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Posts Tagged ‘geography’

Boundaries of Engadinesia

March 15th, 2009 Comments off
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.)

Categories: Engadinese Tags: , ,

Fimbatal and Samnaun

February 24th, 2009 Comments off

After reading the article in the German Wikipedia on the Fimbatal (Val Fenga), I know why the Switzerland–Austria border follows a funny course there, cutting through the middle of the valley rather than going around the bottom: apparently, the reason that the southern part of the Fimbatal is an exclave of the municipality of Ramosch is because of “the intensive search of that Engadine community for pasture areas during the late Middle Ages”.

I suppose I could consider duplicating that decision in WHATL, but I think I’ll still go with the “cleaner” way of running the border around the southern and eastern boundary of the valley rather than up the western border and then across it.

I still don’t know what to do with Nauders, though.

Though now that I think about that corner, perhaps I’ll cut off Samnaun rather than extending the border towards the Hexenkopf… then I could go roughly eastwards from Vesilspitze, via Muttler, rather than north then east then southeast.

That would end up at the same corner, where the Schalklbach meets the Inn River, which helps the situation a little on he northern shore of the Inn. The southern bit would still be a bit indeterminate; if I follow the modern boundaries, with the border going south to Piz Lad before going east across Resia Pass, then the question would be why bring the boundary down to that particular corner and not, say, come down near Tschlin/Strada rather than Vinadi.

Perhaps the ridge Schartlkopf–Gaispleiskopf–Schmalzkopf might work, and then down from there in a roughly westerly direction to the Schalklbach corner. Not quite sure of the best route, though; no particular way jumps out at me.

On the other hand, using the Kajetansbrücke is also tempting; in order to put that within the boundaries of Engadinesia, including Pfunds sounds tempting again (and then using the Radurschelback on the south and the other river on the north, perhaps). Or I might have a similar situation to the one now with Samnaun and the Spiss road, with the obvious/easy way into part of my territory running through a neighbour’s, and possibly a more difficult way later being built that was wholely within my own.

Decisions, decisions, again.

Or maybe not go as far as the Schalklbach corner but simply to go roughly northwards from Piz Lad along the ridge to the Inn River the the point where the valley from Nauders goes into the Inn, then across the Inn and up the other side the the peak that’s about 2900 m high.

Which starts to look a bit attractive since it seems more natural to me—it just excludes the path from Resia Pass and finishes at that “corner” rather than at the corner of a stream that doesn’t seem as obvious to me.

Even if the northern ridge is then not followed to its natural end, which would be the Schalklbach corner. Maybe a compromise is to have the northern/western boundary go to the Schalklbach corner and the southern/eastern one to the Nauders valley one, with the two points being joined by a short stretch down the middle of the Inn river. (Graubündener settlements seem to be more on the northern/western shore, anyway.)

Hm, the more I think about that possibility, the more attractive it seems to me. So perhaps I’ll end up doing that after all.

…though the ridge north of Piz Lad isn’t as well-defined any more, so I might as well just follow the current boundary, since it’s already there and all. Otherwise I’d have to figure out how to go from Piz Lad to the Nauders valley corner along the various lumps and bumps.

But that’s doable. A bit zig-zaggy, but doable.

Yuss.

Writing things down does help focus your thoughts 🙂

Categories: Engadinese Tags: ,

Boundary of Engadinesia, part the next

February 24th, 2009 Comments off

So, the north-western part of the boundary seems fairly certain to me now, from Chiavenna to Piz Buin, and also the cut across the valley west of Samnaun.

I’m also moderately pleased with what I did around Lake Como and at the eastern end of the Vinschgau.

I think this means that the only uncertain place left over is at the north, around Nauders/Pfunds.

When I’ve decided on that, I shall have to make a couple of maps for this blog and/or the Engadinese pages. (Which I’d have to start first, *cough*.)

Categories: Engadinese Tags: ,

Resia or not Resia

February 21st, 2009 Comments off

The Italian-Austrian border crosses the Resia Pass, but I had considered drawing the border of Engadinesia further north, closing off the valley of the Inn.

Now I had read the German Wikipedia article on watersheds in the Alps, and that said that the watershed line between Danube and Adige goes eastwards from Piz Lad via Resia Pass to the Weißseespitze… so the country border is not as arbitrary as I had at first thought.

Hm, I think I still want the boundary to turn north somewhere around Monte Cantone, though… to follow a peak line. Rather than going down from Piz Lad into the valley of the Inn, then up the valley of the Schergenbach past Spiss and further north up the valley before it hits a peak, the way the Swiss/Austrian border does now.

On the other hand, that would be easy to understand… hm. Decisions, decisions.

The article also helpfully included the course of the watershed on the mountains west of the Inn valley (e.g. between Inn and Landwasser); that didn’t help me as much as it could have since Google Maps doesn’t label all that many peaks on its Terrain view, but I have a map of Graubünden on the upstairs wall which is a bit better in that regard. So I’ll have to refer to that.

Categories: Engadinese Tags: ,

Geography of Engadinesia

February 20th, 2009 Comments off

So, I’ve made some maps (for myself) of Engadinesia, based on Google Maps’s Terrain views.

The southern border was the simplest: not only are the mountain crests fairly well-defined, but my proposed border follows provincial borders for most of the way. (Well, #2 is probably a consequence of #1, but it helped nonetheless.)

The rest is a bit more up for grabs.

Where I’m most unsure is the north-western border: from Val Bregaglia to Samnaun. The whole mountain range separating the valley of the Inn from that of the Landwasser doesn’t seem to have a well-defined crest along the middle–you have lots of transverse crests, passes, etc. Perhaps it would help if I got a decent map of where the municipality boundaries go, since those will presumably follow the “natural” boundaries. (Hm, will have to look at Tschubby’s fare.)

I’m also less sure about whether to include Bivio at the moment. And it would help if the Septimer Pass were marked.

I did decide to exclude the Valle di Lei, since it’s part of the Rhine really, and to include Nauders (though there again, the easter border is a bit fuzzy, especially as you get close to the Inn). And I’ll probably cross the Inn near Pfunds and keep going northwest for a bit to just southwest of Hexenkopf, then head southwest and rejoin the current CH-AT border. I’m a bit irritated that the natural ridge appears to start between Mataunkopf and Monte Cantone, but the boundary of Pfunds appears to start at Monte Cantone and then head northwest somehow.

Also not sure what to do with the place where the border crosses this big valley (Fimbabach?), which is part of CH-GR but doesn’t really seem to “fit” well there, since it opens into AT and I’m not sure how accessible it even is from the rest of GR.

I also did the southwest boundaries, by the Lago di Como, a bit differently from how Italy does it, with my border a bit further to the west, to make the area more contiguous in the face of Lago di Mezzola: the southern boundary extends west from Monte Legnone to the peninsula containing Rivetta and Olgiasca, and the western boundary extends north from (roughly) Gera Lario – Montemezzo – Montalto (as opposed to extending west from opposite Novate Mezzola).

Hm, decisions, decisions…

Categories: Engadinese Tags: , ,

Subdivisions of Engadinesia

February 19th, 2009 2 comments

I’ve been thinking about where I want Engadinese to be spoken… obviously, the Engadine valley, but I thought I’d also extend it to Valposchiavo (since that’s part of Graubünden, too), and then I wanted to include Livigno as well, since it sort of fits into the corner between Lower Engadine and Valposchiavo, and also becaue it drains into the Inn/Danube/Black Sea rather than the Po.

So I had a look at a bunch of topographical maps (Google Maps’s Terrain view), to see where the mountains are and where “logical” boundaries might be, and also had a look at Roman provinces to see whether any interesting names presented themselves, and what their boundaries were.

I also thought about what kind of administrative subdivisions I’d want and what to call them.

So far, I’m toying with roughly three options.

From the smallest to the largest, these are:

  1. Just the Engadine valley (Upper and Lower Engadine).
  2. The Engadine valley, Livigno, Val Poschiavo, Val Müstair, Val Bregaglia, and Valchiavenna (a valley I had not initially considered but which was apparently a popular conquest of the Three Leagues, and is a semi-natural extension of Val Bregaglia).
  3. All of the above, plus Valtellina, part or all of the Vinschgau (plus the small portion just north of it around Nauders which is part of Austria), the Bormio region, plus Bivio. (I think this would include all of the modern-day Italian Province of Sondrio, for example, so that could give me an idea of where to draw the borders.) Also based on historical extent of the influence of the Three Leagues.

Option 3 also has the attraction that the area would have the Reschen and Spluga passes, while Option 1 is a bit more geographically faithful; Val Poschiavo and Val Müstair really “belong” to the Valtellina and Vinschgau, respectively, and drawing the country border at the end of the valley mouth is not quite obvious. (Though one would have to do that if including Valchiavenna and Valtellina, I suppose.)

As for what to call it, the Roman empire is not much help; it’s just the eastern and southern parts of Raetia, and I’ve already used that name.

So perhaps I could go with West and East Raetia (but for separate countries which probably were not united at any point, this doesn’t make as much sense). Or maybe Haitia and Raetia, or whatever the respective dialect forms end up being, sort of like Slovakia/Slovenia?

As for administrative subdivisions, I think I might go with νομούς (“provinces”) subdivided into επαρχίας (“districts”); the provinces would probably be something like “Inn; Adda; Adige” while the districts might be something like “Upper Engadine; Lower Engadine; Val Müstair; Val Poschiavo; Val Bregaglia; Valchiavenna; Valtellina; Livigno; Bormio; Vinschgau” (names are placeholders only). Or maybe call them by city names—Province of Mals, Province of Vicosoprano, or whatever.

I’ll obviously have to think about nomenclature more should I decide to flesh this out.

Especially the name of the country and the language; having a placeholder name gets old after a while. I’m not sure what the people would call themselves, though.

Categories: Engadinese Tags: ,