EPISODE 24 The Pirate Queen

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“I never planted wheat and never will, so long as there are other harvests to be reaped with the sword.” —Robert E. Howard (from ‘Beyond the Black River’) 

“In the rough and violent world of seafaring, mariners could not afford to always abide by the niceties of the law or proper etiquette.” —Robert J Anthony

“There is no greater calamity than not knowing what is enough”. —Tao Te Ching

At the very beginning of the 1800s, a Chinese woman went from being employed as a prostitute in the floating brothels close to Canton to becoming the leader of the biggest pirate confederacy in modern history. Despite ending up as one of the most successful pirates ever, little is known about her. Today, we dive into the mystery and explore her story. 

In this episode:

  • The three waves of piracy 
  • Piracy as a family business 
  • The boat people 
  • “People are not born sea bandits, but drift into brigandage because they can no longer support themselves.” Wang Zhiyin governor of Fujian
  • The Tay-Son rebellion 
  • Death by a thousand cuts
  • The seven pirate bosses and the creation of the biggest pirate confederacy in modern history
  • When pirates invite you to join their crew, saying ‘no’ is not an option
  • A pirate’s life for me: opium, prostitutes, gambling, fights
  • The rise of Cheng I Sao, and her saving the Confederacy 
  • Chang Pao 
  • Cheng I Sao’s law: “Off with his head!” 
  • Former prostitute, full time pirate leader and part time shaman
  • Straight out of Game of Thrones: fireboats 
  • Cheng I Sao and the Taoist talent of knowing when to stop

PATREON NEWS: I have just started a Patreon account!!!! If you feel in a generous mood, please, check it out at www.patreon.com/historyonfire 

This episode is sponsored by www.blueapron.com/onfire For less than $ 10 per meal, Blue Apron delivers straight to your door seasonal recipes along with pre-portioned ingredients to make delicious, home-cooked meals. Get your first three meals free—with free shipping—by going to www.blueapron.com/onfire 

This episode is also brought to you by Erik Magraken, a personal injury lawyer and combat sports regulatory lawyer. Please check out his websites at https://combatsportslaw.com/ and http://bc-injury-law.com/ 

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My lady (and author of History on Fire logo, plus producer and editor of History on Fire) has a FB public page about her art & fighting: https://www.facebook.com/NahryEm/. Thank you to Onnit, Datsusara, Float Clinic, Shaman’s Simple Solutions, War Fuel, Proven Nutrition, and Fight Chix for sponsoring her for her first MMA fight. If you’d like to check out Fight Chix merchandise, you can get a 20% discount by going to http://www.fightchix.com/ and entering the code Fire20 upon checkout.

This is my public FB page: https://www.facebook.com/danielebolelli1/ 

Here is a link to the audiobook of my “Not Afraid”: http://www.danielebolelli.com/downloads/not-afraid-audiobook/ 

For those of you who may be interested, here is a lecture series I created about Taoist philosophy: http://www.danielebolelli.com/downloads/taoist-lectures/