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The grand vezir and the small republic: Dubrovnik and Rüstem Paşa, 1544-1561

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As an Ottoman tributary state, the Republic of Dubrovnik/Ragusa was able to extend its inland commercial network far and wide across the Balkans in the sixteenth century. But since Ottoman officials (and other Europeans) frowned at the low customs-rate the Ragusans enjoyed, the republic could only protect its trading privileges with support from the highest levels of the Ottoman government. During his years as grand vezir, Rüstem Paşa frequently intervened on Dubrovnik's behalf. In return, he requested and received regular gifts of cloth, including sample-cuts of the finest Venetian silks (which he may have passed on to Ottoman workshops), and bolts of fine woollens by the score, which are likely to have been sent East via the trading network based in the grand vezir's household.


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