Canton in Switzerland, the largest and most sparsely populated canton of the country; area 7,106 sq km/2,743 sq mi; population (2003 est) 183,700. The capital is Chur. The inner valleys are the highest in Europe, and the main sources of the River Rhine rise here. It also includes the resort of Davos and, in the Upper Engadine, St Moritz. Ladin (a form of Romansch) is still spoken by about a quarter of the population. Graubünden entered the Swiss Confederation in 1803.
The name is derived from the grey coat worn by the people of the canton, who formed a league in the 15th century to resist the tyranny of the Austrian aristocracy.
Physical Graubünden is bounded on the east and south by the Tirol (Austria) and Lombardy (Italy). It is an entirely Alpine canton intersected by narrow glaciated valleys. It includes the Engadine, the upper valley of the River Inn; the three main sources of the Rhine; and several glaciers. Cattle-rearing in the valleys is supplemented by summer grazing in the Alps. Iron, lead, and copper are found in small quantities and there are mineral springs. The Egandine Valley and the Swiss National Park, in the eastern part of the canton, attract large numbers of tourists.
Languages The German-speaking part of the population is centred mainly around Chur and Davos, the Italian-speaking people in the southern valleys adjoining Italy, while Ladin is still widely spoken in the Vorderrhein (called Surselva by the Romansch-speakers) and Engadine valleys.