1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Engadine

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ENGADINE (Ger. Engadin; Ital. Engadina; Ladin, Engiadina), the name of the upper or Swiss portion of the valley of the Inn, which forms part of the Swiss canton of the Grisons. Its length by carriage road from the Maloja plateau (5935 ft.) at its south-western end to Martinsbruck (3406 ft.) at its north-eastern extremity is about 59 m. It is to be noted that up to and including St Moritz (6037 ft., the highest) all the villages (save Sils-Baseglia) at its south-western end are higher than the Maloja plateau itself. The uppermost portion of the valley contains several lakes, which, as one descends, gradually diminish in size, those of Sils, Silvaplana and St Moritz. But both the Maloja plateau and the south-western half of the lake of Sils belong to the commune of Stampa in the Val Bregaglia, and are included in the Bregaglia administrative district, so that, from a political point of view, Sils is the first village that is included in the Engadine. The rest of the Engadine forms the districts of the Upper Engadine with eleven communes, and of the Inn (i.e. the Lower Engadine), subdivided into the Ob Tasna, Remüs, and Unter Tasna circles, and containing twelve communes.

In 1900 the total population of the Engadine was 11,712, of whom 5429 were in the Upper Engadine and 6283 in the Lower Engadine. In point of religion 8594 were Protestants (4923 in the Lower Engadine and 3671 in the Upper Engadine), and 3086 Romanists (1728 in the Upper Engadine and 1358 in the Lower Engadine), while there were 12 Jews in the Upper Engadine and 2 in the Lower Engadine: in the Upper Engadine the majority in each commune was Protestant (the Romanists strongest in St Moritz), as also in the case of the Lower Engadine, save Tarasp and Samnaun, where the Romanists prevail. In point of language 7609 inhabitants (5010 in the Lower Engadine and 2599 in the Upper Engadine) spoke the curious Ladin dialect (a survival of a primitive Romance tongue), and 2221 German (1265 in the Upper Engadine and 956 in the Lower Engadine). The capital of the Upper Engadine is Samaden (967 inhabitants), and that of the Lower Engadine, Schuls (1117 inhabitants). In 1908 there were no railways in the Engadine, save about 8 m. (from the mouth of the tunnel past Bevers and Samaden to St Moritz village) of the railway pierced (1898–1902) beneath (5987 ft.) the Albula Pass (7595 ft.), which now affords the easiest means of access from Coire to St Moritz (56 m.); but many railways in and to the Engadine have been planned. The valley is reached by many passes (over which excellent carriage roads were constructed 1820–1872). The Maloja (5935 ft.) is the route from Chiavenna and the Lake of Como to the Upper Engadine, which is also reached from Coire by the Julier (7504 ft.) and the Albula Passes (7595 ft.) as well as from Tirano in the Valtellina by the Bernina Pass (7645 ft.). On the other hand, the Lower Engadine is accessible from Davos over the Flüela Pass (7838 ft.) and from Mals at the head of the Adige valley (or the Vintschgau) by the Ofen Pass (7071 ft.), while from Martinsbruck, the last Swiss village, a carriage road leads up to Nauders (5 m.), whence it is 27 m. by road down the Inn valley to Landeck on the Arlberg railway, or 171/2 m. over the Reschen Scheideck Pass (4902 ft.) to Mals in the Vintschgau.

The Upper Engadine consists of a long, straight, nearly level trough of 26 m., varying from a mile to half a mile in breadth, through which flows the Inn. On the south-east this trough is limited by the lofty glacier-clad Bernina group (culminating in the Piz Bernina, 13,304 ft.) and the range rising between the Inn valley and that of Livigno to the south-east, while on the north-west the boundary is the extensive Albula group (culminating in Piz Kesch, 11,228 ft.). The Lower Engadine is far more picturesque and romantic than the Upper Engadine, the Inn valley being here much narrower and the fall greater. On its north-west rises the last bit of the Albula group (culminating in Piz Vadret, 10,584 ft.), and on the north the Silvretta group (culminating in Piz Linard, 11,201 ft.), while to the east and south are the ranges on either side of the Ofen Pass (culminating in Piz Sesvenna, 10,568 ft.). In the Upper Engadine the villages are on the floor of the valley, but in the Lower Engadine many are perched high above the bed of the river on terraces, and are cut off from each other by deep ravines.

The Upper Engadine is far better known to foreign visitors than the Lower Engadine, and is consequently much richer and more prosperous. The mineral waters of St Moritz (q.v.) were known and employed in the 16th century, and long formed the great attraction of the region. But about the middle of the 19th century the Upper Engadine came into fashion as a great “air-cure,” and now Maloja, Sils, Silvaplana, Campfer and St Moritz are all well known; those who desire to explore the glaciers of the Bernina group mostly resort to Pontresina, on the Flatzbach, the stream descending from the Bernina Pass. Yet, owing to its great elevation, the scenery of the Upper Engadine has a bleak, northern aspect. Pines and larches alone flourish, garden vegetables are grown only in sunny spots, and there is no tillage. The Alpine flora is very rich and varied. But snow falls even in August, and the climate is well described in the proverb, “nine months winter, and three months cold weather.” The villages are built entirely of stone (as also in the Lower Engadine), chiefly to guard against destructive fires that were formerly frequent in this narrow, wind-swept valley. The wealth of the inhabitants consists in their hay meadows and pastures. The lower pastures support large herds of cows, while the higher are let out (in both parts of the valley) to Bergamasque shepherds, who come thither every summer with their flocks. In the Lower Engadine the chief attraction is formed by the mineral springs at Schuls below Tarasp, which are much frequented during the summer. The wild gorge of Finstermünz separates the last Swiss village, Martinsbruck, from the first Tirolese village, Pfunds, the gorge being passable only on foot, while the carriage road makes a great detour by way of Nauders, so that the two villages named are 13 m. by road from each other. The earliest full description of the country by an English traveller is that by Archdeacon W. Coxe, in Travels in Switzerland (London, 1789).

The Upper Engadine is not mentioned in authentic documents till 1139, the bishop of Coire being then the great lord, and, from the 13th century, having as his bailiffs the family of Planta, the original seat of which was at Zuz. The valley obtained its freedom from both in 1486 (Planta) and in 1526, when the temporal powers of the bishop were abolished. In 1367 it (as well as the bishop’s vassals in the Lower Engadine) joined the newly founded League of God’s House or Gotteshausbund (see Grisons), one of the 3 Raetian Leagues, which lasted till 1799–1801, when the whole Engadine became part of Canton Raetia of the Helvetic Republic, which, in 1803, altered its name to that of Grisons or Graubünden, and then first entered the Swiss Confederation. In the Upper Engadine the “Referendum” existed as between the different villages composing a bailiwick (Hochgericht). The history of the Lower Engadine is for long quite different. Though always comprised in the diocese of Coire, it formed from the early 9th century onwards (with the Vintschgau) a separate county, which was gradually absorbed in that which, later, took the name of the county of Tirol. The limit between the Upper Engadine and the Tirolese Lower Engadine was definitively fixed in 1282 at the Punt’ Ota (the high bridge) just above Brail, and mentioned in 1139 already. In 1363 Tirol came into the possession of the Habsburgers, who were troublesome neighbours both to the Upper Engadine and to the League of God’s House. Their power was stemmed in 1499 at the battle of the Calven gorge (above Mals), though it was only in 1652 that the Lower Engadine bought up the remaining rights of the Habsburgers. But the castle of Tarasp (acquired by them in 1464) was excepted: the lordship was given by them in 1687 to the Dietrichstein family, and held by it till 1801, when Austria ceded it to France, which, in 1803, handed it over to the Swiss Confederation, by which it was incorporated in 1809 with the Canton of the Grisons. This long connexion with Tirol accounts for the fact that Tarasp is still mainly Romanist, while the lonely Swiss valley of Samnaun (above Martinsbruck) has given up its Protestantism and its Ladin speech owing to communications with Tirol being easier than with Switzerland. The bears in the bear pit at Bern come from the forests in the lower Spöl valley, above Zernez, in the Lower Engadine, on the way to the Ofen Pass. The upper Spöl valley (Livigno) is Italian (see Valtellina).

Authorities.—M. Caviezel, Das Oberengadin, 7th edition (Coire, 1896); C. Decurtius, Rätoromanische Chrestomathie, vols. v.-ix. (Erlangen, 1899–1908), deals with the two divisions of the Engadine from the 16th century to modern times; Mrs H. Freshfield, A Summer Tour in the Grisons and the Italian Valleys of the Bernina (London, 1862); E. Imhof, Itinerarium des S.A.C. für die Albulagruppe (Bern, 1893), and Itinerarium des S.A.C. für die Silvretta- und Ofenpassgruppe (Mountains of the Lower Engadine) (Bern, 1898); E. Lechner, Das Oberengadin in der Vergangenheit und Gegenwart (Leipzig, 1900); A. Lorria and E. A. Martel, Le Massif de la Bernina (complete monograph on the Upper Engadine, with full bibliography) (Zürich, 1894); P. C. von Planta, Die Currätischen Herrschaften in der Feudalzeit (Bern, 1881); Z. and E. Pallioppi, Dizionari dels Idioms Romauntschs d’Engiadina ota e bassa, &c. (Samaden, 1895); F. de B. Strickland, The Engadine, 2nd edition (London and Samaden, 1891); J. Ulrich, Rätoromanische Chrestomathie, vol. ii. (Halle, 1882).  (W. A. B. C.)