The Life of Chinese Pirate Zheng Jing

The Legend of the Barbarossa Brother Pirates

There have been many different pirates from all across the world over the years. During the 17th century, Chinese warlord Zheng Jing, also known as the Prince of Yanping, was a noteworthy pirate. He also went by the names of Xianzhi, Yuanzhi, and Shitian. Zheng Jing was a Ming dynasty loyalist and ruler of the Kingdom of Tungning in Taiwan. Keep reading below to learn more about Chinese pirate Zheng Jing.

Origins of Pirate Zheng Jing

Born in Nan’an, Quanzhou on October 25th, 1642, Zheng Jing was the eldest son of Koxinga and a grandson to pirate-merchant Zheng Zhilong.  His father oversaw the conquest of Fort Zeelandia in 1662. As a result, Zheng Jing controlled the military forces in Xiamen and Quemoy on his father’s behalf. When his father passed away six months later, Zheng Jing contested the throne as the King of Tungning from his uncle, Zheng Shixi. Later, he successfully landed an army in Taiwan despite opposition by his uncle’s forces. As a result, his uncle Zheng Shixi withdrew his claim to the throne and the dispute was resolved in Zheng Jing’s favor.

Important Encounters

Pirate Zheng Jing intended to invade the Philippines to keep in line with his father’s wishes.  However, a Manchu-Dutch alliance put a wrench in his plans. In 1664, Zheng Jing was defeated by the combined Qing-Dutch fleet that was led by Han Banner General Ma Degong. However, Ma Degong was killed during the battle by Zheng Ling’s crew. In 1665, the Dutch looted and killed monks during an attack on a Buddhist complex in Putuoshan on the Zhoushan Islands. Later, Zheng Jing’s navy ambushed and sunk the Dutch fluyt ship Cuylenburg in 1672 in northeastern Taiwan. There, they drowned 8 Dutch sailors and executed 34 men. Only 21 Dutch sailors of their crew were able to escape after the battle and fled to Japan  

Adventures in Taiwan

Over 19 years, Zheng Jing did his best to help local inhabitants by reorganizing their military forces in Taiwan. Also, he exchanged ambassadors with the Kangxi Emperor from the mainland. While he continued to fight for his father’s causes, he was forced to give up his goals of restoring the Ming dynasty when he invaded Fujian in 1676. In Siming, he occupied key cities in the province for a year before losing them back to the Manchus in the later part of 1677. He tried to invade Fujian one more time with a force of 30,000 men and they captured Haicheng and his provincial commander prisoner, too.

The Demise of Zheng Jing

The demise of Zheng Jing occurred in1680 when he lost a major naval battle to Chinese Qing admiral Shi Lang. Therefore, he had to leave the mainland and retreated to modern-day Tainan. Later on March 17th, 1681 became sick and died of dissipation. Zheng Jing was succeeded by his oldest son, Zheng Kezang. However, his son Zheng Kezang was quickly overtaken by Zheng Keshuang and so ends the story of Chinese Pirate Zheng Jing’s glory.

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