Posted December 06, 2015 16:54:54

Remains of Spanish galleon San Jose Photo: The remains of the Spanish galleon San Jose, which sunk off Colombia’s Caribbean coast in 1708. (AFP/Colombian Culture Ministry)
Connected Story: US, Spain drop booty in Colombian courtroom
Map: Colombia

Colombia has announced it has located the shipwreck of a storied Spanish galleon laden with gold, silver and precious stones, three centuries soon after it was sunk by the British in the Caribbean.

President Juan Manuel Santos declared that “this is the most beneficial treasure that has been found in the history of humanity”, speaking from the northern port city of Cartagena, close to where specialists produced the hugely valuable discover.

External Link: Colombia pres tweet

Treasure hunters had searched for the ship for decades, described by some as the holy grail of shipwrecks.

The loot is estimated to be worth about $ 3 billion, its value obtaining dropped considerably due to the falling cost of silver, according to US-based business Sea Search Armada (SSA).

Professionals confirmed that they had positioned the San Jose, which was lying on its side, when identifying it by its distinctive bronze cannons with engraved dolphins.

“The quantity and sort of the material leave no doubt of the identity” of the shipwreck, stated Ernesto Montenegro, head of the Colombian Institute of Anthropology and History.

The discovery “is an unprecedented occasion for the country,” Cartagena mayor Dionisio Velez said.

On Twitter the situation was trending below #GaleonSanJose, as customers debated regardless of whether to return the loot to Spain and estimates about its present value.

Legal battle stalled search confirmation

Samuel Scott painting Action off Cartagena Photo: The San Jose was sunk in June 1708 off Colombia’s Caribbean coast. (National Maritime Museum/Samuel Scott)

SSA, whose subsidiary claimed in the early 1980s that it had discovered the galleon’s final resting place, was engaged in a extended-running battle with the government of Colombia.

The uncover was not confirmed, and a US court eventually ruled it was Colombian house.

A team of Colombian and foreign researchers, such as a veteran of the group that discovered the wreck of the Titanic in 1985, studied winds and currents of the Caribbean 307 years ago and delved into colonial archives in Spain and Colombia searching for clues.

Specialists confirmed that they located the San Jose on November 27, “in a place never ever ahead of referenced by preceding analysis”, Mr Santos mentioned.

At least 5 other significant shipwrecks had been found when looking the ocean floor.

There could be up to 1,000 shipwrecks off the Caribbean coast of Colombia, but of these only amongst six and 10 had a huge cargo of treasures, anthropologist Fabian Sanabria said.

The most significant find, and the most sought soon after, was the San Jose, he stated.

The San Jose was sunk in June 1708 near the Islas del Rosario, off Colombia’s Caribbean coast, throughout combat with British ships attempting to take its cargo as part of the War of Spanish Succession.

The galleon was the primary ship in a treasure fleet carrying gold, silver and other useful things from Spain’s American colonies to King Philip V.

Only a handful of the ship’s crew of 600 survived when the San Jose sank.


Topics: colonialism, 18th-century, colombia

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