Ching Shih Ruled the South China Sea
Upon the remains of his tattered ship, a young Chinese sailor blinked in disbelief. Once a member of the decorated Chinese Navy, he now remained the defeated sole survivor of a dastardly battle with the Red Flag Fleet. But how could it be? The Red Flag were a group of pirates, led by the female madame Ching Shih!
Little did this young sailor know that Ching was a master of strategy and the art of war. But she wasn’t always an infamous outlaw– as a matter of fact, Ching once worked as a nameless face aboard a floating brothel that serviced other pirates traveling through the South China sea. It was here that Ching Shih learned the art of deception and negotiation, something that aided her later in her pirate career.
Ching was noticed one day by a famed Chinese pirate named Zheng Yi. Ching had garnished a reputation as a shrewd businesswoman, a desirable trait to a wealthy pirate like Zheng Yi. But Zheng found himself falling for more than just her financial savvy, for her charm and silver tongue entranced him into immediately offering her his hand in marriage! Ching gladly accepted, on one condition: that she would be granted co-captain of his massive fleet. Ching explained that due to her trade, she had learned secrets about her most wealthy and politically connected clients, giving Zheng significant leverage. He agreed without question. The two were destined to become pirate legends, ruling over the Red Flag Fleet with power and glory!
Or were they? For only six years into the marriage, Zheng passed under mysterious circumstances. His death was devastating to Ching, who had never dealt with such loss before. But despite her pain, Ching remained strong and stony-faced to the rest of the world. With her husband being gone, it meant that all of his assets were in limbo. But Ching was determined to never again be a nameless girl in a brothel. She gathered up all her might and declared herself the official captain of the Red Flag Fleet, now in control of thousands of vessels and the men that manned them. It was taboo for female pirates to be captains back in Ching’s time, but she was quick to garner the respect she needed — and became one of the most powerful pirate rulers of her time.
Ching demanded all the pirates underneath her command follow a strict code of conduct to keep them in line. Most pirates obeyed without question; the ones who disrespected their superiors ended up brutally beheaded! Ching also stated that taking women captive was strictly forbidden and would be met with death. Although she had a great deal of wealth and power, she could never forget the days working alongside her other girls. Under Ching’s rule, The Red Flag Fleet became undefeated. Not even the Chinese Navy could match her strength, with their own boats ripped to shreds. Her notoriety and capability as a ruler became legendary, even permeating popular culture today.
Logan Thompson is a writer based in Atlanta, GA. Her credits include numerous films and award-winning games. She loves the excitement of video games and being able to choose your own destiny! When she isn’t writing, you can find her curled up on the couch with her cat (and best friend) Juliet.
Launched on Kickstarter!
Pirate Party: Women of the High Seas
Ching Shih is one of six vibrant, diverse, historic women pirate captains with special powers in this new pirate card game for 2-4 players.
Race to collect sets of cards by suit that include a captain and crew or sets of 3-of-a-kind. Plunder, pillage and raid from other players to take the most pirate booty to win. There’s plenty of adventure, period ships, tresure and mermaid wild cards. Just beware the Kraken!
Did you enjoy this sea story about a legendary women pirate captain? Which pirate captains would you like to hear about? Let us know.
Pirate Party: Women of the High Seas has launched on Kickstarter! Get exclusive first access to the game, game news, sea stories and more. Subscribe today.
Just received my KS copy! I’d love to hear more about all of the other women pirates in the game… great write-up on Ching Shih.