San Jose Galleon – The lust for treasure

The San Jose Galleon that was part of King Fillip the 5th of Spain’s fleet was the subject of a dispute between Bogota’s government and Sea Search Armada, a large company with it’s headquarters in the U.S which deals with the search of this kind of shipwrecks. The galleon sank in  1708’s because of a conflict with the British Naval Force in the battle from Baru, part of the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1712). Only a few of the 600 crew members on the ship managed to survive and save themselves when the ship started sinking. After three centuries it has disappeared into the depths of Caribbean seas.

The legendary shipwreck of the Spanish galleon San Jose, and the dream of all pirates was discovered off the coast of Colombia. The Colombian authorities announced the localization of the famous war-ship San Jose, san jose treasure
sunk for over 300 years, found in the seas of the Colombian city Cartagena. It is told that on board of the ship should have been a large load of gold, silver and gems, with a value estimated at this time of over 1,5 billion dollars.
A team of Colombian and international researchers have studied the winds and the currents in the Caribbean in 1708. Some of them were members of a team that took part in the discovery of the Titanic in 1985. They have also researched the colonial Spanish and Colombian archives looking for clues, and confirmed that San Jose was indeed found on the 27th of November, in a place where no digging drew attention to it. This so much craved for ship was identified by it’s unique cannons on which were engraved dolphins. During these explorations another five shipwrecks were found on the bottom of the ocean.

It is told that there are up to one thousand other shipwrecks on the Caribbean offshore of Colombia, but only six of them were transporting large amounts of treasures. Despite all of that, the most large and wanted one was the San Jose.

The director of the Colombian Anthropology and History Institute, Mr. Ernesto Montenegro declared that “the quantity and the material type leaves no doubt about the authenticity of the shipwreck’s identity”. The search for the ship is going on for over 30 years and was started by the Colombian Government and the Sea Search Armada company all together. Without doubt this discovery is unmatched and the winning over the finding of the ship was supposed to be split between the two.

Later though, the Colombian government asked that if  the ship was ever found, to be considered property of Colombia. During explorations, another 5 ships were found on the bottom of the ocean and the American Court decided that the shipwreck belongs to Colombia. The images obtained with the help of a sonar unveiled the presence of many bronze cannons, weapons, ceramics and other artifacts. Columbia intends on building a museum near Cartagena, close to the islands Corales del Rosario (a popular touristic destination) in which objects from the ship will be exposed.


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