Period IV

Mitte in den Alpen, Disentis, Graubünden. Foto: TES.

The Alpine Convention

At the beginning of the early modern period, around 1500, there were a few hundred (very) small and large independent states on the continent. Around 1 900 there were only thirty. The increased size of the state areas has reversed the decline in the number.

Johann Heinrich Zedler (1706-1751) already investigated this for the Alpine region in 1732. He counted dozens of independent areas in the Alps. The encyclopaedias at the end of the 19th century no longer mention these small units, but the states above them, such as the Austrian monarchy, the Kingdom of Italy, the French Republic and the Swiss Confederation. This led to borders and barriers between regions which previously had a common commuter and residential traffic.

After the Second World War, development took a different direction. The rise of regionalism was visible in the Alpine region with its high border density. The establishment of transnational working communities at the regional level and the Alpine Convention (Alpenkonvention) of 7 November 1991 created a common political structure. (J. Mathieu, Die Alpen. Raum, Kultur, Geschichte Stuttgart 2015).