Ragusa (Dubrovnik) 1358-1526

History prior to 1358

Ragusa (Dubrovnik, in Dalmatia) is not to be confused with Ragusa on Sicily.

When the pagan Croats conquered and settled Dalmatia, (Roman) refugees from Epidaurum and Salona founded the city of RAGUSIUM in 614. The city was besieged by the Saracens in 866/867, but relieved by a Byzantine fleet. Relations to their now christian Croat neighbours have improved; from 878 the Dalmatian coastal cities, among them Ragusa, although under Byzantinian sovereignty, pay tributes to the Croat duke. In 972 the Ragusans choose St. Blasius (St. Vlaho) as their patron saint; aound 999 the Diocese of Ragusa was elevated to an ARCHDIOCESE. Ragusa was Venetian 1000-1018, accepted Norman (Sicilian) sovereignty 1081-1085, came again under Byzantinian rule in 1167.
In 1181 the COMMUNITY OF RAGUSA is documented for the first time. The city fended off attacks of the Serbs under Duke Stefan Nemanja (1184-1186). The city became a trading center, signing many bilateral treaties with cities or rulers facilitating trade. Byzantinian sovereignty ceased with the conquest of Constantinople during the 4th crusade (1204), to be replaced by Venetian sovereignty. This ended in 1358, when King Louis of Hungary-Croatia forced Venice to withdraw from the eastern Adriatic in 1358.

The Republic of Ragusa, 1358-1526

While Ragusa at times was forced to temporarily accept Venetian or Neapolitan sovereignty, the city in effect was an independent republic based on maritime trade. Ragusan traders enjoyed trading privileges all around the Adriatic sea and in the Eastern Mediterranean. Venice came to regard Ragusa as a rival, and there was much hostility between the two cities.
Ragusa was a center of Catholicism in a region surrounded by Bogomil heretics (Bosnians) and Serbian Orthodox christians. In Ragusa, Roman (Italian) and Slavic population elements lived together; the city council was dominated by Patrician families.

Chronology of Dubrovnik, by Josip Lucic
DOCUMENTS Flag of the Republic of Ragusa, from FOTW
REFERENCE Fred Singleton, A Short History of the Yugoslav Peoples, Cambridge University Press (1985) 1999

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on January 10th 2002, last revised on November 7th 2004

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