Since emerging as a settlement in the seventh century, Dubrovnik held a significant position beyond what could have been expected of this tiny city-state. Its merchants, trading throughout the huge Ottoman Empire, enjoyed privileges denied to other Western states. A politically skilled and commercially enterprising ruling class took every opportunity to maximise the Republic's wealth. Dubrovnik also faced the extreme dangers posed by Venetian aggressors, Ottoman plotters, a terrible earthquake in 1667 and, finally, the will of Napoleon. In 1991-92, the city survived the besieging Yugoslav army, which heavily damaged but did not destroy Dubrovnik's cultural heritage. This book is a comprehensive history of Dubrovnik's progress over twelve centuries of European development, encompassing arts, architecture, social and economic changes and the traumas of war and politics.