Colombia to recover lost treasure worth billions from 18th century shipwreck

Web Desk
February 24, 2024

Spanish crown galleon carrying emeralds, silver, and gold worth billions sank in 1708 due to an attack

Image of the San Jose galleon which is believed to have been carrying billions worth of treasure. — Business Insider/File

Colombia has announced plans to retrieve the lost treasure from the 316-year-old wreck of the legendary San Jose galleon with the help of a robot, CBS News.

The Spanish crown galleon carrying emeralds, silver and gold worth billions sank in 1708 due to an attack by the British navy while on its way to the court of King Philip V of Spain from the New World. Out of its 600-man crew, only a few survived.

Eight years after its discovery, Colombian Culture Minister Juan David Correa has announced that an underwater robot will be dispatched to retrieve part of its riches.

According to Correa, the robot will only retrieve a few objects from "the surface of the galleon" in April and May to test "how they materialise when they come out of the water and to understand what we can do" to retrieve the other riches.

Furthermore, he said that the robot will collect objects like pottery, wood fragments, and shells "without modifying or damaging the wreck."

The operation is estimated to cost more than $4.5 million.

To keep treasure-seekers away from what is regarded as one of the greatest archaeological discoveries in history, the expedition's location is being kept a secret.

The ship has been the subject of a legal battle in the United States, Colombia and Spain over who owns the rights to the sunken treasure.


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