Samedan was mentioned for the first time in the Gamertingen Agreement of 1139 and became an autonomous municipality in 1538. It gained political importance in the 15th and 16th century, rivalling with Zuoz. This conflict between the two municipalities went so far that on one occasion an arbitration court made up of representatives of the Three Leagues had to be appointed to settle the dispute.
It was only in the 19th century, after frictions had been eased, that Samedan became the capital of the Upper Engadin. Several of the village's inhabitants played a significant role in Swiss and Graubünden history, including the Samedan branches of the von Salis and Planta families. In around 1700, the two families between them accounted for half of the tax revenue, and their wealth and power are still reflected in their magnificent patrician houses in the historic village centre.
The Badrutt family of hoteliers, who went on build Badrutt's Palace Hotel in St. Moritz, also hail from here. The golf course was opened in 1893, the district hospital was built in 1895, and the Engadin Press was founded in 1902. The first train from Chur pulled in to the village in 1903. Today, Samedan plays a central role as a transport hub and even has its own airport.