• The 300-year-old “holy grail of shipwrecks”

    Photos of the 300-year-old San Jose shipwreck, thought to contain billions of dollars in treasure. Credit: Armada de la Republica de Colombia

    By Alexi Friedman - Greek Reporter


    Photos of the 300-year-old “holy grail of shipwrecks” that is thought to hold billions of dollars in gold and treasure have been recently released.

    The massive Spanish San Jose, which went down off the coast of what is now Cartagena, Colombia, likely contains gold and silver coins, emeralds, Chinese ceramics, swords, and cannons valued at nearly $17 billion to $16.1 billion euros, Insider reported. That would make the multi-deck 64-gun vessel, which held 600 people, among the richest sunken ships ever discovered.

    Colombian naval crews spotted the galleon cargo and warship in 2015, but for obvious reasons did not provide an exact location and did not previously reveal images of the sunken vessel. It was located via an unmanned submersible that dove more than 3,000 feet below the surface.

    The British fleet sunk the San Jose in 1708 amid the War of the Spanish Succession, a decade-long battle over control of the Spanish empire. Some of the cannons aboard date back to the mid-1600s.

    The Colombian army shared photos of the find after Colombian President Iván Duque showed images of the wreck at a press conference earlier this month.

    The wreck has been the subject of an ongoing legal battle between Colombia and Spain, The Economist previously reported. Ownership could also be contested by countries in South America from where some of the treasure was thought to have been stolen.

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