Dubrovnik Marks 601 Years Since Abolishing Slavery

Lauren Simmonds

On this day 601 years ago, Dubrovnik issued a formal decree to abolish slavery.

On the 27th of January 1416, Dubrovnik, then an autonomous republic (Ragusa) formally abolished slavery, the transportation of slaves and the idea of one person being able to own another, becoming one of the very first in Europe to do so after Venice in 960.

The monumental, and at the time very controversial decision to abolish the slave trade was found in Dubrovnik’s old statues, until that time, slavery was considered moral and was a legally recognised system in which certain individuals were accepted as the property of another. Slaves had very few rights to fall back on and and could be purchased, swapped, sold and made to work, often until death, without any income or choice. 

Dubrovnik takes pride in being one of the very first in Europe to change the law and make the abhorrent slave trade illegal, making it one of the first places in this part of the world to start the ball rolling to modern day human rights as we know and enjoy them.


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