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Boundaries of Engadinesia

March 15th, 2009
Map of Engadinesia with its divisions as well as adjoining Greater Tyrol

Map of Engadinesia (blue) with its divisions (red) as well as adjoining Greater South Tyrol (magenta). Based on a Wikimedia Commons image by Lencer, used by permission. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

So… just when I thought I had finalised the boundaries of Engadinesia, I had a thought… what about adding in the areas that speak Ladin, in the Dolomites?

This is essentially the four valleys around Piz Boè (clockwise from the north: Gadertal/Val Badia, Buchenstein/Fodom, Fassatal/Fascia, and Gröden/Gherdëina) as well as the valley around Cortina d’Ampezzo/Anpëz a bit further east. Some say that the language of Nonstal/Val di Non is also Ladin rather than a dialect of Italian.

So I had a look at the boundaries that would result from that.

The five main valleys where Ladin is spoken are divided up between three Italian provinces *here* (Trentino, Südtirol/Alto Adige, and Belluno); some say that this was done deliberately, to splinter the Ladin-speaking community.

Be that as it may, I let myself be inspired by the province boundaries of Südtirol and the language boundaries of the Ladin-speaking areas as marked on this map; you can see the result on the map above.

That would also have the advantage that Engadinesia would not be so teeny-tiny any more.

But it wasn’t completely satisfactory, for some reason. Partly, I suppose, because I had already done so much work on the boundaries, and partly because that region was not traditionally associated with Switzerland, Graubünden, or its predecessor leagues.

So I decided I might leave it a bit more similar to *here*. After all, whether or not the various Ladin languages/dialects are related to the Romansh ones isn’t clear (that’s essentially the Questione Ladina).

So I think I would posit some Ladin-ish Graeclangs in the Dolomites in the east, surrounded by a German-speaking area (whether that would belong to a Germany-ish, Austria-ish, Italy-ish, Switzerland-ish, or other-ish country is open), and some Romansh-ish Graeclangs (of which the standard is Engadinese) in the west.

I also decided I would probably not make Engadinesia into a country, since it would be pretty small one. Instead, I would probably make both Engadinesia and Rhaetia be provinces of a bigger country, possibly a Switzerland-ish one.

I might have to update the nomenclature of my subdivisions (provinces and districts might become districts and circles or something, if Engadinesia itself is a province), or I might call Engadinesia a canton or something and leave its provinces. On the other hand, “province” might not be quite the word for so small an area.

Engadinesia with provinces marked. Based on a Wikimedia Commons image by Lencer. Used by permission.

Engadinesia (blue) with provinces marked (in red). Based on a Wikimedia Commons image by Lencer, used by permission. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

Anyway. I thought the “provinces” (as I’ll call them for now) would follow the natural river valleys, so I’d have, clockwise from the northwest: Inn, Adige, Adda, and Mera (these are the English names). The provinces would be named after the main river.

These also correspond to three major river drainage areas: the Inn flows into the Danube, the Adige has a decent-sized drainage area, and Adda and Mera flow into the Po eventually. (I debated leaving the Adda and Mera provinces together, but decided to split them up in the end, partly because Val Bregaglia didn’t really seem to fit well with the valley of the Adda. It’s all subjective in the end.)

I also decided to split up the provinces into districts, and have a semi-final hand-drawn map of those, but haven’t digitised those borders yet. The districts I’m planning to call by the name of the main town in them, in most cases.

You’ll see that I decided to split off not only the Fimbertal/Val Fenga but also Samnaun. So history *there* obviously went differently from history *here*, where those two areas were claimed by farmer and herdsmen from the Inn valley as additional pasture land. (The Valle di Lei is also not part of Engadinesia, since it drains into the Rhine; it’s part of Rhaetia, I think.)

So, now that that’s more or less settled, I just have to see about settling on the actual names in Engadinese — and figure out a better name for the language and the country than Engadinese/Engadinesian!

(For the area, I’m considering “East Rhaetia”, and what’s currently known as “Rhaetia” would then be “West Rhaetia”. But I don’t particularly like that, either.)

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