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Page: Dubrovnik City History - The Republic of Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik City History

The city was once known as Dubrovnik Republic
or Republic of Ragusa

Dubrovnik has had a 500-year long and rich history, when it was known as Dubrovnik Republic. These days its long history is reflected in its many monuments - the surrounding walls of Dubrovnik just being one of the most recognized.

The city was originally established by the populace of Epidaur (today’s Cavtat), whose city was destroyed at the time. In the 7th Century they created a settlement called Ragusium, the predecessor of Dubrovnik.

One of Croatia's oldest cities, Dubrovnik has a rich heritage, reflected in landmark attractions, such as the famous Stradun. (Image by

The Republic of Dubrovnik

Over the centuries Dubrovnik grew in its size and strength, and owing to its growing populace’s commercial needs, acquired mainland and island territories. In the 15th Century it became known as the Republic of Dubrovnik (Respublica Ragusina in Italian, or Republic of Ragusa in English). Its territory at one stage or another stretched from the islands of Peljesac and Mljet down south (in the 14th Century), all the way to include even the islands of Hvar and Brac up north (in the 15th Century), the two largest islands near Split.

The power of the Dubrovnik Republic rested largely on its commercial success and good relations with its neighbours. It was the first country to introduce quarantine’s procedures on its borders, trying to protect its locally grown produce from diseases.

First to abolish slavery

The Republic of Dubrovnik was the first in Europe and indeed the first country in the world to abolish slavery - on 26. January 1416. Slavery was abolished 150 years later in England in 1569, while in the U.S.A. slavery was abolished in 1862, towards the end of the civil war.

Dubrovnik was a city state similar to the likes of Venice, Pisa, Genoa or even Duchy of Amalfi a de facto independent states, governed by a patriciate. Dubrovnik was led by 30 families, of which 11 families were in patriciate.

Dubrovnik Republic existed for 500 years without any internal conflicts, wars, or change of political structure. Dubrovnik was only 2nd in history to use business intelligence effectively in conducting its business affairs, after Sweden.

Dating from the 14th century, the clock tower is a striking landmark in the old city,
standing tall in the Stradun, the busiest spot in Dubrovnik.
 (Image by

Dubrovnik's famous citizens

Being one of the most enlightened cultural, artistic and commercial centres in its time, it produced many famous people. These include well-known comedy playwright and poet Marin Držić, who wrote the play "Dundo Maroje". Ivan Gundulic was another well known poet, from Dubrovnik.

Marin Getaldic (Getaldus) is another famous citizen of Dubrovnik, the physicist and mathematician – his famous parabolic mirror is today kept in the Maritime Museum in Greenwich.

One of the first books on world economic literature, "On Trading and the Perfect Merchant", was written in mid 15th Century by Benko Kotruljevic, in Dubrovnik. This early microeconomic scientific dissertation is in use even today – he was the first to establish the double-entry bookkeeping.

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