Introduction of Dubrovnik
City and port on the Dalmatian coast of Croatia, on the S Adriatic Sea. Founded by the Byzantines in the seventh century a.d., by the 13th century the city was a dependency of Venice and a main port on Venetian routes from Greece, the Levant, and the Black Sea. In the late 14th century it was an independent maritime republic until the advances of Hungary placed it under the rule of the Angevins. In 1409 it again passed to Venice.
Once again independent in the early 15th century, it controlled the overland route from Florence to Ancona, across the Adriatic, and thence through the Balkans to Constantinople, carrying cloth to the East and spices and luxury goods west. On the sea Ragusa also vied with Venice for control of the lucrative trade with Alexand ria in Egypt. Though nominally subject to the kings of Hungary and then to the Ottoman Empire, it retained its neutrality in East- West conflicts and continued to profit from trade. By the 16th century Ragusa’s fleets rivaled those of Venice; and from 1537 to 1540, when expelled from the Ottoman Empire, the Venetians were forced to use Ragusan ships. By 1570 its trade had reached its height, and the city acted as a middleman, transferring goods from Alexand ria and the Levant as far N as England . Ragusa’s ships were widely known in London, and its name, Arragosa, may be the origin of the English word argosy. After 1592 Ragusa’s prosperity diminished after Venice established an inland trade route via Split. In 1617 it allied with Spain and Naples against Venice and continued its rivalry until destroyed by an earthquake in 1667, recovering only slowly. It was finally captured by Napoleon in 1808. Part of the Illyrian Provinces from 1808 to 1813, it was incorporated into Yugoslavia in 1918.
Dubrovnik was attacked and besieged by Serbian forces in 1991–92, and many of the city’s ancient buildings were damaged. The old city was rebuilt and is an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
As Dubrovnik, the city today is a miniature Venice with its two harbors, its Lovrjenac Fortress of the 14th to the 16th centuries, its 13th-century synagogue, 14th-century Franciscan convent, 15th-century Dominican convent, and 16th-century bishop’s palace.