Potosi is located at 4090 meters above sea level and is among the highest cities in the world. It was founded by the Spanish in the 16th century because there they minted money from silver, which they exploited from the mountain Cerro Rico (“rich hill”). It is home to around 170,000 inhabitants today, and because of its beauty it has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The first resident from the island of Brač came to Potosi in 1892. It was merchant Andrija Kožulić, Ivanov, born in Milna in 1865.
The Ivanović brothers from Antofagasta, Chile founded their trading branch in Potosi, and they appointed Ivan Vladislavić as their boss. After his brother Jerko came to him from Brač, Ivan Vladislavić bought the branch and founded the company “Braća Vladislavić”. Ivan died in 1903, and Jerko continued and expanded the business. He built the first electrical switchboard in 1910, and was the first to introduce telephone service in Potosi. He also had a candle and soap factory, and despite the economic crisis, he maintained the business until the Second World War.
One of the largest trading companies in Potosi was owned by the Matijašević brothers from Sutivan, founded in 1906, where they produced tallow candles. It was a good deal because kerosene was expensive. They imported tallow from southern Chile.
There were other merchants in Potosi, such as Karlo Drpić, Maks Štambuk, Pavle Ivanović, Petar Vladislavić, Antun Kirigin, Toma Vidović, Vicko Marišević and the Šoljančić brothers. Some were mine owners such as Andrija Ivanović, Jakov Zenčić, Antun Kirigin, Toma Vidović and Marko Ugrinović.
The best hotel in Potosi called “Londres” was first owned by Mate Bonačić from Milna, and then from 1935 on by Marko Salamunović from Postira.
Luis Lukšić, poet, painter and puppet artist, was born in Potosi in 1911. His parents came from Sutivan. In 1929, Lukšić went to Chile and in Santiago, after enrolling in medicine, he met the painter Roko Matjašić, who created an excellent portrait of him. They traveled together in Chile, painted and organized exhibitions, and joined Chilean artistic and intellectual circles. Lukšić returned to Bolivia and joined the progressive leftist movement. He devoted himself to the art of puppetry and wrote the book “The Wonderful World of Puppets” which was known all over the world. After the Second World War, he went to live in Venezuela, where he became the initiator of children’s painting and became a professor at the State Theater School.
Branka Bezić Filipović