1622-1648 History of Italy 1700-1770

Graubünden 1648-1700

The strategic location of Graubünden, her control of Alpine passes and roads that connected or disconnected regions, had had a dominating influence on the policy and the fate of the country, and had brought a succession of foreign occupations, destruction, famine and disease over the previous decades.
The Spanish Alliance concluded in 1639 proved lasting; it also brought improved relations with neighbour Austria. Austrian rights in the Lower Engadin were purchased in 1649-1652. In 1663 the Bundestag rejected a request for an alliance by France; the Spanish Alliance was to last until 1700, until the begin of the War of Spanish Succession. Graubünden enjoyed a period of peace. In 1647 and again in 1668 Gr. was included in the area to be defended by (neutral) Switzerland.
The confessions in Graubünden coexisted peacefully, much to the dismay of Catholic Capucin patres who despised the fraternal relations between Catholics and Protestants.
Decades of warfare had resulted in lasting damage; still in the 1650es banditry was a problem in a country once reknown for the honesty of her inhabitants. As a consequence, the transit trade so vital to the country's economy only reached a fraction of prewar level. The transport routes deteriorated, as works on their maintenance were often neglected. Economic incentives offered by the Bundestag to revive the transit trade, such as customs tariff reduction, were not successful.
The schools were in a poor condition; superstition thrived, witchcraft trials were widespread. The country's Protestant Synod attempted to combat decadence by church ordinnances (1642ff). From 1685 onward, Huguenot and Waldensian refugees (from France and Savoy) requested permission to settle; 300 took up residence in Chur alone. Yet their economic activities were limited by regulations intended to protect the indigenous, and many later would move on. Some integrated.
Over the years, the cohesion of the country's inhabitants suffered from animosities between individual communities or within such communities; a number of court districts were split in order to end such disputes.
While the mercenary trade continued to be of major importance for Gr., it became less virulent after Louis XIV. introduced a standing army in France, an innovation soon followed by other states. Worse, the Swiss soldiers lost the reputation as being Europe's best infanterists to the Brandenburgian regiments. The pay offered to mercenaries sank by about 50 %, from c. 20 to 10 Livres monthly.

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]

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First posted on August 16th 2003, last revised on May 11th 2006

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