And A Spanish galleon carrying 200 tons of gold, silver and emeralds that sank in the Caribbean Sea has once again attracted the attention of treasure hunters.
The galleon “San Jose” was sunk off the Colombian port of Cartagena after an explosion occurred in its gunpowder stores during a clash with the British in 1708. The sinking of the San Jose became known as the “Holy Grail of shipwrecks” as it contained $20 billion worth of assets, calculated by today’s standards.
Now Colombia has announced a national campaign to recover the treasure. In 2015, the country’s government revealed that a team of divers had discovered the legendary ship, nearly a kilometer underwater. Last year, another team published amazing photos of the galleon’s perfectly preserved cargo.
However, the untold wealth caused a dispute between those who wanted to own it. The American exploration company “Glocca Morra” claims to have discovered “San Jose” in 1981 and handed over the coordinates to the Colombians on the condition that they will receive half of the fortune if it is washed ashore. However, the Americans’ pleas were rejected in 2015 when then-President Juan Manuel Santos announced that the ship had been found elsewhere. The company “Glocca Morra” counters that it will sue Colombia for the value of half the wealth. However, the Minister of Culture, Juan David Correa, said that the government team investigated the place with the supposed coordinates of the sunken “San Jose”, but found no traces of it there.
On the other hand, Spain, whose fleet the galleon belongs to, also claims ownership of the treasure. The Spanish company Qhara Qhara, based in Bolivia, claims that its sailors were sent to mine gold and jewels off the coast of Latin America.
Meanwhile, Colombia is hailing the find as a huge historical and cultural achievement.
The 62-gun galleon was sailing from Portobello in Panama at the head of a fleet of 14 merchant ships and three Spanish warships when it encountered the British squadron near Baru.