Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2008

Mistress Ching Retires Rich: 1810

With the death of her pirate husband Zheng Yi in 1807, the former prostitute Ching Shih took command of several hundred ships, extorting money throughout the South China Sea. Her Red Flag Fleet was feared from the Chinese coast to Malaysia. Her greatest accomplishment, however, was knowing when to give up. Unable to defeat her, the Chinese government offered her amnesty. She took it and retired with her immense loot as a respectable millionairess. She also took good care of her crew: all of Ching's pirates were pardoned. A character in the Pirates of the Carribbean films may be inspired by her.