On June 8, 1708, British warships sank the Spanish vessel, the San Jose, during a battle dubbed Wager’s Action. The San Jose boasted a bevy of gold and jewels that it was transporting to Spain in hopes of further funding the War of Spanish Succession, but it met its fate at the hands of the British Expedition, which blasted the ship until it was set aflame, killing nearly 600 passengers on board.
The Colombian Institute of Anthropology and History, and the Colombian Navy, found the submerged vessel at a depth of 1,000 feet on Nov. 27 off Colombia’s Baru peninsula. The location of the find is still being held close to the vest of Colombian officials, but in 1981, an American company — The Sea Search Armada — claimed that it had found the area where the shipwreck was likely located and has been looking to split the profits from a find since then. As of yet, there’s no word on whether there will be a legal fight over the contents of the ship.
The discovery of the San Jose is one of the greatest finds in modern history, with a possible total of the loot onboard reaching as high as $17 billion. While that number is astronomical, the wealth of history that is buried with the ship will be of even higher value.