Dubrovnik usually concentrates on a small settlement on the site of Dubrovnik in pre historic times this settlement, in fact, was on and island called Laus which was, at that time, seperated from the mainland by a marsh. There was also a larger Greek settlement nearby in what was called Epidauros.An invasion by Slavs in the 7th century destroyed Epidauros and other communities in the area, causing inhabitants to flee to Laus. Laus eventually changed to Raus which in turn became Ragusa which is the historic name for Dubrovnik. Around this time, Dubrovnik itself was founded by Croats.Ragusa and Dubrovnik eventually merged when the marshland between them was filled in.
Another theory about Dubrovnik's history which is gaining weight is that there was in fact a large Greek settlement where Dubrovnik is situated today and that the city in fact has Greek origins.Dubrovnik expanded considerably from the 9th century onwards and as part of the Byzantine Empire, so by the 12th century it was even considered as somewhat of a threat to Venice and its Republic. It came under attack from Venice, and from 1205 to 1358 fell under its rule.The old town was completed in the 13th century and remains virtually unchanged to the present day. Tall ramparts surround it and there are only two entrances to the old town which lead to the Stradun, the city's promenade. One of the greatest pleasures for many visitors is to have a drink in one of the nearby cafes and watch the world go by, whilst they themselves are being watched by the city patron, St. Blaise, or Sveti Vlaho as the locals call him.In 1358 the Treaty of Zadar saw Dubrovnik cease being under Venice's rule and instead become Croat-Hungarian, although it had a great deal of independence.
From the 13th century onwards, Dubrovnik experienced a number of important developments which increased its prominence. The Statutes of 1272 had laid groundwork for political and legal life in the city. From the 14th century trade with the local region flourished and the city also prospered with industry as well as culturally. Dubrovnik had a number of advanced establishments for that time - a pharmacy was opened in 1317 and an orphanage in 1432.Dubrovnik was hit by an earthquake on 6 April 1667, which killed about 5,000 inhabitants and destroyed much of the city, although the city walls remained standing. The city much weakened, and when in 1806 Napoleon entered Dubrovnik there was little resistance. The Republic of Ragusa was officially dissolved in 1808 but, after Napolean's fall, Dubrovnik became part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1815.