The San Jose carrying gold, silver, gems and jewellery was sunk in June 1708 by a British warship just outside Cartagena. The valuables were collected from the South American colonies to help finance the Spanish King, who was fighting against the British.
The Colombian government’s announcement on Friday that it had found the San Jose did not mention its long-running quarrel with US-based salvage company Sea Search Armada (SSA) over claims to the treasure – estimated to be worth between $4 bn and $17 bn (£2.6 bn-£11 bn; €3.7 bn-€15.6 bn).
A group now owned by SSA said in 1981 that it had located the area in which the ship sank.
SSA has been claiming billions of dollars for breach of contract from the Colombian government, but in 2011, an American court ruled that the galleon was the property of the Colombian state.
- English Commodore Charles Wager tracked down the treasure-laden ship 25km (16 miles) off Cartagena, and it sank in 300m (1,000ft) of water
- In the fighting, the vessel was reported to have exploded, with most of its crew killed
- The wreck is reported to fall within the UN’s definition of an underwater cultural heritage site
- As per the estimate recorded San Jose is one of more than 1,000 galleons and merchant ships that sank along Colombia’s coral reefs during more than three centuries of colonial rule.