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Economy of Ragusa, 1300 – 1800: The Tiger of Mediaeval Mediterranean

Economy of Ragusa, 1300 – 1800: The Tiger of Mediaeval Mediterranean

Economy of Ragusa, 1300 – 1800: The Tiger of Mediaeval Mediterranean

Oleh Havrylyshyn and Nora Srzentić

The Eighteenth Dubrovnik Economic Conference, June 27-29 (2012)

Abstract

While the Republic of Ragusa was one of the smallest Mediaeval city-states in the Mediterranean , it is widely considered by historians as one of the most successful, with volumes of shipping and trade, level of wealth, architectural and cultural achievements, disproportionate to its size. Innumerable authors over the centuries have attributed its success to effective governance based on a political regime, of republicanism that may not have been democratic but relatively fair and benevolent. providing pioneering social provisions like education, health care and quarantine systems, and provision of grain reserves in times of shortage. To this was coupled a generally liberal, open economy, with prudent state finances, limited market intervention , and indeed a climate encouraging private enterprise. The Croatian economic historian Vladimir Stipetic captures this nicely in a recent article (00,p.24): “Dubrovnik traded like Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan …but did so some five hundred years before ..[and like these countries] became prosperous…because of their adopted economic policy.”


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