Colombian Army Shares Video of Shipwreck Carrying $17 Billion in Lost Treasure

Andrei Tapalaga
Sank Spanish Flashship from 1708 during the War of the Spanish SuccessionCGTN/YouTube

Usually, treasure is found buried on a lost island in the middle of the ocean, but in this case, it has been discovered in the hull of an 18th-century Spanish warship. The Colombian army has released a video to the public showing pots full of gold coins and other precious stones. The shipwreck is believed to be the famous San Jose galleon, holding billions of dollars worth of treasure.

This famous galleon was sunk by the Royal Navy in 1708 during the War of the Spanish Succession. Today, the ship has been discovered to rest near the port of Cartagena on Colombia's coast with the Carribean. The ship itself was one of the greatest seen during the 17th and even 18th centuries as it carried over 600 crew members and was armed to the teeth. No wonder a treasure worth billions was kept inside it.

The shipwreck was actually discovered in 2015, but not much information had been made public by the Colombian army upon its discovery. It is only now, seven years later that they have opened to the public with some very interesting facts as well as a video to prove those facts.

The issue is that it would cost around $70 million to do a whole salvage operation of the shipwreck, as it is located at a depth between 2000 and 2300 feet. It is not only the financial investment that has stopped people from investigating the shipwreck, but also the ethical issues as people are not supposed to disturb a war grave. This was also pointed out in 2015 by Justin Leidwanger, an archeologist from Stanford University who is an expert in shipwrecks.

"It makes it very touchy because one is not supposed to intervene in war graves. Can you pluck treasure off the seabed without disturbing a war grave? I doubt you can. But these are the sort of discussions that will be had." (Quote by Justin Leidwanger)

Despite all this, people are getting very interested as experts speculate that the ship carried a load of 200 tons of treasure, from silver coins to emeralds. They estimate that the value of the treasure today (taking into consideration inflation) is about $17 billion. This is supported by a statement given by Vice President and top diplomat Marta Lucia Ramirez saying that the treasure if recovered could be auctioned for even more than $20 billion.

"The sums of wealth are invaluable, and the responsibility of the protégés has already been extracted, contributing to the history of Colombia, the Caribbean and the world," (Quote by Marta Lucia Ramirez)

Some of the treasures can be seen in the video, from gold coins to ingots and even intact Chinese porcelain. The Colombian government in accordance with military archaeologists is analyzing the inscriptions on the gold to determine where it originated from.

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