Increased maritime traffic between east and west encouraged in the 12th and 13th centuries the development of maritime trade centres in the Mediterranean and the Adriatic, which meant the development of Dubrovnik (Ragusa). Since the Treaty of Zadar at the end of the 14th century managed to free Ragusa from Venetian rule, it began to progress much faster and easier than other Dalmatian cities. Already in the 14th and 15th centuries, the city, along with Venice and Ancona, was the most important maritime and trade centre on the Adriatic. Also in the 15th century, the state legal position of the Republic of Ragusa was completely built. The government consisted of the Major Council, the Minor Council and the Senate, and the duke who was elected every month.
The Republic experienced its golden age in the 16th century. Then, thanks to their centuries-long efforts and work, the people of Dubrovnik became world-famous and sought-after freight carriers with a diversified maritime and commercial business. It is a century in which wooden buildings are being replaced by stones, the city is being upgraded, modernized and urbanized, the humanistic spirit is at its peak, literature is flourishing and the citizens are materially situated. This is the century of the creation of some of the greatest names in Croatian literature, such as Marin Držić, Ivan Gundulić, but also the great progress of science with the work of Ruđer Bošković.
The great maritime crisis in the Mediterranean in the 17th century did not bypass the Dubrovnik maritime trade. The great and devastating earthquake of 1667 destroyed most of the city, killed many people and brought the Republic of Ragusa into a difficult struggle for survival and preservation of the much-loved and carefully nurtured independence for centuries. The new century brings Dubrovnik the opportunity to rebuild its economy, maritime trade and remain as neutral and politically wise as it was many centuries before. But the coming to power of Napoleon and the mighty France abolished the Republic of Ragusa at the end of January 1808. At the Congress of Vienna in 1815, it was decided that the Dubrovnik region would join the rest of Dalmatia and Croatia, and since then they have shared a common political destiny and power.