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'Holy grail of shipwrecks' to be recovered with treasure worth up to $20 billion

'Holy grail of shipwrecks' to be recovered with treasure worth up to $20 billion

With its location kept secret, the shipwreck was loaded with 200 tonnes of gold, silver and more when it sank

Shipwrecks, treasure and a secret location – the perfect recipe for yet another comedic action Disney film about explorers.

Except this isn’t from the world of cinema, this is actually happening in real life, just off the coast of Colombia.

All the way back in 1708, the San José Galleon sunk to the floor of the Caribbean sea.

The ship was loaded with at least 200 tonnes of gold, silver, jewellery and more – collected in Spain’s South American colonies.

The huge load of treasure was being shipped over to King Philip V to finance his war against the British.

But the San José came under attack by the Royal Navy and sank.

And then its location remained a mystery for centuries.

Despite prior claims of discovering the treasure, the shipwreck was reportedly only found in 2015 by the Columbian navy.

Gold coins are scattered among the wreck.
Presidencia de la República

It’s estimated the treasure sitting on the sea floor is worth up to a whopping $20billion (£16.1billion).

Although the San José’s location is being kept secret to keep away treasure hunters (told you it’s like a film), photos have now been shared of the wreck.

The snaps show treasure scattered along the seafloor, with gold coins and Chinese porcelain tea cups sitting in the sand.

The San José has been billed the ‘holy grail’ of shipwrecks due to it carrying one of the largest amounts of treasure ever lost at sea.

Colombia’s navy maritime director-general, Adm. José Joaquín Amézquita said of the findings: “With the inscriptions discovered, it was possible to determine the manufacturing sites of the ship’s cannons: in Seville and Cádiz, in the year 1655.

The exact location is being kept secret.
Presidencia de la República

“You also can see the different objects of gold, including the 'macuquinas' [a type of coin] and the date they were minted.”

And now, it’s causing a legal situation as claims are being made over just who is entitled the haul.

Spain insists it belongs to them because it was on a Spanish ship.

Bolivia’s indigenous Qhara Qhara nation reckon the same as they were the ones made to mine the precious metals.

And Colombia is considering it part of its cultural heritage as the ship was found in its territorial waters.

But it’s going to take quite a while for them to get the ship up to the surface as it’s not exactly an easy job.

President Gustavo Petro has told his administration to exhume the San José as soon as possible.

Minister of Culture Juan David told Bloomberg the president wants the ship to be recovered before his term is up in 2026.

Featured Image Credit: Presidencia de la República

Topics: Money, World News, Politics