Maritime affairs and trade had a long tradition in Dubrovnik Republic. This was written in 1272. It had numerous provisions with regard to maritime affairs, ship's measures, types of ships etc.

The main products, which were partly exported, were brandy, olive oil, dried fruit, salted fish, wine, wool and wool-products, leather and wax. The production of salt in the salt pans in Ston on Pelješac peninsula was especially successful.

After liberating itself from the domination of Venice in the 14th C, the Dubrovnik Republic flourished, and it's ships has access to the while of the Mediterranean. The town port (today Old Town port) was the place where all maritime routes ended, and also the routes of the mainland trade.

In 1570 the Dubrovnik merchant fleet numbered 180 ships together with skilful and capable seamen who promoted Dubrovnik's spirit of trade and freedom. Due to wise and skilful foreign politics, the small Republic of Dubrovnik became a real maritime force in the Mediterranean and the ships under it's flag sailed to the most distant destinations.

Dubrovnik became a city of rich merchants, ship owners and bankers, skilful seamen and shipbuilders who built their ships in local shipyards. Many of these seamen won world fame.

One of the greatest seamen, shipowners and bankers was Miho Pracat from Lopud Island.
The aristocratic Republic created a monument in the atrium of the Rectors Palace in 1638 as the only non-noblemen who deserved this honour.

Maritime trade was the way of life of Dubrovnik, and also the main source of it's income. It was prominent as early as the 9th C and continued to develop until the beginning of the 17th C, when there was a certain decline. Dubrovnik's contacts with the outside were were always closely connected with maritime affairs, as was its centuries-long freedom