On the Dalmatian coast of the Adriatic Sea, perches a city with origins that span nearly two millennia. The joining of two small towns, Dubrava and Laus, birthed the city of Dubrovnik. Dubrava was a community of Slavic immigrants, which was located at the foot of the woody Srd hill. Laus was a town on a little island off the southern Dalmatian coast. This town often gave shelter and protection to the Italian immigrants from the neighboring city of Cavtat. The origin of the city, as a joining of different worlds, was to be the harbinger for everything that would come of it.
Beginning with its formation in 7th century, when it was mapped and called Ragusium, Dubrovnik fell under the defense and fortification of the Byzantine Empire. This pledge of loyalty lasted through the Crusades up to year 1205. As soon as crusades subsided, Dubrovnik came to be under the authority and dominance of Venice (“Dubrovnik”1). During this period Dubrovnik was safeguarded from outside threats as a profitable seaport. There were two harbors constructed on each side of the isthmus. Two importance political papers helped to shape the history of the city from this period.
The Dubrovnik Statute, signed in 1272, and the Customs Statute signed in 1277. Title VII of the Statute, Chapter 67 is dedicated to the systematization of maritime customs and law. This covered ship equipment and maintenance, sea routes, crew member ratings, tonnage, general averages, their obligations and rights, sea rescue, general underwriting and averages, arsenals of the ship, and maritime trade agreements. The rise of Dubrovnik to the position of an independent state, and a prosperous and booming maritime city, was due directly to the success of these acts (“Shipping”).
When the city of Dubrovnik governed itself as a free state it adopted the name “Respublica Ragusina. ” This is translated as the Republic of Ragusa, and was sometimes refered to as the Republic of Dubrovnik. During these prosperous times of the Venetian occupancy, a strip of swampland down the middle of the two parts of the town was reclaimed. This combined the two halves of the city around a newly built plaza, which is now called Stradun, or Placa (“Dubrovnik”1) and became the new center of the town. This plaza was not renovated again until the middle of 14th century, under the reign of the Hungarian-Croatian Kingdom.
They came to power through the 1358 Peace Treaty of Zadar. In 1358, the Zadar Peace Treaty Dubrovnik free to return focus to shipbuilding at home. By the year 1525, a national shipyard was constructed in Gruz (“Shipping”). Ragusa’s Republic attained its historic financial and political peak of power during 15th and 16th centuries. At this time, they were competing with, and in cases surpassing, the prosperity of the renowned republic of Venice, as well as Italian maritime states. The power of the city state was governed by an aristocracy. They developed and maintained two City Councils.
These Councils were responsible for enacting, and upholding laws, which were not only profitable on material terms, but also extremely progressive on the humanitarian front. Despite the firm authoritarian system, which was comprised of structured social classes, they valued liberty very highly. The Republic of Ragusa eradicated slave trade within their ports and surrounding lands in the early part of 15th century. This encouraged growth via emigration. Balthasar de Faria to King John reported one example; in the year 1544 a ship arrived packed with Portuguese evacuees (“Dubrovnik”2).
While continuing to prosper, and gaining an international reputation, the city was able to balance its domestic power and authority with the interests of outsiders, such as the Ottoman Empire and Venice, for centuries. It was not the failure of the government that would lead to the inevitable fall from grace. In 1667 a natural disaster, an earthquake, struck the area. It was disastrous for the majority of the Mediterranean shipping ports, and left the Ragusa Republic badly weakened. Two years after, the governing body was compelled to sell two areas of its territory to the Ottomans.
The intent was to stabilize the economy and to defend itself from the improving Venetian armed forces. This maneuver worked well, protecting them from the Venetian forces, but as many others, Ragusa met with its conclusive downfall at the hands of Napoleon. The forces of Napoleon occupied and conquered the Venetian regions first, and followed by Dubrovnik state in 1806. At the beginning, Napoleon only asked for a free passage for the troops he led. He promised not to conquer the territory and places great emphasis on a treaty with the joint allies, the French.
It was the French armed forces which blocked the harbors of Dubrovnik and compelled the government to concede. French’s troops then entered the city. During this occupation, the people of the city painted every flag and coat of arms above the city walls black, as a symbol of misery and sorrow. Marshal Marmont eradicated the republic and assimilates its region into the Illyrian provinces in 1808 (“Dubrovnik”2). In 1815 Dubrovnik was freed from the control of the French forces, through the decree of the Congress of Vienna, and places in the hands of the Austrian Empire.
During that year the previous Ragusan government was able to meet for the last time. Substantial efforts made to reestablish the Republic failed miserably. Right after the downfall of the republic, the majority of the aristocracy relocated overseas. The Gozze family was the last remaining of the previous ruling class of families. The Croatian Assembly, Sabor, printed and circulated the People’s Requests. In this document, they asked for amongst other things, the elimination of serfdom and the amalgamation of Croatia and Dalmatia.
The municipality of Dubrovnik was the major talked of every Dalmatian commune in its support for amalgamation along with Croatia. A message was mailed from Dubrovnik to Zagreb with vows and promises to work for this plan. Through the year 1849, Dubrovnik persisted in its bid to head the Dalmatia cities in an effort for amalgamation. A large-scale movement was inaugurated in the Dubrovnik paper called L’Awenire, which means “The Future. ” The plan of action was based on a program of the Slavic brotherhood and the federal system for the Habsburg areas.
These included the lands of Dalmatia into Croatia. The first copy of the Dubrovnik almanac was the “Flower of the National Literature,” Dubrovnik, Cvijet Narodnog Knjizevstva, in which Petar Preradovic printed and circulated his renowned poem “To Dubrovnik (“Dubrovnik”1). ” The literary and journalistic texts in this paper influenced awareness of the national consciousness. This was mirrored in hard work to present the language of Croatian in school, business establishments, and government offices as well as the publication of Croatian books.
In response, Emperor Franz Joseph ordered the institution of a document called the “Imposed Constitution” which banned the amalgamation of Dalmatia and Croatia. In 1861 the first Dalmatia Assembly held a meeting which has representatives from Ragusa. Kotor’s representatives arrived in Dubrovnik to support the previously failed efforts for amalgamation with Croatia. Ragusa’s citizenries provided them a merry and cheerful welcome. They hung Croatian flags from the walls and banners displaying the slogan: “Ragusa with Kotor”. When the Kotorans assembled a commission to go to Vienna, Dubrovnik elected Niko Pucic to stand in for them.
Niko Pucic traveled to Vienna to request not only the amalgamation of Dalmatia and Croatia, but also the amalgamation of every Croatian’s areas and regions under a single communal Assembly. They remained subject to the Austrian Empire until 1867 with little significant social or economic change (“Dubrovnik”2). Niko Pucic made several contributions before he passed away in the year 1883. As a staunch supporter of the Croatian Assembly, he was one of the most vocal advocates of the amalgamation of Dalmatia, specifically Ragusa, with Croatia.
Additionally, he was also the founder of the review Slovinac and the editor of the review Ragusa. The year Niko Pucic passed, the region saw the death of another great political leader and writer as well, Ivan August Kaznacic. Ivan August Kaznacic was an advocate and a publicist of the Illyrian cause. He revised the review Zora Dalmatinska, translated as Dalmatian Dawn, and established the Dubrovnik review L’Awenire (“Dubrovnik”2). The city’s minister, Baron Francesco Ghetaldi-Gondola, had a monument constructed in memory of Ivan Gundulic in Piazza Gundulic.
It was the efforts of these men, and others like them, which eventually led towards toward the emancipation of Dubrovnik from the Austria-Hungary Empire in 1918. Throughout the centuries, the citizens refused to recognize Dubrovnik’s ‘official’ name Ragusa. With the downfall of the Austria-Hungary Empire and the unification of the territory into the Kingdom of Croats, Serbs, and Slovenes, which later became the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, their name was officially restored. Time marched on and still the changes did not stop coming. At the very start of World War II, Dubrovnik was the initial founding location of the Independent State of Croatia.
From April 1941 up to September 1943, Dubrovnik was inhabited by the Italian forces, which were followed by the Germans. In October of 1944, the Partisans removed the land from the hands of the Germans and Dubrovnik was made part of the second Yugoslavia in 1945 (“Dubrovnik”1). The Yugoslav People’s Army remained though the 1970s. During these later years the occupying forces came to recognize and respect the historical significance of the city’s architecture. In an effort to avoid it from turning to be a casualty of war, the walled interior of the 7th century “Old Town” was demilitarized.
New wars began in the last two decades, and much of the city, old and newer, was damaged by artillery and mortar attacks. The architecture and art were not the only artistic casualties of the war. The celebrated poet Milan Milisic died in the bombing campaign. At the end of the war, a rebuilding project headed by the UNESCO and Croatian authorities began. They reconstructed the city in salute to its original styles in order to both preserve and honor its rich history and beauty. The most damaged structures were still being reconstructed as of in 2005. (“Battle”) The town of Dubrovnik has much to be proud of.
Not only did this city remain intact throughout two thousand years of continuous invasion and war, but they grew more culturally complex, and yet steadfast in their identity, with each new wave. Every invasions brought new markets to the seaport town. During the middle Ages, as the Republic of Ragusa, it was the only eastern Adriatic city-state capable of competing with Venice. They worked with one of the most well known bell and cannon founder named Ian Rabljanin-Magister Johannes Baptista Arbesis de la Tolle, and it was during this reign of maritime trade that Dubrovnik earned the nickname “Pearl of the Adriatic” (“Dubrovnik”2).
The region now produces and markets leather goods, liquor, refined oil, diary products, and silk. In addition to marketing goods, the people of Dubrovnik have learned to market to a thriving industry of cultural tourism (“Dubrovnik” 293). Once a year, beginning with a welcome ceremony on the 10th of July, they host a drama, music and dance festival bringing tourists from all over the world. At night, there is a display of fireworks at sea, as well as festivity on the highways and boulevards. For the following seven weeks, there will be entertainers each day.
Some of these are historical, such as the Renaissance entertainment on the Square. Others are special displays of art at the many galleries, and concerts in the palace of Rector. The summer festival of Dubrovnik is the biggest, most famous, and most renowned cultural event in current day Croatia. This celebration springs from a 16th century revival of social and artistic culture. During the 15th and 16th centuries, the city was able to attain the attention of Masters. The wealth and proficiency of the regions diplomacy was due in no small part to progress through the spoken Croatian language.
Dubrovnik became home to the heart growth and development of Croatian painters, playwrights, physicists, language and literature. In addition, the city became home to several distinguished and remarkable poets, mathematicians and other scholars. There is still a strong and powerful expression of theatre, music and dance in the festivities today. These often include a star-studded line up of worldwide entertainers who flock to perform on the distinctive settings of both the interior and outdoor stages of the old town. In the year 2004, the festival drew 50,000 tourists and 300,000 neighboring guests.
There were about 151 journalists, 6 TV crews and 14 photographers were qualified, 1,300 articles printed and circulated, in addition to the innumerable domestic and international radio and TV mentions. The said ceremony has figurative value which the city presents itself to the arts (Rachlin, 28-29). Aside from shopping and cultural events, Dubrovnik is considered as one of the heart of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County for its numerous archeological attractions. The center of the settlement is a walled portion of what is called the “Old Town.
” This section of the city still has a medieval flavor and flare, tucked inside 9th century city walls. There are a pair of standing 14th century convents and an earlier cathedral, on which construction began in 1190. Additionally there is the 15th century palace of the Rector. Truly, Dubrovnik’s struggle for freedom has yielded success financially and socially to its own people and town. Despite the domination by several invaders, over centuries spanning into millennia, the leadership and the people of this town prospered and retained a sense of themselves.
They did not lose hope or heart, but continued to press on for the liberty they had mandated for others and deserved themselves. Repeatedly they refused to allow the circumstance hinder their pursuits of both market and social development at home and abroad. The leaders and the people stood together for rights they believed in. Dubrovnik’s success and beauty will continue to attract the attention of a world that values such determination and stand as a testament to the honor and strength of a great people. Works Cited “Battle of Dubrovnik”.
Annex XLA: The battle of Dubrovnik and the law of armed forces. United Nations-Security Council. /1994/674/Add. 2 (Vol. V), December 28, 1994. “Dubrovnik. “1 New Standard Encyclopedia. 6th ed. Standard Educational Corporation, Chicago. “Dubrovnik. “2 Wikipedia. 2005. Public Domain. 10 Sep 2006 < http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Dubrovnik>. Rachlin, J. , Walken, C. , Dance, C. and et al. “Dubrovnik’s Summer Festival”. GSReview, GS Magazine, pp. 28-29 July 10 to Aug. 25, 2005. “Shipping History”. 2004. Dubrovacka Plovidha. 10 Sep 2006 <http://www. atlant. hr/dubrovnik_shipping_history. html>