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Colombia Ventures to Recover Billions from Sunken Galleon San Jose

This undated photo taken by Colombia’s Anthropology and History Institute (ICANH) and distributed by Colombia’s Ministry of Culture, shows sunken remains from the Spanish galleon San Jose, on the sea floor off Cartagena, Colombia.

Colombia announces plans to recover artifacts from the San Jose, a 300-year-old shipwreck dubbed the “holy grail of shipwrecks,” believed to contain a cargo worth billions.The Colombian government has embarked on a bold mission to recover treasures from the San Jose, a legendary shipwreck sunk in 1708, believed to hold a fortune, estimated to be worth billions and includes 11 million gold and silver coins, alongside precious emeralds.Culture Minister Juan David Correa announced the initiative, emphasizing its scientific nature, and stating that the recovery operations are scheduled to begin between April and May, depending on Caribbean sea conditions.

The San Jose’s story is steeped in controversy and legal disputes. Sunk in battle with British ships over three centuries ago, its discovery in 2015 sparked legal battles involving Colombia, Spain, and a private firm with claimed salvage rights from a 1980s agreement.

In 2018, UNESCO urged Colombia not to exploit the wreck commercially, emphasizing the historical value over monetary gain.

The plan involves using robotic or submersible craft to extract materials, which will be analyzed aboard a navy ship. This first effort could lead to a second, based on the findings. The Colombian government insists on treating the wreck as an archaeological site rather than a treasure trove, aiming to position Colombia as a leader in underwater archaeological research.Colombia’s decision to move forward with the recovery comes despite not being a signatory to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. The wreck’s exact location, discovered with the help of an international team and autonomous underwater vehicles, remains a closely guarded state secret.Beyond PoliticsSurprise! 152-Year-Old Shipwreck Discovered in Lake Michigan During Fishing Trip15 December 2023, 22:57 GMTThe three-decked, 150-foot-long galleon, equipped with 64 guns, has already yielded discoveries of well-preserved bronze cannons, ceramics, porcelain vases, and personal weapons. These findings, particularly the cannon specifications, have confirmed the wreck’s identity as the San Jose, resolving any lingering doubts.

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