Katušić, M. (2023). Živjeti u Kotoru u 18. stoljeću. Zagreb: Hrvatski institut za povijest. Retrieved from https://urn.nsk.hr/urn:nbn:hr:255:535244.
Katušić, Maja. Živjeti u Kotoru u 18. stoljeću. Zagreb, Hrvatski institut za povijest, 2023. https://urn.nsk.hr/urn:nbn:hr:255:535244.
Katušić, Maja. Živjeti u Kotoru u 18. stoljeću. Zagreb: Hrvatski institut za povijest, 2023. https://urn.nsk.hr/urn:nbn:hr:255:535244.
Katušić, M. (2023) Živjeti u Kotoru u 18. stoljeću. [online]. Zagreb: Hrvatski institut za povijest. Available at: https://urn.nsk.hr/urn:nbn:hr:255:535244 (Accessed 13 February 2024)
Katušić M. Živjeti u Kotoru u 18. stoljeću. [Internet]. Zagreb: Hrvatski institut za povijest; 2023, [cited 2024 February 13] Available at: https://urn.nsk.hr/urn:nbn:hr:255:535244
M. Katušić, Živjeti u Kotoru u 18. stoljeću. Zagreb, Hrvatski institut za povijest, 2023. [Online] Available at: https://urn.nsk.hr/urn:nbn:hr:255:535244
|Živjeti u Kotoru u 18. stoljeću
|Croatian Institute of History
|Scientific / art field,
discipline and subdiscipline
Croatian and World Modern and Contemporary History
SUMMARY Although Kotor became part of the Venetian Republic in 1420 with an already established communal organization, statutory legislation, and well-established trade connections, nearly 400 years of Venetian rule had an impact on all developmental components of the city. Under Venetian rule, the statutory organization continued to be respected but was also adapted to the central Venetian administrative system. Moreover, all aspects of communal development —legislation, administration, economy — were gradually shaped according to the vision of the Venetian centre, making them similar to other Dalmatian and Istrian communities under Venetian administration. Additionally, the development of urban social groups and their relationships, especially the positioning and institutionalization of privileged classes, followed the developmental processes observed in other East Adriatic coastal cities. Within this monolithic and interconnected Venetian governance system at all levels, Kotor managed to define some developmental peculiarities primarily influenced by the geomorphological uniqueness of the region and the centuries-long Ottoman presence in the hinterland. This was particularly evident through the pronounced military character of the city. The deep indentation of the Bay of Kotor into the mainland provided security for both trade and warships, protecting them from political and weather-related challenges. The access to abundant natural resources and raw materials allowed the establishment of a strong logistical military base, while the significant human potential from the broader Boka Bay area ensured a sufficient number of men capable of bearing arms. Finally, a strong fortification system, continuously upgraded and adapted over the centuries to follow the evolving changes in military techniques and strategies, shaped Kotor as a solid and reliable Venetian military-logistical stronghold. The aforementioned developments, defining Kotor as a political, administrative, and military centre, also had an impact on the city’s weaker economic development in the 18th century. This is particularly evident when comparing Kotor’s economic endeavours with the overall development of other small Boka Bay towns. These towns, more adept at leveraging the advantages offered by maritime activities, transformed from subjects of Kotor into leading maritime centres on the eastern coast of the Adriatic. Despite a kind of economic passive balance characterizing Kotor in the last century of the Venetian Republic’s existence, the city remained an indispensable factor in all developmental aspects of Venetian overseas acquisitions south of Dubrovnik in the observed 18th century. Additionally, in demographic terms, Kotor experienced a development similar to other Istrian and Dalmatian cities and belonged, for example, to the category of medium-sized cities along with Pula and Split. The city’s population ranged from 1,000 to 1,500, with a tendency to grow until the mid-80s of the 18th century. In Kotor, small families dominated, consisting of up to five members and including up to three generations. The continuous Ottoman presence in the hinterland of Kotor and Boka Kotorska triggered more intense migration processes from the hinterland to the coastal areas. Since the incoming population was predominantly of the Orthodox faith, from the beginning of the 18th century, the religious landscape of Kotor and Boka Kotorska began to slowly but continuously change. Although the Orthodox population mostly settled in rural areas, the economic opportunities offered by the urban centre led to the immigration of Orthodox individuals into Kotor. Research has shown that precisely during the period of population growth in the second half of the 1770s and the first half of the 1780s, the number of Orthodox inhabitants increased more intensively than the number of Catholics. Particularly noteworthy is the significant growth of the Orthodox population in the second half of the 1780s when the number of Catholics declined. This was a result of the migration of people from the hinterland rather than positive natural population growth. Despite this, throughout the entire 18th century, the Catholic population remained the majority (averaging 76%) in the total population of Kotor. In addition to changes in the religious structure of the inhabitants, a drastic decline in the number of nobles was recorded in Kotor in the 18th century, a trend that could not be prevented or alleviated by the influx of new, mostly wealthier families from other Boka Bay towns, who gained capital through trade and maritime activities. The analysis of demographic trends and the various themes opened by parish records often places the entire coastal East Adriatic region under a common denominator. This, as well as the entire territory of historical Croatian lands, exhibits certain patterns of seasonality, indicating periods during the year when the population was more likely to be born, married, and deceased. These rhythms and cycles were shaped by the social environment, customs, traditions, church norms, and the economic activities of the inhabitants. Patterns of seasonal minima and maxima are evident in all observed areas. Clear distinctions emerged between periods of work and periods of relaxation and leisure. More regular amplitudes were associated with continental regions, while coastal areas, including Kotor, exhibited more evenly distributed figures throughout the year. Furthermore, rural areas displayed a more pronounced connection between seasonality and demographic movements compared to urban areas. Although urban centres were dependent on agricultural activities, they were not as reliant on them as rural areas. Urban populations engaged in various occupations, including crafts, trade, and administrative tasks. The less pronounced curves in coastal cities, especially in Kotor, can also be attributed to migrations that disrupted established patterns. Various exogenous factors influenced demographic trends in pre-modern times, such as war, food shortages, famine, and diseases. Demographic responses to these crises varied and depended primarily on the root cause of the crisis and its intensity. Moreover, crises were often not isolated events but a combination of intertwined circumstances. Considering the limitations of historical sources, it is challenging to precisely discern what exactly triggered a demographic crisis without in-depth research, and firm conclusions cannot be drawn. Research has shown that in Kotor, the first and most noticeable indicator of a crisis caused by war was an increase in the number of deaths, even though the city itself was not a direct site of military conflicts. The fact that the city served as a logistical base and a place for soldiers to prepare for deployment defined its wartime vital statistics. The increased mortality was not a result of a rise in deaths within the city but rather the arrival of soldiers from the battlefield who then died in the Kotor hospital. Additionally, the presence of a large number of soldiers and accompanying military logistics, not actively involved in battles, had a direct demographic consequence, leading to an increase in the number of marriages. On the other hand, the first demographic response to an economically induced crisis, specifically a scarcity of food products and famine, was a decrease in nuptiality (marriage rates). The duration of the reproductive period, which included the number of births and the rhythm of childbirth, was influenced by various factors, ranging from individual biological conditions to social norms and demographic trends. Typically, the reproductive period usually began with entering into marriage, and for Kotor women, it averaged around 10 years. On average, 4.8 children were born into Kotor families. Women typically gave birth to their first child between the ages of 20 and 24, with birth intervals of about two years. Illegitimate children, whether born out of wedlock or foundlings whose parents were unknown, were part of the social reality. Abandoned and illegitimate children accounted for approximately 6% of those registered in the baptismal registry, slightly higher than the European average. There was a certain social stigma, primarily seen in the identification of mothers of illegitimate children, who were often not from the Boka Bay region but from neighbouring areas (such as the Republic of Dubrovnik). As in other observed places on the eastern coast of the Adriatic, women entering into marriage were younger than their husbands, averaging around six years. In the pre-modern era, marriage typically ended with the death of one spouse, and various circumstances (economic-social factors, childcare) influenced the remarriage. Remarriages were not uncommon in Kotor; in fact, one-fifth of all marriages during the 18th century involved at least one partner who had been previously married. Similar to other comparative places, remarriages often occurred shortly after the death of the first spouse, and women were more likely to enter into remarriages. Mortality in a given area was also a result of the interplay between individual biological predispositions and socio-economic factors, particularly the living standards specific to the region. Like all areas in the pre-modern period, Kotor was characterized by high mortality rates and fluctuations in mortality over short periods. Additionally, a notable demographic feature was the high mortality among the youngest and most vulnerable population. In Kotor, more than a third of the population died in childhood. Post-neonatal mortality, strongly influenced by exogenous factors such as a wide range of social nd economic circumstances defining and impacting the standard of living, was particularly high. Women tended to live longer than men, and contrary to expectations, male mortality was more pronounced during the fertile age. This could be linked to strong migration processes, where a significantly higher number of younger men were represented. In Kotor’s baptismal records, this age group experienced particularly high mortality, especially among soldiers. Men, especially soldiers and related occupations, were associated with accidental deaths, with many incidents related to their professional activities (falls from walls, drownings, etc.). In addition to quantitative data shedding light on numerous demographic topics, the parish registers, behind seemingly sparse and uniform entries, reveal a rich, intricate, and lively social interaction among the inhabitants of Kotor. The depiction of various social components is narrowed down here to the representation of social, family, and business connections of individuals based on their occupations. Certain groups and professions built and confirmed their position within the same group and on the broader social stage through marriages and the network of godparent relationships. Finally, the overall portrayal of various social components has brought to the forefront one of the fundamental characteristics of Kotor in the 18th century, and that is the significant mobility. This was primarily manifested in numerous but short-lived stays of immigrants in Kotor, including numerous administrative officials and especially soldiers throughout the century. The parish registers confirm this through onetime entries of these individuals. Individuals from nearby and distant areas resided in Kotor for shorter or longer periods, including some from very distant regions. The number of immigrants from the surrounding areas, often mentioned in the registers, was influenced by daily migrations or seasonal work. Notably, there were immigrants from regions that became part of the Venetian Republic in the 18th century, particularly interesting areas on the eastern Adriatic coast that were part of Venetian Istria and Venetian Dalmatia, as well as immigrants from neighbouring areas, whether from the Republic of Dubrovnik or continental hinterlands. The farther the geographical distance, the smaller the immigrant group, especially when considering gender structure. Among the many immigrants whose professional activities were indicated, soldiers and their families predominated. All of the above allows us to confirm the initial hypothesis that assumed Kotor’s belonging to the Venetian-Mediterranean political, social, and cultural environment, as well as the inseparability of the entire area of the eastern Adriatic coast. Parish registers are a first-rate source for studying the diverse demographic and social developments of a region. These seemingly concise and monotonous data, dissected through historical demographic methods, reveal the complexity, intricacy, and vibrancy of the observed societies. The diversity of approaches to this source and the numerous possibilities of interpretation it offers provide countless opportunities for analysis and open up numerous research questions and topics. This is evidenced by the various directions that have emerged within historical demography, such as demographic-statistical, documentary, and anthropological approaches. In this research, emphasis was placed not only on presenting the basic demographic trends of the population but also on showcasing some social components of the city of Kotor. Considering that Kotor’s priest-registrars meticulously recorded lesser-known or foreign elements, the analysis brought external segments to the forefront, primarily through migrations and the professional activities of individuals originating from outside Kotor. On the other hand, the pronounced military profile of Kotor highlighted soldiers as a particularly interesting social group, observed especially through their mobility. Given the defined research objectives, future research endeavours could focus on a more detailed analysis of the social structures of the city, particularly its two strongest segments – the nobility and the bourgeoisie. To obtain a more comprehensive picture, such research should be supplemented to a greater extent with numerous other sources, especially Kotor’s notarial records.
|Authored book-Scientific book-Scientific monograph
|Peer review - international
|Biblioteka Hrvatska povjesnica. Monografije i studije ;
|Numeration of series or publishing unit
|Printed book publication date
|Type of resource
|Hrvatski institut za povijest