Trade and liberty of the "Republica Ragusina"

The citizens of Ragusa (Dubrovnik) organized themselves in fraternities (one would today call them parties), whose elected representatives put up candidates for the legislative body, the Senate, also elected yearly. Fortyfive senators were elected. Also elected on a yearly basis were two Councils wich, in turn, elected the city-states representative (the councils represented the nobility and eleven candidates of the citizen body). The Senate confirmed the election of the city-states representative and with him conducted all affairs of the state. This form of democracy at this historical period enabled specific sociological relations (for example, acceptance of different religions), wich assisted Dubrovnik's mercantile agents in their free commerce dealings with the Orient.

With the expansion of the Ottoman Empire's dominion and the gradual dis- appearance of Croatia within the framework of Hungary, the armies of Suleyman II. stood before the gates of Dubrovnik in 1526.

On the strength of old commercial ties, a compromise could be reached with the pragmatic Ottomans who, unlike the Venetian, did not seek any changes in Dubrovnik's concept. With a tribute of 12500 Dukats, Dubrovnik bought herself freedom. Ragusa remained a free commercial city and consequently, an advantageous trade outlet for the Ottoman Empire (one can compare Dubrovnik's political situation at the time to the present-day Hong Kong). Venice power waned and Ragusa ultimately became the commercial gateway between the Orient and Western world.

Giornovichi (Ivan Mane Jarnovic), composer and man of the world, was born in 1745 in the Republica Ragusina. His enjoyment of life and sensitivity to nature is expressed in one of his violin concertos. His music also expresses the free spirit of the Republica Ragusina, wich came to an end in 1806.

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