Seal Stamp of the 6 Ports (Transport Cooperatives)

Cazis-Tartar, second half of the 18th century

Sumpter traffic, the transport of goods using pack animals, was of major economic importance for the people of Graubünden. From the late medieval period on, the villages located on the roads crossing the Splügen and San Bernardino passes were united in six cooperative transport associations, so-called «Ports». Tellingly, their stamp shows Mercury, the Roman god of trade. Each Port managed the traffic of goods in their respective section between two «Susten» (storehouses for transit goods where they were reloaded).

In 1823 these routes were converted into drivable roads. As a result, sumpter traffic abruptly declined in importance. In 1861 the Ports’ rights were abolished.