Already back in ancient times, the Julier Pass was an important transit route. Silvaplana was first mentioned in 1288. In 1476, the judicial court of Funtauna Merla confirmed the existence of the three “neighbouring communities of Silvaplana, Surlej and Champfèr”. This union probably marked the beginning of the formation of the political municipality of Silvaplana, comprising Silvaplana and the two hamlets of Surlej and Champfèr.
With the territorial division in 1538, the Suvretta stream was defined as the border between the municipalities of St. Moritz and Silvaplana, thus splitting Champfèr into two political areas. The buildings in Silvaplana are not very old; this is because the main village was originally located in sunny, wind-protected Surlej. Silvaplana was rather the place where the packhorse drivers and their animals, and later the postal coach passengers, merchants and traders, stayed the night.
In 1793, Surlej was almost completely buried under a huge landslide and the countryside flooded. After the disaster, the population of Surlej continually dropped, and the decline of this tiny village could not be halted. It was only when the Corvatsch ski area with its aerial cableway was opened up in 1963 that Surlej experienced an upswing.
The arguably most historically significant Silvaplana personality is Jürg Jenatsch, who was born around 1596 as the son of the curate, Israel Andreas Jenatsch. Nowadays, Jenatsch is heralded as the “Rescuer of the Fatherland”, having liberated the so-called “leagues” or local alliances from French rule in March 1637