HISTORY: Historical excursus on the aquarium hobby, Part 6 – Europe, 17-18th centuries

By Natasha Khardina

There are speculations that the first live goldfish probably arrived in England already during the reign of James I (1566 to 1625), although, according to Thomas Penant’s report published in British Zoology in 1776, the first recorded importation was documented in 1691.

Around 1650 the goldfish made its way along the great silk road and turned up in Russia, a gift from Chinese merchants to Tsar Alexei Michailovich Romanov, father to Peter the Great, as the gift for his “Apothecary garden”. It is authentically documented as reaching Portugal in 1611: goldfish “…were probably introduced into Portugal at an early period, after the people of that country had discovered the route to the East Indies by the Cape of Good Hope, as they appear to be now completely naturalised there, and abound in many of their streams”.

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