Croatians in Chile are a successful and homogenous community made up of mostly people from Brač, which can boast a whole host of scientists, doctors, artists, politicians, and businessmen among its number, which is why it attained respect and admiration in its new environment. There are over 250 writers of Croatian origin alone, some of which are academics. Chilean academics of Croatian origin include, in alphabetical order:
Brncic Juricic Danko, regular member of the Chilean Academy of Science
Brncic Gabriel, external member of the Chilean Academy of Fine Arts
Gasic Livacic Gabriel, honorary member of the Chilean Medical Academy
Goic Alejandro, president of the Chilean Medical Academy
Goic Cedomil, corresponding member of the Chilean Language Academy
Goles Chacc Eric, regular member of the Chilean Science Academy
Kraljevic Orlandini Roque, honorary member of the Chilean Medical Academy
Kupareo Rajmundo, foreign member of the Chilean Academy
Livacic Gazzano Ernesto, regular member of the Chilean Language Academy
Manacevic Raul, corresponding member of the Chilean Academy of Social and Political Sciences
Martinic Beros Mateo, corresponding member of the Chilean History Academy
Mihovilovic Tessier Domingo, regular member of the Chilean Academy of Fine Arts
Mimica Barassi Eugenio, corresponding member of the Chilean Language Academy
Morales Milohnic Andres, corresponding member of the Chilean Language Academy
Scarpa Straboni Roque Esteban, permanent member of the Chilean Language Academy
Štambuk Mayorga Patricia, corresponding member of the Chilean Language Academy
Vodanović Pistelli Sergio, member of the Chilean Academy of Fine Arts
Eugenio Mimica Barassi, Karen Muller Turina and Patricia Štambuk Mayorga
Located in the northern section of Chile, in the Atacama Desert, Antofagasta is a port city which used to be known for transporting saltpeter to Europe, and has become a modern centre with over 350,000 citizens living in it.
Antonio Scarmeta Vranicic, university professor, diplomat and writer, was born in Antofagasta, in 1940. He achieved world-wide acclaim for his novel Nerudin pismonoša (Nerudin the postman). The script for the movie No was based off of his play Plebiscit, and was nominated for an Oscar Academy Award in Los Angeles, in the category of best foreign film, in 2013. Scarmeta is the bearer of numerous accolades, among which is a Marko Marulić medal, and in 2014, he was awarded a Chilean National Award for Literature. He was named an honourary citizen of Antofagasta, and he lives in Santiago de Chile.
Antonio Scarmeta Vranicic with the author
In Antofagasta, along the very coast, lies the Avenida Republica Croacia road, which was opened to traffic in 2006. The president of the Republic of Croatia, Stjepan Mesić at the time, was present, along with a performance by Split’s City Choir, Brodosplit.
Attendees at the opening of Avenida Republica Croacia listening to Split’s City Choir, Brodosplit. Boris Maruna, the Croatian Ambassador to Chile at the time, is third from the left of the line, and Stjepan Mesić, the president of the Republic of Croatia at the time, is fifth from the right of the line.
Croatian Street is located near the Parque Croacia park, which is located next to the sea, and was opened in 1994, which was partly thanks to the efforts of city councilman Antonio Ilić Vladislavić. The square there is home to two monuments; one is a bust of Jose Papić Radnić (1909 - 1983), a councilman and entrepreneur from Supetar, who contributed to the development of Antofagasta. Papić Radnić is the bearer of the most prestigious award of the city, the Golden Anchor, for his efforts in helping the poor and the social institutions of the city. A neighbourhood of the city was named Poblacion Don Jose Papic Radnic in his honor.
Antofagasta, Croatian park and singers from the band Trio Gušt from Split, alongside the bust of Jose Papić Radić.
Aside from the bust of Papić in Parque Croacia, there is also a monument with a memorial plate, from 2005. It was signed on one side by the mayor of Antofagasta, Daniel Adaro Silva at the time, and the Croatian community on the other. It has an inscription with the following from Tonko Obilinović: Croatians came to Antofagasta when the city was still being born, and when everyone there was still raising it from the ground up. Then they started to arrive by the thousands, and they made this land their own, and this homeland their homeland, and they joined their blood with Chilean blood. And through their descendants, they remained in their new homeland forever, and continue to contribute to its growth.
Parque Croacia in Antofagasta and the monument with a memorial plate, with the quote of Tonko Obilinović.
Antofagasta is a university city. The Universidad de Antofagasta university was founded in 1981, with the merger of two national faculties, specifically the Universidad de Chile and Universidad Tecnica del Estado. The intent was to further scientific, technical, cultural, and artistic growth in the region, which was, up to that point, thanks largely to the regions’ needs and conditions, entirely dependent on mining studies.
University of Antofagasta, Colon Campus.
At the University Campus of Colon in 2005, the Gimnasio Jorge Tomicic sports arena was officially opened. In the presence of numerous academic citizens, scientists, and athletes, Tomičić’s wife, Marcela Clark Guerra, unveiled a bronze memorial plate.
Jorge Tomičić, Krstulović on his mother’s side, was born in Antofagasta, in 1940, where he grew and got his education. He was a biology professor, and pushed for the Universidad de Antofagasta to study microbiology, animal nutrition, and ecology. He left many science papers and lectures behind him. This was all helped by his international experiences, as he had lived in Canada and the Philippines as a scholarship fellow. He directed his knowledge into the development of his hometown and region. Jorge Tomičić died while on a research expedition in Bahia de Ite, Peru, in 1992.
Jorge Tomičić (1940 – 1992)
At the Universidad de Antofagasta, the University dorm is called the Hogar Universitario Lenka Franulic, after the eponymous journalist of Croatian descent.
Lenka Franulić (1908 – 1961
Lenka Franulić Zlatar was born in Antofagasta, in 1908, and passed away in Santiago de Chile in, 1961. Her father was from Nerežišće, and her mother was born in Chile. Lenka was a journalist, who had changed Chilean journalism in several ways; first as a woman, and then as a person who established new norms for the profession, thanks to her extraordinary intelligence and creativity. People would say of Lenka Franulić that she was the honourable soul of Antofagasta, a notable journalist, polyglot, a living intelligence, who had secured a permanent place within Chilean journalism.
One article speaks of Lenka Franulić as a woman who had opened the last door to remain closed to her gender at the time, which led her to new spaces, ranging from street reporting to an editorial position at a political magazine, docent at a university, and the status of the top professional journalist and role model of Latin America. Aside from the university dorm, the Calle Lenka Franulic Zlatar, in the Villa Las Americas district, is dedicated to her.
There are several Croatian schools active in Antofagasta. One of them is the Colegio Universario Antonio Rendic, which got its name after Antonio Rendić Ivanović (1896 - 1993) from Sutivan, who was known as a healer of the poor and a poet in Antofagasta, and who wrote under the pen-name Ivo Serge. The Vatican is expected to beatify him.
Colegio Universario Antonio Rendic
There is also the Croatian San Esteban school:
Escuela Basica Ljubica Domic Wuth, school D72 was named after professor Domic:
Several streets in Antofagasta are named after our people. For Example, Calle Radoslav Razmilic Vlahovic, which was after the veterinarian, Rotarian, and Senate candidate of the same name. Other streets named after Croatians include Calle Juan Glasinovic and Calle Clemente Garafulic, and the Pasaje Dinka Ilic pass. There is also the Avenida Dr. Antonio Rendic Ivanovic. His name, as with the aforementioned school, was used to name the Poblacion Dr. Antonio Rendic Ivanovic neighborhood.
Avenida Radomiro Tomic is named after the politician, and General Bonilla Bradanovic Street after the general of the same name.
Avenida Antonio Rendic
One street is named after Edmund Perez Zujovic (1912 - 1971), from Pelješac by descent, who was a businessman and politician, and whose company built the breakwater for the port in Antofagasta. He was the father of the Demo-Christian party, and went on to become the Minister of Construction, and then Minister of Internal Affairs, which matches the rank of the vice-president of the Republic. It was as part of this function that he was involved in a police raid in Puerto Montt, where ten unarmed men, illegally settled locals, were shot and killed, which caused a general revolt in the country. There is reason to believe that Zujovic gave the order to open fire on the men, as a move to discourage his opposition. This was published in the song Pitanja o Puerto Monttu (Questions about Puerto Montt) by songwriter Victor Jara, in an opened challenge to Perez’s decision to confront unarmed men with firearms. Perez Zujovic himself wound up a victim of similar circumstance, when a member of a terrorist organization shot him while he was on his way to work. Edmundo Perez Zujovic died in Santiago de Chile as a result of the assassination attempt. In Antofagasta, aside from the street, there is also a building named after him, called the Edificio Edmundo Perez Zujovic.
Edmundo Perez Zujovic (1912 – 1971)
In the very center of Antofagasta is the Plaza Colon. Next to it lies the first skyscraper to have been built by Jorge Razmilic Vlahovic, civil engineer and honorary consul of Yugoslavia, and his company. The skyscraper is known by the name Centenario.
Centenario, the first skyscraper built in Antofagasta.
To mark the 100th anniversary of Chile’s independence, the Croatian community erected the Kiosco de la Retreta monument on the Plaza Colon in 1910, which was officially unveiled a year later. It bears the crest of Dalmatia and a copper plate dedicated to Jose Papić Radnić.
Plaza Colon, before the monument was erected.
Kiosco de la retreta and the detail with Dalmatia’s crest.
IN MEMORY OF VISIONARY JOSE PAPIĆ RADNIĆ,
WHO, IN THE TIME OF THE GREAT LOBBIES OF 1949,
SHOWED THE CITIZENS OF ANTOFAGASTA THE TRUE PATH TO PROGRESS,
BY FOUNDING AND BUILDING THE FUTURE OF OUR COUNTRY.
CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, 1989
In 1995, the Antofagasta City Council declared the Kiosco de retreta a historical monument.
In 1892, the Bomba Dalmacia firefighting society was founded in Antofagasta. Its name was changed in 1918 to La Compańía Yugoslava de Bomberos No. 3, Bomba Pascual Baburriza, and today it goes by Bomba Hrvatska, Pascual Baburizza. Its founders were president Petar Tonšić and captain Marko Šore. At their founding, they pointed out that this was their way of trying to repay the city of Antofagasta for its hospitality. The firefighting society proved quite able, and was an important component of keeping the Croatians together. The society has a very nice building today, and includes 65 volunteers, among whom there are still those with Croatian family names, such as Nikolić, Leontić, Eterović, Kašić, Zlatar, Franulić, Jakšić…
Bomba Hrvatska firefighting society, Pascual Baburizza
At a time when the chemical industry wasn’t around, saltpeter or potassium nitrate was used as a fertilizer, thanks to its large nitrogen content. Saltpeter was extracted far away from the sea, and transported to Europe by ship. This was what led to the development of the pacific ports of Antofagasta and Iquique.
Antofagasta in 1918, and the port made for saltpeter export.
Entire families lived next to saltpeter deposits, so-called salitreras, so they would build housing, schools, churches, stores, and each such site would also have a theater. A tour of these theaters was even organized for well-known Italian tenor Enrico Caruso. Each of these sites was its own small city belonging to an individual, and they would even print their own money, more specifically tokens, so-called fichas. The tokens were used to pay the workers, who, in turn, would spend them on housing, food, clothing, and the like, so that everything would ultimately flow back to the owner. The tokens held no value outside of the salitrera.
Chacabuco, an abandoned salitrera in Antofagasta’s hinterlands.
There were even some Croatians among salitrera owners. Croatian names that were given to salitreras represent a permanent trace of the Croatian presence in the north of Chile. In the Antofagasta and Iquique areas, salitreras with Croatian names included Hervatska, Naprijed, Franjka, Dalmacija, Brac, Stanka, and others. The Brac and Franjka salitreras were opened by Ivan Sargo from Milna (1860 - 1920) together with Jakov Sabioncello from Nerežišće.
Fichas salitreras, or tokens from the Brač salitrera
The Union y Porvenir salitreras were owned by Paško Baburica, who sold them to Marko Cicarelli from Pučišća on Brač in 1915.
Backbreaking labor in the salitreras was paid for in tokens.
A token from the Adriatico salitrera of Marinković and Goić, and Mitrović’s Dalmacija.
Salitrera in the Iquiquea hinterlands.