gr. administration, treating it as a pawn to be used in peace negotiations. This again caused dissatisfaction in Gr.; in 1636 a mutiny began among the Gr. mercenaries; in February 1637 a conspiracy was reported; in March 1637 the Duke de Rohan faced a full-scale rebellion. The Duke of Rohan found himself and troops loyal to him under siege, and surrendered. By May 1637, the French troops departed.
On September 1639, Spain and Gr. concluded the Treaty of Milan, in which Spain recognized Gr. sovereignty over the Valtellino; Milan maintained the right to supervise the Gr. administration of V. and, if necessary, to protect the inhabitants. Protestant religious services in the V. were prohibited, the Bishop of Como charged with visitation; the Inquisition was banned from V. Gr. further signed an alliance with Milan. On August 9th 1641 an agreement was signed between Gr. and Austria; the latter fully recognized Graubünden. Among the few concessions Graubünden made was the permission for Capucin monks to preach in a few communities of the Lower Engadin, where the Counterreformation had resulted in a number of converts.
The Treaty of Westphalia 1648 recognized Graubünden as no longer forming part of the Holy Roman Empire.

Article Georg Jenatsch, from BBKL, in German; from EB 1911
Article Bündner Wirren (Graubünden Troubles), from Historisches Lexikon der Schweiz, in German
The Valtelline 1603-1639, by Horatio F. Brown, posted by MATEO
Protestantism in Chiavenna and the Valtellina, and its Suppression. from Schaff, Philip, (1819-1893), History of the Christian Church, Volume VIII: Modern Christianity. The Swiss Reformation.
REFERENCE Friedrich Pieth, Bündnergeschichte (History of Graubünden), Chur : Fr. Schuler 1945, 638 pp., in German
Geoffrey Parker, The Army of Flanders and the Spanish Road 1567-1659, Cambridge : UP 1972 [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on August 16th 2003, last revised on May 11th 2006

Click here to go Home
Click here to go to Information about KMLA, WHKMLA, the author and webmaster
Click here to go to Statistics

Impressum · Datenschutz