Serpent's Egg

The Eroticism of Fat Men

Colombia says it has found San Jose treasure ship

Spanish galleon was sunk by British guns off Cartagena in 1708 as it sailed with emeralds, two tons of platinum and personal wealth of the Viceroy of Peru – making her the richest treasure ship lost in the western hemisphere

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Oil painting by Samuel Scott depicting the action off Cartagena, 28 May 1708

Colombia has found a Spanish treasure galleon that sank three hundred years ago off the coast of Cartagena, reputedly loaded with emeralds, gold and silver coins.

President Juan Manuel Santos made the announcement on Twitter.

“Great news! We have found the San Jose galleon. Tomorrow we will provide details at a press conference from Cartagena,” he said.

It could reveal one of the great lost treasure chests, with valuables worth as much as $17 billion (£11 billion).

The remains of the Spanish galleon San Jose, which sunk off the Caribbean coast of Cartagena de Indias, ColombiaThe remains of the Spanish galleon San Jose, which sunk off the Caribbean coast of Cartagena de Indias, Colombia  Photo: Getty Images

When the San Jose set sail from South America in 1708 she was carrying riches destined for King Philip V’s war chest as he fought Britain in the War of Succession.

She never arrived. She was sunk after a 90-minute battle with HMS Expedition, part of a four-ship squadron hunting the Spanish treasure fleet in the southern Caribbean.

The remains of the Spanish galleon San Jose, which sunk off the Caribbean coast of Cartagena de Indias, ColombiaThe remains of the Spanish galleon San Jose, which sunk off the Caribbean coast of Cartagena de Indias, Colombia  Photo: Getty Images

Commodore Charles Wager described the close quarters broadsides – and said the San Jose exploded with such intensity he could feel the heat from his own ship.

“I believe the ship’s side blew out, for she caused a sea that came in our ports,” he wrote. “She immediately sank with all her riches.”

The remains of the Spanish galleon San Jose, which sunk off the Caribbean coast of Cartagena de Indias, ColombiaThe remains of the Spanish galleon San Jose, which sunk off the Caribbean coast of Cartagena de Indias, Colombia  Photo: Getty Images

Some reports said she was carrying 116 chests of emeralds, two tons of platinum and the personal wealth of the Viceroy of Peru – making her the richest treasure ship ever lost in the western hemisphere.

The location of the San Jose has been known since 1981 but efforts to explore the ship and salvage her treasure have been hampered by a dispute between the government and Sea Search Armada, an American company, over rights to the proceeds.

The remains of the Spanish galleon San Jose, which sunk off the Caribbean coast of Cartagena de Indias, ColombiaThe remains of the Spanish galleon San Jose, which sunk off the Caribbean coast of Cartagena de Indias, Colombia  Photo: Getty Images

In 2011 an American court declared the galleon to be the property of the Colombian state.

The San Jose is estimated to be one of more than 1,000 galleons and merchant vessels to have sunk among Colombia’s coral reefs.

Earlier this year, treasure hunters said they had found $4.5m of Spanish gold coins off the coast of Florida, part of another of King Philip’s treasure fleets shipwrecked in a hurricane while en route from Havana to Spain.

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This entry was posted on December 5, 2015 by and tagged , , , .

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