The English navy was known throughout history as one of the largest and most powerful fleets to ever sail the seas of the Earth.

While some historians would attribute its size and strength to the leadership of English monarchs, such as the Tudor Henry VIII, recent evidence taken from the wreckage of a 16th century warship suggest that the growth of the English navy could also be owed to the development of early fish trade overseas.

In an analysis of cod bones retrieved from the wreck of the Tudor ship Mary Rose, scientists from the University of Cambridge, University of York and the University of Hull discovered that the fish supplies stored in the vessel had been caught in unexpectedly distant waters such as the fishing grounds of Iceland and the North Sea. This is in spite of the fact that England already had highly developed local fisheries during the 16th century.

The results from one of the bone samples also suggest that some of the cod stored in the Mary Rose were caught in waters as far away as Canada's Newfoundland.

According to the researchers, the findings point to the importance naval provisioning in helping expand the early fish trade in other areas of the world. This expansion, in turn, allowed the English to grow.

The team said that the commercial exploitation of fish supplies and the development of naval power helped reinforced the concept of globalization among the people of Renaissance Europe.

Dr. James Barrett, a researcher at Cambridge's McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, explained that the results of the analysis show that the demand of preserved fish during the time of the Mary Rose exceeded the supply that local fisheries in England and Ireland could provide.

He said that based on the examination of the cod bones, it can be said that one of the sources of the growing demand was the English Navy.

Barrett added that the development of the navy was made possible through the growth of international fisheries. Naval forces served as an important mechanism for maritime expansion, while being sustained by this very same expansion at the same time.

The Cambridge researcher said that the early cod trade can be viewed as a microcosm of the globalization that occurred during the time, which coincided with the development of the English navy into the Royal Navy.

The findings of the Cambridge, York and Hull study are featured in the journal Royal Society Open Science.

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