Colombia moves to protect the “holy grail” of shipwrecks that sank more than 3 centuries ago with billions of dollars in treasure

On Wednesday, Colombia declared a “protected archaeological zone” around the legendary site San Jose Galleon It sank off its Caribbean coast more than three centuries ago Loaded with gold, silver and emeralds It is believed to be worth billions of dollars.

naming, The Ministry of Culture said“Ensures heritage protection” through “long-term preservation of the ship and development of research, conservation and evaluation activities.”

Name it The “Holy Grail” of shipwrecksThe San José was owned by the Spanish Crown when it was sunk by the British Navy near Cartagena in 1708. Only a few of its 600 crew members survived.

The galleon was returning from the New World to the court of King Philip V of Spain, carrying chests of emeralds and about 200 tons of gold coins.

The Spanish ship San Jose Galleon sank in the Caribbean in 1708 after a battle with the British. New data suggests these shipwrecks could reveal the history of hurricanes in the region.

Samuel Scott


Before Colombia announced Discovery in 2015The ship has long been in demand by adventurers.

His reward was estimated at billions of dollars.

“This is not a treasure, and we are not treating it as such,” Culture Minister Juan David Correa insisted on Wednesday.

The new naming of the area was announced at a ceremony launching the first “non-intrusive” phase of scientific exploration of the wreck.

In February, Correa told AFP: The robot will be sent underwater To recover some of his reward.

Spain has claimed the ship and its contents under a United Nations agreement to which Colombia is not a party, while the indigenous people of Bolivia’s Cara Cara claim the wealth was stolen from them.

But the government of President Gustavo Petro insisted that the wreck be removed for scientific and cultural purposes.

The two Spanish delegations attended the event on Wednesday.

US-based salvage company Sea Search Armada is also claiming ownership of the wreck – which it insists it found for the first time in more than 40 years and has taken Colombia to the UN’s Permanent Court of Arbitration, seeking $10 billion in compensation.

The exact location of the shipwreck is kept secret to protect what is being considered One of the greatest archaeological discoveries In the history of malicious treasure hunters.

In June 2022, Colombia said a remotely operated vehicle reached a depth of 900 meters below the ocean surface, showing New photos of the wreck.


Gold coins found in centuries-old shipwrecks off Colombia

The video showed the best view yet of the treasure aboard the San Jose, including gold bars, coins, cannons made in Seville in 1655 and an intact Chinese dinner service.

At the time, Reuters reported that the remotely operated vehicle had also discovered two other shipwrecks in the area, including a sailboat believed to be nearly two centuries old.

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