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[[File:Maria Stuart Execution.jpg|thumbnail|left|
600px|Figure 1. Mary Queen of Scots execution reflected the final outcome of a major plot against Elizabeth I. This plot led to the creation of the first organized espionage network in England.]]
Spying has existed since early historical societies in the Middle East, China, and southeast Europe. However, spy services are generally a later development, where groups of government individuals and ultimately agencies within government became responsible for external and internal spying. England, one of the first countries to have a formal spy service, greatly professionalized spying and made it one of the birthplaces of what ultimately became modern espionage.