With the death of her pirate husband in 1807, the former prostitute Ching Shih took command of several hundred ships, extorting money throughout the South China Sea. Her Red Flag Fleet was feared from the Chinese coast to Malaysia. Unable to defeat her, the Chinese government offered her amnesty. She took it & retired w/her immense loot as a respectable millionairess. She also took good care of her crew: most of Ching's pirates were pardoned.
Ching Shih (1775–1844) also known as Cheng I Sao terrorized the China Sea in the early 19th century. A brilliant Cantonese pirate, she commanded 1800 ships and more than 80,000 pirates — men, women, and even children. She challenged the world superpower empires at the time such as the British, Portuguese and the Qing dynasty. Undefeated, she would become one of China and Asia's strongest pirates, and one of world history's most powerful pirates.