CHINA Royal Navy chasing Pirates Pinghai Bay antique print 1855
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Home > Prints and Maps by Country > Asia > China | Cathay

CHINA: Royal Navy chasing Pirates, Pinghai Bay, antique print, 1855

Price: £11.99

CAPTION BELOW PICTURE: 'Pursuit of a Chinese Pirate by the boats of H.M.S. Racehorse, in Pinghai Bay'


19th Century Piracy
Piracy in South East Asia began with the retreating Mongol Yuan fleet after the betrayal by their Javanese allies (who, incidentally, would found the empire of Majapahit after the Mongols left). They preferred the junk, a ship using a more robust sail layout. Marooned navy officers, consisting mostly of Cantonese and Hokkien tribesmen, set up their small gangs near river estuaries, mainly to protect themselves. They recruited locals as common foot-soldiers known as 'lang' (lanun) to set up their fortresses. They survived by utilizing their well trained pugilists, as well as marine and navigation skills, mostly along Sumatran and Javanese estuaries. Their strength and ferocity coincided with the impending trade growth of the maritime silk and spice routes.
However, the most powerful pirate fleets of East Asia were those of Chinese pirates during the mid-Qing dynasty. Pirate fleets grew increasingly powerful throughout the early 19th century. The effects large-scale piracy had on the Chinese economy were immense. They preyed voraciously on China's junk trade, which flourished in Fujian and Guangdong and was a vital artery of Chinese commerce. Pirate fleets exercised hegemony over villages on the coast, collecting revenue by exacting tribute and running extortion rackets. In 1802, the menacing Zheng Yi inherited the fleet of his cousin, captain Zheng Qi, whose death provided Zheng Yi with considerably more influence in the world of piracy. Zheng Yi and his wife, Zheng Yi Sao (who would eventually inherit the leadership of his pirate confederacy) then formed a pirate coalition that, by 1804, consisted of over ten thousand men. Their military might alone was sufficient to combat the Qing navy. However, a combination of famine, Qing naval opposition, and internal rifts crippled piracy in China around the 1820s, and it has never again reached the same status.

(Source Wikipedia)

Notes on the historical context / background to the print can be viewed at: 19th Century Piracy

DATE PRINTED: 1855    

IMAGE SIZE: Approx 15.0 x 23.5cm, 5.75 x 9.25 inches (Medium)

TYPE: Antique wood engraved print

CONDITION: Good; suitable for framing. However, please note: Tight right margin; Tight bottom margin below caption; Tight top margin; The image shown may have been scanned from a different example of this print than that which is offered for sale: The print you will receive is in Good condition but there may be minor variations in the condition compared to that shown in the image. Please check the scan for any blemishes prior to making your purchase. Virtually all antiquarian maps and prints are subject to some normal aging due to use and time which is not obtrusive unless otherwise stated. We offer a no questions asked return policy.

AUTHENTICITY: This is an authentic historic print, published at the date stated above. It is not a modern copy.

VERSO: There are images and/or text printed on the reverse side of the picture. In some cases this may be visible on the picture itself (please check the scan prior to your purchase) or around the margin of the picture.

ARTIST/CARTOGRAPHER/ENGRAVER: Unsigned

PROVENANCE: Illustrated London News



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CHINA: Royal Navy chasing Pirates, Pinghai Bay, antique print, 1855
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