A Spanish ship known as the Galleon San Jose sank off the country’s Caribbean coast in 1708 after being attacked by a British vessel. By some inflation-adjusted estimates, the San Jose was carrying as much as $17 billion in treasure.
According to Motherboard, the Colombian government finally found the ship’s wreckage with the help of camera-mounted robotic submarines.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos made the announcement via Twitter:
Gran noticia: ¡Encontramos el Galeon San José! Mañana daré los detalles en rueda de prensa desde Cartagena.— Juan Manuel Santos (@JuanManSantos) December 4, 2015
“This constitutes one of the greatest—if not the biggest as some say—discoveries of submerged patrimony in the history of mankind,” Santos later said at a press conference.
While there is no word yet on when treasure from the shipwreck will be brought to the surface, the Colombian government may face a prolonged legal battle over the precious cargo. The U.S. salvage company Sea Search Armada (SSA) claims it helped the government locate the San Jose’s approximate location in the early 1980s in exchange for a percentage of the recovered treasure’s value, but the government later reneged on the deal. In 2011, the company attempted to sue the government in Colombian court, but lost.
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