July 29, 2021

Colombia declares the Galleon San José of Cultural Interest

The department headed by Minister Carmen Vásquez agreed on a resolution on January 23, which the Ministry has made public on Wednesday, announcing this measure as a “historic step” to preserve this ship sunk for non-commercial purposes on June 8, 1708 in front of the Rosario Islands.

Thus, the resolution urges the Colombian Institute of Anthropology and History (ICANH), in collaboration with the Maritime General Directorate (Dimar) to incorporate the galleon wreck “into the national registry of submerged cultural heritage assets, which will be documented scientifically and technically, as well as the areas where they are located. “

It also warns of the need for a preventive archeology program and the formulation of a management plan for the conservation of these assets.

The objective of the Government of Colombia is that the wreck and its contents be preserved in a museum in the country that has the best conditions to be cultural, archaeological and historical heritage, for the benefit of future generations and of all humanity.

The National Council of Cultural Heritage had declared on December 27 the nation’s cultural asset the galleon San José and its content indivisibly, a decision that meant ratifying that the Government of Bogotá will not pay the rescue of the wreck with pieces that are obtain from him, as the previous Executive had planned, led by Juan Manuel Santos.

That plan, which commissioned the company ‘treasure hunter’ MACS to rescue the wreck, mobilized the Spanish Government, since San José was a sunken Spanish ship in the 18th century and Spain considers it to be “underwater tomb” and should not be exploited commercially Spain offered its cooperation in the project.

In October, the Spanish Government greeted Colombia to guarantee the “integral preservation of underwater heritage.” The acting foreign ministers, Josep Borrell, and Culture, José Guirao, traveled to Bogotá and announced a principle of agreement to explore mechanisms that allow the Spanish offer of scientific and cultural cooperation to materialize.

The vice president of Colombia, Marta Lucía Ramírez, said then that the galleon San José would be “heritage for the enjoyment of humanity, and will be preserved for scientific and historical purposes.”

“From now on, this condition has the firmness and institutional support of the nation, setting a milestone since for the first time in history a Spanish galleon from the time of the conquest of America will be preserved for scientific and historical purposes, not commercial,” he said. the ‘number two’ of the Government of Iván Duque.

In October, Spain and Colombia made clear their rejection of “the commercial exploitation that implies that heritage objects that have been submerged are subject to transactions, payment in kind or operations of purchase, sale, or barter for activities of extraction or conservation of said heritage submerged”.

The galleon San José was a Spanish-flagged warship, which sank in 1708 during a naval battle with 600 sailors on board.


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