Economic Evolution and Rise to Prosperity
There is virtually no disagreement in the literature that the apogee of Ragusa’s economic prosperity came in the 15th and 16th centuries, oft-called the “golden years of maritime prosperity” after which its role in the region began to decline. This period coincided with both the Hungarian and Ottoman suzerainties. But a closer reading yields some puzzles concerning an apparently very dynamic period before the golden years, and continued prosperity well beyond 1600. To clarify some of these puzzles, this chapter will first propose a new periodicity for Ragusan history based on the nature of its economic activity rather than the traditional historico-diplomatic criteria of Chapter 3, and describe for each of these periods the main aspects of economic development. Next, we will provide an illustration of the real-life process of economic development by telling a few stories of key individuals — both nobles and commoners — who exemplified the day-to-day operations in governance, diplomacy, shipbuilding, navigation, and commerce. The last section will propose a series of hypotheses about economic evolution derived from the historical and economic review given in Chapters 3 and 4. These hypotheses are formulated in such a way as to be potentially testable with quantitative data, setting the stage for the statistical analyses in the rest of the book.
KeywordsCity Wall Economic Dynamism Bronze Statue Hope Route City Property
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