The Population of the Dubrovnik Republic in the Fifteenth, Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries
By Nanad Vekarić
Dubrovnik Annals, No.2 (1998)
Abstract: According to tax evidence in Dubrovačko Primorje and a census performed for the purpose of reducing surplus vineyards in Konavle, the Dubrovnik Republic (Ragusa) had almost 90,000 inbabitants by the end of the fifteenth century and was rather overpopulated. From then on to the end of the seventeenth century the population started to decrease: in the first half of the sixteenth century the Republic had more than 50,000 inhabitants; in the second half of the sixteenth century, between 50 and 60 thousand; in the 1630s, about 40,000; and in 1673/4, only 26,000 inhabitants. In the second half of the fifteenth century, due to Turkish expansion, the Dubrovnik Republic gave shelter to a large number of Christian refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina, offering them the less fertile land. Numerous epidemics, the Candian War, the 1667 earthquake, and emigration reduced the population immensely. The population of the Republic never again reached its previous levels, since there was in fact no need for it to grow.