December 06, 2015

Spanish Galleon San Jose Discovered Laden With Treasure Off Colombia


Colombian authorities have discovered the wreck of a famed Spanish ship, the 'San Jose.' The galleon sank over 300 years ago with a large cargo of gold and jewels aboard. 
The long-lost shipwreck of the 'San Jose,' a Spanish galleon, has been discovered, Colombia's president Juan Manual Santos announced late on Friday. 

The ship, which sank over 300 years ago, is said to be laden gold, silver, and precious stones.

"Great news: We found the galleon San Jose," the president wrote on Twitter.

The ship was found near Colombia's Rosario Islands, about 100 kilometers (62 miles) off the coast of the city of Cartagena. The ship, which belonged to the fleet of King Philip V as he battled English forces during the War of Spanish Succession, sank in 1708, likely killing the 600 people aboard and sending some 11 million gold coins to the bottom of the sea. 

The president did not mention, however, the long-standing legal battle over the wreck of the San Jose with the US-based salvage firm Sea Search Armada (SSA). In the early 1980s, SSA and Bogota had been partners in the hunt for the ship and had agreed to split the treasure. In 1981, SSA said it had located the general area where the galleon went down.

The government later reversed its agreement and said any proceeds would belong solely to Colombia, prompting a lawsuit from SSA. In 2011, a US court declared the then-unfound ship the property of Bogota.

British news outlets said on Saturday that the trove on board the ship is estimated to be worth around $1.5 billion (1.3 billion euros).

With many thanks to

From The Australian:
By Graham Keeley 

Spain is considering a legal claim against Colombia for the estimated $US1 billion found on the wreck of a galleon that sunk off the South American coast 300 years ago.

The San Jose was the main ship in Spain’s gold fleet, and was carrying precious metals from the mines of South America to Spain. It was loaded with an $US11 million worth of gold and silver coins and jewels when it was sunk near the Rosario islands by a squadron of English warships in June 1708 during the War of the Spanish Succession.

President Santos of Colombia has hailed the discovery as the biggest find of underwater heritage in the “history of humanity”. However, Jose Maria Lassalle, secretary of state for culture, said that Spain would study the legal arguments on which Colombia had based its claim to the treasure.

Spain has aggressively pursued ownership of similar discoveries of treasure on its sunken galleons and is considering a claim.

“The Spanish government will ask Colombia for precise information of the application of the law of their country which justifies their intervention on a Spanish shipwreck,” Mr Lassalle said.

He reminded Colombia how it won a legal battle for 17 tonnes of gold and silver coins found in 2007 on a Spanish frigate that was sunk off Portugal in 1804. A US court rejected Peru’s claim to the hoard on the ground that it had come from its territory.


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