A treasure of 10 billion dollars at the bottom of the ocean: the legal battle to recover the loot rages

A treasure of 10 billion dollars at the bottom of the ocean: the legal battle to recover the loot rages

June 8, 1708. Off Cartagena de Indias, in the Caribbean Sea, not far from the coast of what is now Colombia, a great naval battle took place between 14 Spanish and English ships. The latter trying to prevent the Spaniards from bringing back to Europe the wealth taken (looted would be more exact) in their American colonies.

In the holds of San Jose, flagship of the Hispanic fleet armed with more than 60 guns, one of the most powerful in the Kingdom of Spain, there were 200 tons of gold, silver, emeralds and other precious stones. Nothing will reach its destination, the boat exploded when the English wanted to seize it. Only 17 of the 600–700 crew survived. Since then, the remains of San Jose and his treasure lay 950 meters deep without anyone knowing where exactly.

In 1981, an expedition of American treasure hunters claimed to have located the vessel. She claimed 50% of the wealth that was on board. These were then estimated by the Colombian authorities at more than 10 billion dollars (others mention a value of more than 17 billion if we update the value of the goods!), making San Jose the Holy Grail of all shipwrecks, no offense to the Titanic! What also stir up all the lusts, which did not fail to happen.

A highly claimed nest egg

The Colombians have claimed ownership of the precious cargo as it lies within their territorial waters. They claim to have started their own research and discovered the site where the galleon rests in 2015.

The Spaniards also came forward under international law which stipulates that a shipwreck does not dispossess an owner of his property. The loot of San Jose belongs to them, they say.

Finally, the native Bolivians are also asserting their rights. They claim that the San Jose was carrying wealth from the Viceroyalty of Peru which they extracted.

Bogota does not intend to drop the case. Last week, the Colombians released never-before-seen high-accuracy footage of the wreckage. We see guns, porcelain dishes, bottles, but also and above all what looks like gold and silver coins.

Colombia reaffirmed sole ownership of the wreck and its incredible treasure. After prohibiting private operators from being able to participate in the recovery of this one, it had already made it known that it intended to highlight this heritage with the “construction” of a museum of shipwrecked boats, since other wrecks were found nearby. Enough to revive the historico-legal imbroglio on the ownership of what is presented as the greatest treasure of all time.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.