Ching Shih – From Prostitute to Pirate

Vagabond Traders

Part 1

Female pirates were raiding and pillaging in huge numbers on the seven seas predominantly from the thirteen hundreds with memorable women such as Anne Bonny, Jeanne de Clisson and Jacquotte Delahaye leading the way but there was one woman who reigned above them all

Madame Shih, as she was originally known*, was born in 1775 ** and earned her living on floating brothels called Flower Boats in Canton, (Guangzhou) China

Huafang-boats----Guangzhou,_Pearl_River_by_Lai_Afong,_c1880

The Chinese officials tolerated this form of prostitution on the Huafang boats as long as it stayed on the Pearl River and off land and that they paid their prostitution taxes. This suited everybody as the river was 2,400 kilometers long and everybody could make money; from the water people known as the Tanka who earned their living fishing, to the Dan boat owners with their prostitutes all the way down to sailors and pirates making a call…

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