Colombia

Hunt for the ‘Holy Grail’: Colombia Seeks to Recover 18th-Century Shipwreck Worth Billions

Samuel Scott, Action off Cartagena, 28 May 1708, a depiction of the battled that sunk the Spanish galleon San Jose. Photo: Samuel Scott.
Samuel Scott, Action off Cartagena, 28 May 1708, a depiction of the battled that sunk the Spanish galleon San Jose. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Are you an aspiring treasure hunter? If so, Columbia may have just the gig for you.

The South American country is asking for help in recovering one of the most famous shipwrecks in history—the sunken Galleón San José. Considered the “holy grail” of shipwreck treasure, the Spanish vessel was discovered submerged off the Columbian coast in 2015.

In 1708, the San José was carrying gold and silver mined from the Spanish colonies of Peru and Bolivia back to Spain during the War of Spanish Succession. But the British Navy intercepted and sunk the vessel in an attempt to secure its lucrative cargo. The haul also thought to include coins, gems, precious stones, and jewelry.

The ship’s treasure has been valued at between $1 billion and $10 billion, according to the BBC, making it one of the most valuable troves ever to be lost at sea.

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