As in the previous century, Graubünden was a theater of war for foreign armies; Chur was repeatedly occupied by Austrian and French troops.
On the morning of March 7, 1799, the French commander-in-chief in Switzerland, General André Masséna, occupied the fortress on the Luziensteig. On the same day he advanced through the Rhine valley in Chur, reached Chur, where the commander of the Austrians, General Auffenberg, fell into his captivity. Many Chur soldiers were taken prisoner. The prisoners were transferred to the fortress of Aarburg and held there. Among them were Johann Jakob von Köhl (1763-†1826) - councilman of Chur, bookbinder, guild master, 36 years old. Also city watchman Christian Köhl, was interrogated and accused of having conspired against the French. The professional soldier Bernhard Köhl, just returned from France, had joined the Churians and was arrested like his brothers. The participation of Christian Köhl in the masquerade of Chur in 1799 must have displeased the French.
In 1799, the Free State of the Common Three Leagues was annexed to Helvetia as the canton of "Rhaetia".
Napoleon's Mediation Constitution for Switzerland (1803) also regulated the situation in Graubünden. The Mediation Constitution transferred the execution of all acts (decisions) emanating from the Grand Council to the Small Council. Thus, for the first time, the Canton of Graubünden had a permanent government. Three federal officers served the authority and accompanied the state deputies to the Federal Diet. Chur becomes the capital of the Plessur district. The first cantonal constitution dates from 1814. Chur can assert itself against initial competition from Ilanz and Davos only in 1820 as the capital of the newly created canton of Graubünden.
Letterhead of a letter from the French General Jardon, 2. Thermidor, 8. Jahr (20. Juli 1800) (Webseite Stadt Chur)
75: Der Krieg gegen die Franzosen im Bündner Oberland 1799, Augustin Cahannes, 1962
76: Die Hungersnot von 1816/17 in Graubünden, Peter Brosi, 2006