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Piracy in the South China Sea

By C.R. Boxer.

 

War, trade and piracy,
Three in one, indivisble

Goethe's characterisation of England in Faust was fair enough; but it also applies to pirates and traders in many other times, climes and piaces and not least in the South China Sea. Disregarding references to piracy in this region during earlier times, when Persian and Arabian seafarers complained of it, we can begin our survey with the mid-sixteenth century. This was the period when the Portuguese mariners and merchants (Fo-lang-ji , 'Franks'), were probing these waters from tbe south, and when the Japanese pirates or 'dwarf-robbers' (Wo-kou , Wako) were rampaging along the coast of China from the north.

 

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