World's greatest treasure is housed in a sunken wreck which is being excavated

The Spanish galleon San José, which sank in 1708, is said to harbour a treasure that is worth an incredible amount of money today.

The British fleet sank the Spanish galleon, San José, off the coast of Colombia in the seas of the Baru Peninsula in 1708. The retrieval of the wealth may now begin, three centuries later.

However, the operation has re-ignited tensions between three nations, each of which is claiming a piece of the €17 billion that the ship is reported to carry.

Wreck houses the greatest treasure ever discovered

The Spanish galleon

The San José was en route to Cartagena de Indias when she was sunk by English mercenaries, and she had a vast fortune on board. According to contemporary historians, an estimated 11 million gold and silver thalers were acquired in Panama.

A study team from the Colombian Institute of Anthropology and History, the Colombian Navy, and foreign specialists, including the Sea Search Armada, an American treasure-seeking business, found the wreck in 2015.

The galleon's holds are claimed to contain a total of 200 tons of gold, silver, and emeralds, with a value of up to 17 billion euros, according to expert calculations. The world's most precious diamond is onboard the ship, and whoever gets their hands on it will make a lot of money!

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The diplomatic battle to recover the treasure

The question arises that if this fortune is uncovered, who has the right to claim it. The San José was a 'ship of state' and so falls under UNESCO standards, which allow Spain the ability to claim ownership of the ship, among other things.

Bolivia is also hoping to reclaim a portion of the spoils. The Qhara Qharas, a Bolivian indigenous people, claim that their forefathers were compelled to mine silver from what was once the world's biggest silver mine in the 1500s. Colombia, after all, thinks that the riches buried in the country's seas are properly theirs, and so continues the diplomatic battle.

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