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San Jose Update

We have been regularly posting updates in our Newsletter about the San Jose. The reason for all this attention is that the San Jose bears a relevance to the 1715 Fleet. The San Jose was sunk during the War of Spanish Succession which was fought between 1701 and 1714. During that time, the usual treasure fleets that supported Spain’s economy were not forthcoming. Consequently, Spain was in dire need of funds to support its war efforts. The San Jose which bore much treasure was the flagship of a treasure fleet composed of Spanish warships and merchant vessels. The San Jose was sunk along with its cargo of gold, silver, and precious gems on June 8, 1708. Why is this relevant to the 1715 Fleet?

The San Jose was sunk just eight years before the 1715 Fleet. It’s treasure included coins from the Spanish colonial mint located at Lima, Peru. This was from the same period as those found on the 1715 Fleet. Close up pictures of the San Jose treasure taken at 600 meters clearly show the obverse and reverse of Lima coins that are easily recognizable. According to our Advisory Board member Jorge Proctor, we can learn much about this period in history from this wreck.  He goes on to say that unlike the 1715 Fleet which carried a great deal of material from Mexico, the San Jose carried mainly South American cargo. This will likely include important items for study. On another note, at the depth at which it sank, many of the olive jars, majolica and other extremely fragile items that are never, if ever, found on the 1715 Fleet are all intact on this wreck. And last, but not least, the cannons on this wreck are bronze. This will allow for a further study area related to this period.

So, while the San Jose was lost almost a decade before the 1715 Fleet, it contains coins from the same period as those found on the 1715 Fleet as well as items that were part of the Fleets manifest (olive jars, majolica, etc.) but are not usually found intact. It is an exciting time to be alive!

Expedition to ‘holy grail’ shipwreck full of gold, emeralds begins in Caribbean Sea

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