And they say there’s no mystery left in the world. Colombia claims to have found the shipwreck of a Spanish galleon chock full of gold and precious jewels; hundreds of years after it was sunk off the coast of Cartagena.
The San Jose was sunk by the British in June 1708, with a hull filled with gold and precious stones. Treasure hunters have been searching for her for decades, uncovering scores of other wrecks while the jackpot eluded them… until now.
“This is the most valuable treasure that has been found in the history of humanity,” President Juan Manuel Santos last Saturday, port city of Cartagena, close to where the wreck was found.
The ship was sunk near the Islas del Rosario, by British ships trying to get their hands on the precious cargo; part of the War of Spanish Succession.
The San Jose was part of a fleet of ships carrying gold, silver and other treasures from Spain’s American colonies to King Philip V.
A team of Colombian and foreign researchers, including one of the team members that discovered the wreck of the Titanic in 1985 studied Spanish archives, wind records and ocean currents; eventually leading to the discovery.
“The amount and type of the material leave no doubt of the identity” of the shipwreck, said Ernesto Montenegro, head of the Colombian Institute of Anthropology and History.
The Sea Search Armada – a US company –, claimed to have found it first, but the find was not confirmed and a court battle in the US granted Colombia the final victory.
The discovery “is an unprecedented event for the country,” said Cartagena’s Mayor, Dionisio Velez.
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