Advertisement

Colombian Shipwreck Worth $17 Billion to Be Recovered: ‘Most Valuable Treasure’ in the 'History of Humanity'

The San José, sunk by British warships in 1708, has a cargo full of treasure, including 11 million gold coins and 200 tons of silver and emeralds.

<p>Colombian Presidency/AFP via Getty</p> The San José, which was sunk by British warships in 1708

Colombian Presidency/AFP via Getty

The San José, which was sunk by British warships in 1708
  • Colombian authorities will begin the recovery of a 316-year-old shipwreck which is valued at $17 billion

  • Several agencies in Colombia will work to recover the San José, a 150-foot-long Spanish galleon ship, which was sunk by British warships in 1708

  • The vessel carried 200 tons of silver and emeralds, 11 million gold coins and porcelain pottery, Colombian Navy divers have said

Colombian authorities are moving forward with recovering the $17 billion shipwrecked San José nearly a decade after it was first discovered.

The Spanish galleon ship, which sank off the coast near the port city of Cartagena in 1708, will be recovered in a partnership with the Ministry of Cultures, Arts and Knowledge; the National Navy's General Maritime Directorate and the Colombian Institute of Anthropology and History, according to a press release from the Colombian government.

With a cargo full of treasure, the 150-foot-long, 64-gun, three-masted ship sank with 600 men aboard. It carried 200 tons of silver and emeralds, 11 million gold coins, and porcelain pottery, Colombian Navy divers said in June 2022, according to ABC News. Only 11 individuals survived the incident.

Spain, the United States, Bolivian indigenous groups and Colombia have all claimed rights to the shipwreck in past years.

Related: Centuries-Old Shipwrecks Found Near Colombia Carrying Treasure That Could Be Worth Billions

But in 2011, a U.S. court determined that the ship was the property of the Colombian state, per ABC News.

In 2015, then-Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos spoke at a news conference about the discovery, telling attendees, "This is the most valuable treasure that has been found in the history of humanity."

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

Since it was sunk by British warships some 316 years ago, the vessel has been remarkably untouched, officials said.

Related: Mysterious 230-Ft Shipwreck Found at Bottom of Baltic Sea Raises Questions: How Did It Get There?

"So far, the entire discovery of the Galeón San José Asset of Cultural Interest and its archaeological evidence have been deposited without any variation, other than that produced by the marine dynamics themselves (currents and fauna), with no evidence of external interventions," Colombian officials said in the release.

The Colombian government will invest $1,073,646 (17,962 million pesos) in the recovery, officials noted.

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.