For International Women’s Day I present my favorite historical woman: Ching Shih (or Zheng Shi) was a Chinese prostitute who became a powerful female pirate, controlling the infamous Red Flag Fleet. The fleet grew under her command, with expanding reserves of loot, and an organized system of business.
She was born in China 1775, She became a prostitute who worked in a floating brothel. 1801, Pirate Zhèng Yi, who commanded a fleet called “Red Flag Fleet,” noticed Ching Shih’s beauty, and wished to be with her. She accepted the proposal so long as she had some power within his organization, and would receive an equal share of his plunder. Ching Shih and Zhèng Yi began to run the Red Flag Fleet together. The Red Flag Fleet quickly grew from 200 ships to more than 600 ships, and eventually to 1700-1800 ships. With approximately 50,000 – 70,000 pirates. After ZhèngYi death after 6 years of marriage Ching Shih took full control of the fleet. Ching Shih’s fleet took leadership over many coastal villages. Chinese, Portugese, and British naval ships were all lost to Ching Shih’s fleet. Ching Shih was called "The Terror of South China."