The shipwreck of the Spanish galleon San Jose was found in the Caribbean Sea, off the coast of Columbia. It was sunk in June 1708 by the British during the War of Spanish Succession. The treasure expected to be retrieved from the ship, will likely be the largest sunken treasure ever found.
Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos said:
“This is the most valuable treasure that has been found in the history of humanity (…) I am very pleased, as head of state, to inform you that, without a doubt, we have found, 307 years after its sinking, the galleon San Jose.”
Inside the bowels of the San Jose the government hopes to find a treasure that includes gold, silver, emeralds, and other valuable items. Its value has been estimated at around US$10 billion. In the end it might even be worth as much as $17 billion. Most of the gold comes goldmines that are located in what is now Peru.
In 2011 a US court declared the galleon property of the Colombian state.
However, the US-based company Sea Search Armada claims that the general area in which the ship was found had already been located by one of its subsidiaries in the 1980s. It has been engaged in a long legal battle with the government of Colombia which it eventually lost in front of a US court. Now it claims that a Colombian court’s verdict forces Bogota to split the proceeds with the company evenly. At the moment at least it seems unlikely that its claim will be successful.
The Colombian government says the ship was found in waters, not previously included in the search for the San Jose.