18th century Spanish shipwreck has $17 billion worth of coins and gems on board
The Colombian military has released images of one of the world’s most valuable shipwrecks, the location of which was unknown for nearly three centuries.
spain San Jose The galleon was laden with a vast cargo of treasure when it was sunk by British naval vessels in 1708 during the War of the Spanish Succession.
The ship, a 64-gun galleon with around 600 people on board, is believed to have carried at least 200 tons of treasure, including gold coins, silver coins and emeralds, worth an estimated $17 billion. at today’s prices.
The wreck, often called “the holy grail of shipwrecks”, was discovered by Colombian navy officials off Cartagena in 2015, but its precise location has remained secret.
Colombian President Iván Duque released never-before-seen footage and images of the wreckage during a June 6 press conference.
The images revealed many newly discovered treasures, including Chinese ceramics, gold coins, swords and cannons.
“The idea is to get it back and have sustainable funding mechanisms for future extractions,” Duque said at the press conference. “In this way, we protect the treasure, the heritage of the San Jose galleon.”
Authorities said the video and images were taken by advanced remote-controlled equipment which descended to about 3,280 feet to explore the nooks and crannies of the wreckage.
Markings on the guns revealed they were made in 1655 in Seville and Cadiz in Spain, Colombian Navy Maritime Director General Admiral José Joaquín Amézquita said in a statement.
He also noted the discovery of gold coins, or macuquinas, with coinage typical of the time.
Duque also said monitoring of the wreck led to the discovery of two other wrecks nearby, a colonial ship and a schooner dating to the 1800s.
The San Jose The wreckage has been the subject of a legal battle since its discovery, as reported The Economist.
Colombia has claimed the wreck and its contents, with former President Juan Manuel Santos signing the Submerged Cultural Heritage Law in 2013, which states that artifacts recovered from Colombian waters belong to the state.
However, Spain also asserted a claim, noting that the ship was theirs and citing the UNESCO convention on underwater cultural heritage.
To complicate matters further, many of the valuables on board the ship had likely been looted from South American countries, some of which may also claim a claim to some of the treasure.
This article was originally published by Business Insider.
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