Subject: 海寇 hǎikòu 'sea rebel'
Culture: Cantonese, Fujianese Chinese
Setting: piracy, south China coast 17thc
Context (Event Photos, Primary Sources,Secondary Sources, Field Notes)
* Antony 2003 p28
"After a respite of about fifty years, a new wave of large-scale piracy surged forth during the Ming-Qing transition between 1620 and 1684, with piracy in Guangdong and Fujian reaching a peak in the 1640s-1660s. This pirate upsurge, whose practitioners, were often characterized in official accounts as 'sea rebels' (haikou), was symptomatic of the general crisis in China that accompanied the change of dynasties. Given the economic and political anarchy of this period, a clear distinction between piracy, rebellion, and trade was impossible. The Zheng family, seeing opportunity in instability, created a maritime empire in Fujian and Taiwan that was based on a combination of trade, piracy, and political manipulation. Other pirates, such as Liu Ziang, Su Cheng, and Huang Hairu, emulated the Zheng organization but on smaller scales. After the Ming collapse in 1644, there was a rise in all forms of piracy, but especially small-scale localized piracy. European traders, with the continued support of their governments, also took advantage of the turmoil in China to pillage coastal town sand merchant junks."