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IN History & Culture ON 07 Dec, 2015
Check the first glimpse of the wreck of the San Jose after a British warship near Columbia sunk it, years back. According to the President of Columbia, deep sea divers have found the wreck of the galleon which was with 600 people aboard when it sank.
The Royal Navy sank the San Jose off the coast of Cartagena more than 300 years ago. It was popularly known as the 'holy grail' of shipwrecks, because one of the most valuable haul of treasure to have been lost at the sea ever, was being carried by the ship. The estimated value of the haul is found to be $1.5 billion though till now, no treasure has been brought to the surface yet.
According to the Colombian President, Mr. Santos, "as some say, it was one of the greatest - if not the biggest - discoveries of submerged patrimony in the history of mankind." Reports suggest that the wreck would get qualified as a UN underwater cultural heritage site.
The credits for discovering the wreck goes to the country's archaeology institute, a team of international experts and also, the Colombian Navy.
It was indeed a very important discovery in the recent years.
Though it remained sunken for years, still the treasure didn't perish.
Every year, on an average, two fleets of between 30 and 90 Spanish ships would sail to the American colonies from Sevilla (Seville). One - the Flota de Nova Espana - left for Vera Cruz (now Mexico), with ships detached to Honduras and the West Indies on the way, during spring. The other - Esquadron de Terra Firme - left for Porto Bello, on the Atlantic coast of Panama and Cartagena, Columbia, in August. The following spring both fleets met at Havana, after wintering in America and returned to Spain together.
But, before he could do so, the ship was blown up leading to the sinking of the vessel while perishing all the member aboard.
From Cartagena's naval base, Columbia's president Santos said on national television, "We will build a great museum here in Cartagena. Without a doubt, without room for any doubt, we have found, 307 years after it sank, the San Jose galleon."
A legal dispute between Sea Search Armada (SSA), a U.S. based salvage company and Columbia, centered around the subject of San Jose. According to SSA, it had located the ship's sinking area in 1981. There was an agreement between the government and the company that any proceeds from the wreckage would be split, but later it was clarified by the government that Columbia would own all the treasure and a U.S. court backed this view in 2011. Santos also added that until the completion of more investigations, further discussions will be done by few Government spokespeople. Whether the remains of the ship would be brought to dry land and how much are the remnants are some unclear facts.