Croatians arrived in Bolivia around one hundred years ago, and they first inhabited Cochabamba and Oruro, where they worked in mines. Most of them came from the island of Brač, and their descendants still live here today. The second notable Croatian community in Bolivia is located in the Santa Cruz lowlands. This is where the Honorary Consulate of the Republic of Croatia, with Robert Jakubek at its head, is located. Croatians in Bolivia are largely businessmen, and it is curious to note that the founder of Bolivian philately is Simon Martinić, from Brač.

Martinić, or Vrandečić on his mother’s side, is originally from Pučišća, and started his activities in philately in 1920. He became very knowledgeable in the area, and was often selected as the international representative for various series of stamps presented at international philately exhibits. In 1957, he founded CEFILCO, a philately society in Cochabamba. CEFILCO was responsible for publishing the first catalog of Bolivian stamps in 1960, which saw its eighth printing in 1993. This same year, Bolivia dedicated a postal stamp to Simon Martinić, not only for his role as the president of CEFILCO at the time, but also as the founder of organized philately in the region.[1]



Bolivian postal stamp depicting Simon Martinić (courtesy of the late Ivo Salamunović)


[1] Baranović, Pjero; Bezić Filipović, Branka. 2010. Hrvati na markama svijeta [DVD-ROM]. Croatian Heritage Foundation, Split branch