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Shipwreck Laden With Billions in Treasure Discovered Off Colombia

The wreck of the San José, a long-lost treasure galleon of the Spanish Navy, was located off the coast of Colombia.

The San José was a 64-gun, three-masted galleon built in 1698 and tasked with shipping vast quantities of gold, silver, emeralds and jewelry from the South American colonies to Spain. In 1708 it was ambushed by the British and destroyed, taking an estimated $17 billion in precious metals and gems to the bottom of the sea.

An international team of scientists and engineers located the ancient wreck using the same underwater vehicle that mapped the Titanic’s wreck. The government of Colombia said it would build a museum and conservation center to preserve the wreck’s contents if they can be recovered.