Organized government of Dubrovnik at the Elaphites

The government in the suburban parts of the Dubrovnik Republic was in charge of rectors that were called rural rectors (comes) and the territory within their rule was called principality (comitatus or contea). Very important strategic were ruled by captains (capitanus), and the area was called captaincy. Šipan, Lopud and Koločep were two captaincies. The governmental and territorial rule of the Elaphites (Šipan, Lopud and Koločep) changed during these periods. At the beginning it was called the Principality of three islands (trium insularum) or simply the Principality of the Islands (Insulae).

 The centre was on Šipan so the rector was called Šipan’s rector. From 1410 till 1493 Šipan’s rector had the jurisdiction over the island Mljet, too. In 1457 the principality was devided in two separate parts. Šipan was the one and it was ruled by Šipan’s rector (comes Jupanae) and Lopud as well as Koločep were the otherand ruled by Lopud’s rector (comes Insulae Media, insulae di Mezzo). Lopud’s rector had his seat on Lopud and was obliged to visit Koločep every ten days and to stay there at least two days. The rector had to be over 30 and since 1660 it was reduced to the age of 25 due to the small number of noblemen. Koločep separated and became a principality in 1498 (comitatus Calamotae) and it lasted till 1500. The areas were united in 1669 and the centre was on Lopud till the end of the Republic in 1808. The rector stayed three months on Lopud and three months on Šipan. Every island had its Rector’s Palace. The rector could not have been elected consecutively in the same principality. The right for re-election he had after a year, then after two and finally after three years. Upon arriving in the principality the rector convoked public assembly to elect local officials. Beside the rector there was an administrative clerk for the principality. The work of rural rectors and their officials was controlled by commissioners (sindik).

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