Colombia finds what may be the world's largest sunken treasure Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos talks to the media during a press conference in Cartagena, Colombia, Saturday, Dec.5, 2015. (AP Photo/ Pedro Mendoza)
Colombia finds what may be the world's largest sunken treasure
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President Juan Manual Santos of Colombia has hailed the discovery of a Spanish galleon. The ship went down off the South American nation's coast more than 300 years ago. It may contain the world's largest sunken treasure.
 
Speaking in the colonial port city of Cartagena, Santos said the exact location of the galleon San Jose, and how it was discovered with the help of an international team of experts, was a state secret. He would not reveal its location. The ship sank somewhere in the wide area off Colombia's Baru peninsula. That is south of Cartagena.
 
No humans have yet to reach the wreckage site. Underwater vehicles went there and brought back photos of dolphin-stamped bronze cannons. They are in a well-preserved state. They leave no doubt to the ship's identity, the government said.
 
The discovery is the latest chapter in a saga that began three centuries ago. But the story actually began on June 8, 1708. That is when the galleon ship with 600 people aboard sank. It was trying to outrun a fleet of British warships. The San Jose is believed to have been carrying 11 million gold coins and jewels from then Spanish-controlled colonies. The treasure could be worth billions of dollars if ever recovered.
 
The ship is considered by maritime experts to be the holy grail of Spanish colonial shipwrecks. It has been the subject of a legal battle in the U.S., Colombia and Spain over who owns the rights to the sunken treasure.
 
In 1982, Sea Search Armada, a salvage company owned by U.S. investors, announced it had found the San Jose's resting place. It was 700 feet below the water's surface, the company said.
 
Two years later, Colombia's government overturned well-established maritime law that gives 50 percent to whoever locates a shipwreck. The government slashed Sea Search's take to a 5 percent "finder's fee."
 
A lawsuit by the American investors in a federal court in Washington was dismissed in 2011. The ruling was affirmed on appeal two years later. Colombia's Supreme Court has ordered the ship to be recovered before the international dispute over the fortune can be settled.
 
Santos didn't mention any salvage company's claim. But the Colombian government said the ship had been found Nov. 27. It was discovered in a never-before referenced location through the use of new meteorological and underwater mapping studies, the government said.
 
Danilo Devis has represented Sea Search in Colombia for decades. He expressed optimism that the sunken treasure, whose haul could easily be worth more than $10 billion, would finally be recovered.
 
But he bristled at the suggestion that experts located the underwater grave anywhere different from the area adjacent to the coordinates Sea Search gave authorities. That was three decades ago.
 
"The government may have been the one to find it. But this really just reconfirms what we told them in 1982," he told The Associated Press from his home in Barranquilla, Colombia.
 
The president said any recovery effort would take years.
 
During his presentation, Santos showed an underwater video. It appears to show jewels and the cannons. In the footage, English-speaking crew members aboard a Colombian naval ship can be seen launching the underwater vehicle into the ocean.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why has the location of the galleon been kept secret?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (119)
  • amegan-par
    12/10/2015 - 02:01 p.m.

    I can't believe that the was the most found treasure was I a ship wreak.

  • ethang-1-bar
    12/10/2015 - 07:29 p.m.

    The location of the galleon was kept a secret because the president didn't want to ruin the historical site."state secret" said above by the president surprised me because the president in such a poor country wouldn't give the location of the treasure is quite weird.My opinion on this article is that I think there should search parties for this treasure everyday 24/7.

  • sydneym-3-bar
    12/10/2015 - 08:13 p.m.

    I think that the location of the galleon has been kept a secret because the Colombian president must not want other people or countries to find it and take it away. People might want to take it away because as it was said in paragraph 1, it might be the world's largest sunken treasure. I found this article interesting because that galleon had much more treasure on it then I could ever imagine.

  • sethg-2-bar
    12/10/2015 - 08:46 p.m.

    The location of the galleon has been kept a secret because it is 700 feet under the surface of the ocean. Juan Manuel Santos has also tried to keep it a secret. I found this article interesting because the wreck could be 10 million dollars.

  • jacksonm-4-bar
    12/10/2015 - 08:50 p.m.

    The location of the galleon is kept secret so others can not take there find.If people found the galleon than many people would take there find and have more money than the person who found it.

  • samuelh-3-bar
    12/10/2015 - 09:04 p.m.

    The location of the gallon is kept a secret because, they want to prevent people forming coming and taking the valuables which are scattered among the wreckage. Also because, president Juan Manual Santos of Columbia thinks this is the largest sunken treasure ever found, and he wants to keep it a secret of obvious reasons.

  • annabel1226-yyca
    12/10/2015 - 09:08 p.m.

    I so curious to know what is the worlds largest sunken treasure.
    Is it going to be gold, silver, or copper.
    I hope don't get disappointed.
    I wish that it would be a great treasure.
    What if the treasure is something else.
    I hope it's not.

  • joiec-3-bar
    12/10/2015 - 09:24 p.m.

    The largest sunken treasure's location has become a secret. President Juan Manual Santos has discovered "the worlds largest sunken treasure." (in paragraph one) And has decided to keep it's location a secret. The location has probably been kept hidden because Santos might not want anyone to find it and possibly steal it. I think it is smart of Santos to keep it's location a mystery so no one interferes with his sightings.

  • autianae-ste
    12/10/2015 - 10:52 p.m.

    It's amazing how we are always discovering something. Every day, something new is being studied and the more we find, the more we will know about important history.

  • seans-2-bar
    12/10/2015 - 11:26 p.m.

    The galleon's location has been kept secret because it is worth so much money as stated in the article above. "The sunken treasure, whose haul could easily be worth more than $10 billion". Columbia doesn't want a rival nation or company to take the treasure. After all Columbia is a fairly poor nation that would need the money. I was hooked by this article's title and was intrigued by the article itself.

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