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Historical Description[]

The Croats of Dubrovnik held longstanding ties to the settlement founded by Greek refugees on the nearby islet of Ragusa. Eventually they filled in the dividing waters and merged the towns. Despite falling under Byzantine, Venetian, and then Hungarian control, the maritime republic’s diplomatic and commercial prowess kept it more or less independent. Ragusan ships traded all over the world during its sixteenth-century heyday and competed with the merchant fleets of Venice, a valuable service which the Ottoman sultans repaid by protecting the tiny state.

However, Ragusa’s fortunes were already in decline when an earthquake devastated the city in 1667. The weakened republic was abolished by Napoleonic occupiers in 1806, handed to Austria-Hungary at the Congress of Vienna, and lumped into Yugoslavia after World War I. Now known by its Croatian name, Dubrovnik has become a famous tourist destination and UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its picturesque medieval walls. The demilitarized town was senselessly shelled during the Yugoslav Wars but has since made a remarkable recovery.

History[]

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