Ching Shih

Pirate Fleet Boss


Ching Shih successfully engaged in illicit activities throughout her life, and therefore little is known about her early life, including her birth name and precise date of birth. She was working as a prostitute on one of Canton’s floating brothels until she married Zheng Yi, the notorious Chinese pirate.

Zheng Yi belonged to a family of successful pirates who traced their criminal origins back to the mid-Sevenenth century. Following his marriage to Ching Shih, Zheng Yi used military assertion and his family’s reputation to gather a coalition of competing Cantonese pirate fleets into an alliance. Eventually this coalition was a formidable force, and one of the most powerful pirate fleets in all of China.

When Zheng Yi died, Ching Shih maneuvered her way into his leadership position. The fleet under her command established hegemony over many coastal villages, in some cases even imposing levies and taxes on settlements. Ching Shih robbed towns, markets, and villages, from Macau to Canton.

Her adopted son, Cheung Po Tsai, acts as her second in command and the master of the fleet.

Ching Shih

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