Columbian president announces discovery via Twitter
“Gran noticia: ¡Encontramos el Galeon San José!”. This was the simple announcement by Columbian President Juan Manuel Santos, sent last Friday via Twitter, proclaiming the discovery of the San Jose, which sank on 8 June 1708 north of Columbia.
Launched in 1698 during the War of Spanish Succession, the San Jose was part of the fleet of King Philip V of Spain. The ship was caught in a fatal attack by British warships when it was about 16 nautical miles off the port of Cartagena. When it sank at 7.30pm, 587 sailors, solders and passengers were aboard; only 11 survived.
The ship's cargo consisted of about 200 tonnes of gold and silver coins, as well as more than a hundred boxes of precious stones. The Colombian Ministry of Culture estimates the value to be around ten billion US dollars. Other sources speak of at least an amount equal to at least one billion US dollars.
Over the years, the wreck has been the subject of a legal dispute due to the large size of the bounty. US-based salvage company Sea Search Armada claimed to have found the wreck in 1981, but in 2011, an American court ruled that the wreck belong to the Colombian state.