The Wager's Action - The "Holy Grail" of Shipwrecks

  

Wager's Action

 
DURING THE BATTLE, THE POWDER MAGAZINES OF SAN JOSÉ DETONATED, DESTROYING THE SHIP WITH MOST OF HER CREW





The Pirate Tale’


At the bottom of the Caribbean Sea……

 A 310-year-old Spanish shipwreck carrying treasure that might be worth up to $17 billion was discovered.

  San José

The wreck has been shrouded in secrecy because of lingering questions about who owns it.

THE EXACT LOCATION OF THE WRECKAGE IS STILL A SECRET, BUT IT WAS DISCOVERED IN NOVEMBER 2015 OFF THE COAST OF CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA. ITS CARGO OF GOLD, SILVER, AND EMERALDS COULD BE WORTH AS MUCH AS $17 BILLION…

Wager’s Action

.SAN JOSÉ AND SAN JOAQUÍN WERE PART OF THE SPANISH TREASURE FLEET DURING THE WAR OF THE SPANISH SUCCESSION, UNDER GENERAL JOSÉ FERNÁNDEZ DE SANTILLÁN, THE COUNT OF CASA ALEGRE. ON ITS FINAL VOYAGE, SAN JOSÉ SAILED AS THE FLAGSHIP OF A TREASURE FLEET COMPOSED OF THREE SPANISH WARSHIPS AND 14 MERCHANT VESSELS SAILING FROM PORTOBELO, PANAMA TO CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA. ON 8 JUNE 1708, THE FLEET ENCOUNTERED A BRITISH SQUADRON NEAR BARÚ, LEADING TO A BATTLE KNOWN AS WAGER’S ACTION. DURING THE BATTLE, THE POWDER MAGAZINES OF SAN JOSÉ DETONATED, DESTROYING THE SHIP WITH MOST OF HER CREW AND THE GOLD, SILVER, EMERALDS AND JEWELLERY COLLECTED IN THE SOUTH AMERICAN COLONIES TO FINANCE THE SPANISH KING’S WAR EFFORT.[1][2]OF THE 600 PEOPLE ABOARD, ONLY ELEVEN SURVIVED.


The Battle


THE SPANISH FLEET REACHED ISLA DE BARÚ ON THE EVENING OF 7 JUNE AND ANCHORED THERE. THE NEXT DAY THERE WAS VERY LITTLE WIND, AND AROUND 3 P.M. THEY NOTICED WAGER’S SQUADRON APPROACHING. THE SPANISH TOOK UP DEFENSIVE POSITIONS, BUT THE ENGLISH KNEW THEY HAD TO ATTACK THE LARGEST SHIPS, BECAUSE THEY HAD THE MOST MONEY ON BOARD.

THE KINGSTON ATTACKED THE SAN JOAQUÍN AROUND 5 P.M. WHICH, AFTER TWO HOURS OF BATTLE, ESCAPED INTO THE NIGHT WITH THE HELP OF THE CONCEPCIÓN.

THE EXPEDITION ATTACKED THE SAN JOSÉ AND APPROACHED THE VESSEL WITH THE CLEAR INTENTION OF BOARDING THE SHIP. AROUND 7 P.M., AFTER AN HOUR AND A HALF OF FIERCE FIGHTING AND WITH ONLY 60 METERS BETWEEN THE TWO SHIPS, THE SAN JOSÉ SUDDENLY BLEW UP. THE SHIP SANK IMMEDIATELY, TAKING ITS PRECIOUS CARGO AND ALMOST THE ENTIRE CREW TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA. THERE WERE ONLY 11 SURVIVORS OUT OF THE 600 CREW AND PASSENGERS ON BOARD.

BY NOW IT WAS DARK, BUT THERE WAS A FULL MOON AND WAGER SUCCEEDED IN FINDING THE SANTA CRUZ AT 2 A.M. AFTER A BRIEF FIGHT, WHICH LEFT 14 ENGLISH AND 90 SPANISH DEAD, THE SANTA CRUZ WAS TAKEN; HOWEVER, SHE HAD NO GOVERNMENT TREASURE IN HER – ONLY 13 CHESTS OF PIECES OF EIGHT AND 14 PIGS OF SILVER WHICH SEEM TO HAVE BEEN PRIVATE PROPERTY.

AT DAWN, THE ENGLISH DISCOVERED THE SAN JOAQUÍN, AND WAGER ORDERED THE KINGSTONAND PORTLAND TO CAPTURE THE SHIP. AFTER A FEW SALVOS, HOWEVER, THE SAN JOAQUÍNSUCCESSFULLY MADE AWAY TOWARDS CARTAGENA HARBOUR, AND THE ENGLISH DARED NOT FOLLOW AND FACE THE GUNS OF THE CARTAGENA FORTS.

THE REST OF THE SPANISH FLEET ALSO REACHED CARTAGENA SAFELY, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE CONCEPCIÓN WHICH, CORNERED BY THE ENGLISH, BEACHED ITSELF ON BARU ISLAND WHERE THE CREW SET THE SHIP ALIGHT.

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Wager's Action