Chronology of Dubrovnik in 16th Century


Dzore Drzic (born 1461), lyrical poet, died.


Ivan Gozze built a palate in Trsteno, today a park-arboretum.


Ivan Rabljanin forged a bell, which still hangs to-day, in the town's bell tower.


The Spanish King Ferdinand reassured the people of Dubrovnik that they could keep all the old privileges gained in the Kingdom of Naples. With the protection of the Spanish King, at that time the mightiest ruler in the West, the inhabitants of Dubrovnik were able to carry on uninterrupted trade and navigation over the whole of the middle and western Mediterranean, and to develop their trade and seafaring outside that area.


The Customs House (Divona) was built according to the design of the Dubrovnik architect Paskoje Milicevic in Gothic style with Renaissance elements.


Three major Dubrovnik painters died: Nikola Bozidarevic, who painted the triptych in the Dominican church, Annunciation and the poliptych at Dance; Vicko Lovrin, who painted the poliptych in the Franciscan church in Cavtat; Mihajlo Hamzic, author of the Baptism of Christ and a poliptych in the Dominican church.


Dubrovnik obtained a uniform customs tariff of 2% for trading in the Ottoman Empire.


Tradesmen from Persia arrived in Dubrovnik for the first time.


A shipyard was built in Gruz, and the town became an important port.


After the battle at Mohac, in which the Croatian-Hungarian King Louis II was killed, and with the end of the Croatian-Hungarian alliance, the people of Dubrovnik “via facti” recognised the sovereignty of the Turkish Sultan, under whose formal protection they remained until the end of their own state. The Turkish rulers allowed Dubrovnik merchants freedom to trade in their enormous Empire, in which a unique system of insurance and customs regulations existed.

As Turkey developed and territorially expanded, so Dubrovnik's land trading grew.


Dobric Dobricevic (Boninus de Boninis), born in 1454 on the island of Lastovo, merchant and printer-publisher and one of the pioneers of European printing, died.


A group of rich Dubrovnik merchants broke away from the original brotherhood of the Antunini and founded their own brotherhood called Lazarini. Members of both groups formed an upper class of Dubrovnik commoners.

Dubrovnik had several brotherhoods and guilds, associations of craftsmen, of weavers, goldsmiths, carpenters, stonemasons, and of seamen, painters, gunners, priests, etc., founded for professional or for charity purposes.


The Dubrovnik navy took part in an attack of the Spanish King Charles V on Tunis and lost 15 of their galleons (large galleys) with all hands.


The first war of the Holy League (Spain, Venice, Austria, and the Pope) took place against Turkey. Venice attempted to involve Dubrovnik in the war on the side of the League, but without success. During the war Dubrovnik's trade grew to three or four times the size it had been in times of peace. As a neutral state, Dubrovnik traded with both sides.


The tower of Revelin was built.


The Domus Christi public state hospital was built, the first in Croatia and in the Balkans.


The Rupe Granary built.


Some traders from Dubrovnik announced that “Uskoci” pirates appeared in the Adriatic. This was the first time that any mention was made of “Uskoci” at sea.


A manual of law of the sea regulations as applied in Dubrovnik was compiled.


Cvijeta Zuzoric , the poetess, born. Renowned for her brilliant mind and beauty. (Died in Florence cca 1600). Several poets, Torquato Tasso among them, dedicated their poems to her.


Marin Drzic, the most important writer of comedies in old Croatian literature (“Dundo Maroje”, “Skup”, etc.), died.


A Committee of Five was set up for handling maritime insurance (ordo super assicuratoribus). This was one of the first statutes on maritime insurance in the Mediterranean and the world.

A sailing ship with a carrying capacity of 1100 kara (kola) was built in the Dubrovnik shipyard. One kara is equal to two thirds of today's tonnage.


With all her persuasive powers Venice tried to involve Dubrovnik in the war against Turkey in order to deprive the town of its profitable trading on the mainland. Venice proposed that soldiers from the League should occupy Dubrovnik before the Turks did. With the help of their great diplomat Frano Gundulic and the support of the Pope and the Spanish King Dubrovnik succeeded in withstanding all Spanish intrigues. Furthermore, they procured a guarantee from the members of the Holy League to recognize the unity of Dubrovnik's territory. After 1358 Venice for the first time had to give an international obligation to protect Dubrovnik territory. Dubrovnik greatly profited during the war and as a neutral state developed into a great intermediary in the trade of goods. Their trade grew 6-7 times the size it had been in times of peace, and in June 1570 the Customs Office collected 21000 ducats duty on goods trading through Dubrovnik. In the battle of Lepanto in the year 1571, the Dubrovnik navy, in accordance with its principles of neutrality, did not directly take part in that great settling of accounts between the fleets of the East and West. However, Dubrovnik ships were standing by on the side of the League.


In his book on flood and ebb tides (printed after his death) Nikola Sagroevic wrote that the Dubrovnik ships were the strongest in the world and made of the best wood.

The Government prohibited the peasants of Peljesac and some other regions from leaving their land and going to sea without permission of their masters. This was an expression of the general tendency to keep the peasants on the land.


The Dubrovnik authorities taxed their citizens' capital which was placed in foreign banks, with the intention of preventing its leakage from the state.


The poet Mavro Vetranovic (born 1483) died.


According to the report of Serafino Razzi, the largest ship from Dubrovnik had three masts, carried 1200 kola and 140 crew members (captain, officers, sailors, farriers, carpenters, cannon operators, a doctor, a clerk and others). The ship had its own carpentry, a smithy, a source of drinkable water, a winch and a pail, a pen for pigs, a rabbit hutch, a hen-house with enough chickens to feed the crew.

On the top of the masts baskets were fitted. The heavy sails were lifted with the help of hand winches.

For such large ships people used to say “if it can complete one or two voyages it can pay back all the money invested”. Salt was one of the most important articles exported from Dubrovnik and at the same time a profitable source of income. In this particular year in the salt works of Ston 3864 tons of salt was produced.


A large salt store house built in Mali Ston.


The writer of comedies Nikola Naljeskovic died.


Dubrovnik ships joined the “Invincible Armada” of the Spanish King Philip II in a raid on England, hoping to be victorious and in this way to extend their trade across the Atlantic.

When the attempt failed, England began to cause problems for the people of Dubrovnik in retaliation for their unfriendly attitude, and eventually pushed all Dubrovnik traders off the island.


Frano Gundulic, jurist and diplomat (born 1539), died.


The “Rupe” granary was completed. The Republic conscientiously concerned itself to ensure that the inhabitants had always enough food.


A warehouse (“skela”) was built in Split through which passed a large proportion of the trade between Venice and Constantinople, and as far afield as Persia and India.

Because of this “skela” Dubrovnik trade suffered huge losses. The caravans passed by Dubrovnik, which until then had been the main intermediary for trade between Turkey and the West, and re-routed to Split.


In Lucca (Italy) Serafino Razzi published the first printed history of Dubrovnik Storia di Raugia.


Dubrovnik owned more ships than ever before. The Merchant Navy consisted of 170-200 large ships, amongst which were 57 carracks, 72 galleons, and 32 “naves” (1584). Apart from these ships, which sailed all over the world, Dubrovnik had a large number of smaller coastal vessels for navigation and seafaring within the Adriatic. The whole of the Merchant Navy had in those days a carrying capacity of 36,000 kola. These ships were manned by around 5,000 sailors. The annual net profit to the ship owners amounted to 180,000-200,000 ducats, whilst the crews earned 100,000 ducats.

At the same time, in the 16th century, Dubrovnik's trade reached its highest point. Dubrovnik had 50 Consulates in the Mediterranean; 36 in Italy, 3 in French ports, 4 in Spanish ports, 6 in Turkish ports and one on Malta. A manual of Penal law was codified in 1674.


Didak Pir (Isaiah Koen), Humanist poet, died. Born in 1527 in Portugal, he lived and wrote his poetry in Dubrovnik.


Read more:

Chronology of Dubrovnik from 7th to 11th century I Chronology of Dubrovnik in 11th century I Chronology of Dubrovnik in 12th century I Chronology of Dubrovnik in 13th century I Chronology of Dubrovnik in 14th century I Chronology of Dubrovnik in 15th century I Chronology of Dubrovnik in 16th century I Chronology of Dubrovnik in 17th century I Chronology of Dubrovnik in 18th century I Chronology of Dubrovnik in 19th century


Prepared by Josip Lucic

Scroll to Top