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Ching Shih
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Pirate
    (1775-1844)
    Born in China
    Name means ‘widow of Shih’
    Also known as Zheng Yi Sao, meaning ‘wife of Zheng Yi’
    Originally a prostitute
    Married pirate captain Zheng Yi and joined pirates (1801)
    Led an alliance of pirates known as the ‘Red Flag Fleet’ upon her husband’s death (1807)
    Commanded 1,800 ships and more than 80,000 pirates
    Ruled over coastal villages from Macau to Guangzhou and the China Seas
    Given amnesty from the Chinese government and allowed to keep her plunder (1810)
    Ran a casino/brothel of sorts afterwards
    Her early life and real name are a mystery.
    Some of the pirates who worked for her were children.
    The rules she imposed on her men were extremely strict, with many crimes punishable by decapitation, and rape against female prisoners by castration.
    At one point, she forced all of her captives to eat their own ears.
    She taxed and levied the village people under her rule.
    She crushed any opposition to her rule mercilessly, destroying two towns and killing all the men when they rebelled against her.
    After retiring from piracy, she married her adoptive son Cheung Po Tsai.
    She commanded the largest navy in the world at her time.
    Her fleet managed to defeat world powers like the British, Portuguese, and Qing Dynasty.
    She was one of the few pirates who retired from piracy and died a ripe old age.
    She was a character in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.

Credit: Big Lenny


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