Madame Ching was perhaps the greatest pirate of all time.
Born in 1775 in Guangdong, Ching was born into a life of Cantonese prostitution. Eventually she ended up marrying a pirate. She thus went from being a prostitute to pirates onboard a floating brothel to becoming an actual pirate herself.
Her husband was killed and she took over the pirate fleet. At first they called her “Cheng’s Widow” or “Ching’s Widow” but she quickly carved a name for herself by being ruthless, calculating and unstoppable.
From her headquarters in the Port of Macao, she led 1800 ships with 20-guns per ship and over 80,000 pirates!
In 1805, she forged a truce between the seven pirate leaders of Kwangtung Province. Together, they forced Cantonese salt ships to buy protection-on-the-waters from them.
Her decrees were:
– Don’t follow orders? Start trying to give your own commands? You got beheaded on the spot.
– No stealing from the public fund or sympathetic villagers
– All goods must be presented to the group to be equally distributed by the fleet leader
– Deserters had their ears chopped off
In 1808, the Red Flag Fleet sank 63 Imperial Chinese Navy ships. However, in 1810, at the insistence of Madame Ching, 17,000 of her pirates including herself, surrendered. She retired to Fukien then moved to Canton, China and became an opium smuggler.
Ching was killed by a cannonball in 1844 off the coast of Vietnam.
[do_widget “OIO Ad Zone”]