Unveiling of the Gundulić monument

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Official Unveiling Ivan Gundulić monument 1893

The unveiling of the Gundulić monument in Dubrovnik on May 20, 1893, was a symbolical event in the political history of Dubrovnik, since it brought to the surface the wider tensions between the two political sides of the city, the Croats and the Serb-Catholics in the pre-World War I political struggles in the region.

The preparation[edit]

At its session of March 9, 1880, the Municipal Council of Dubrovnik adopted the proposition of the Dubrovnik Serb -Catholics Youth of raising a monument for the 300th anniversary of the birth of Gundulić. The mayor of the city at the time was Rafael "Rafo" Pucić. It was decided that a five-member committee would be nominated to oversee the monument's construction. The members were Medo Pucić, Pero Budmani, Ivo Kaznačić, Mato Vodopić and Luko Zore.

In 1882, it was decided that 11 florins will be required for the monument's erection. The construction was financed by King of Serbia Aleksandar Obrenović and among the others investors were Niko Pucić, who gave 5 florins, and Vlaho DeGiulli, who gave 10 florins.

The monument was erected on May 20, 1893, in Dubrovnik's largest square, Poljana. It was made by the Croatian sculptor Ivan Rendić. The official unveiling was scheduled for the next month.

The unveiling[edit]

The unveiling, like all the official celebrations in that period, was not only cultural, but also strongly national and political. The members of the Croatian Party of Rights and the Croatian People's Party together tried to bring to Dubrovnik as many Croats as possible from various Croat regions to give the Croatian national and political character to the celebration. On the other hand, the members of the Serb Party (Serb-Catholics) tried to gather as many Serbs-Catholics as possible to give a Serbian flavor to the celebration.

It was officially revealed on Sunday, July 26, 1893, by the last male member of the family, Baron Frano Getaldić-Gundulić (see House of Gundulić). The celebration included more people from outside Dubrovnik than the citizens.

The distinguished Croatian guests included writers Eugen Kumičić, August Harambašić, Stjepan Buzolić, Rikard Katalinić Jeretov, Ante Tresić Pavičić, scientists Franjo Rački, Tadija Smičiklas and Frane Bulić, the sculptor Ivan Rendić (who made the monument), the composer Franjo Kuhač, politicians Miho Klaić, Gajo Filomen Bulat, Juraj Biankini, Ante Trumbić, Josip Frank, Vjekoslav Spinčić, Milan Amruš, many Croatian representatives from the parliaments of Dalmatia, Istria and Croatia and the imperial council, as well as the mayors of Croatian municipalities.

The distinguished locals Serbs-Catholics and Serbian guests were less numerous and included poets Jovan Jovanović Zmaj and Jovan Sundečić, parliamentary representatives Đorđe Vojnović and Đuro Vukotić, as well as the mayors of Serbian municipalities.[citation needed] The representatives of the Austrian regime - the Dalmatian governor Emil David and the regional head Ambroz Marojčić, did not have a place of honor because of the anti-Austrian sentiments in Dubrovnik, so they had to stand in the crowd.[citation needed]

Contemporary accounts[edit]

At that time, the editor of the Dubrovnik newspaper Crvena Hrvatska (lit. Red Croatia) was young Frano Supilo, who would go on to become one of the major figures in the pre-World War I Croatian politics.

Supilo said of the event:

The celebration in Gundulić's honor showed the difference between the Croats and the Serbs. The Gundulić celebration showed that Dubrovnik is not a Serbian city, that the citizens of Dubrovnik are not Serbs. Twenty-five municipalities of southern Dalmatia clearly said at the Gundulić celebration that they are Croatian municipalities, that the people of southern Dalmatia is the Croatian people. We know Serbs do not like to hear that, but it is their problem. We know they do not like that they were received coldly in Dubrovnik, that 5,000 citizens of Dubrovnik entered the city with Croatian flags, chanting: "Long live Croatia!". Maybe they will be comforted by the fact that the Italianate party from Zadar shouted "Evviva i Serbi!", which is the adequate reward for their moral defeat in Dubrovnik.[citation needed]

Sources[edit]

In Croatian:

  • Ivo Perić, Mladi Supilo (Young Supilo), Zagreb, 1996
  • Newspaper Crvena Hrvatska (Red Croatia), Dubrovnik, No. 32, August 12, 1893, pp. 1–2.
  • Ivo Banac, Dubrovački eseji (Dubrovnik essays), Dubrovnik, 1992