All Episodes

May 6, 2020 38 mins

Blackbeard and Jack Sparrow can’t hold a candle to Cheng I Sao. Ferocious and ambitious, the most successful pirate in the South China Sea innovated the piracy business model, and inspired fear around the world even as she established strict rules about the treatment of women on her ships. The Chinese government enlisted foreign powers to take Cheng I Sao, a former prostitute, down,, but she had other plans.

Afterwards, we'll be talking to Tracy Edwards, a sailor who fought her way into the man's world of racing to skipper the first all-female crew to race around the world.


Main Sources:

  1. Pirate Women: The Princesses, Prostitutes, and Privateers who Ruled the Seven Seas by Laura Sook Duncombe
  2. And the article, ‘One Woman's Rise to Power: Cheng I's Wife and the Pirates’ by Dian Murray, published by Berghahn Books in the academic journal ‘Historical Reflections’ in 1981

Learn more about your ad-choices at

See for privacy information.

Mark as Played

Advertise With Us

Popular Podcasts

Dateline NBC
Crime Junkie

Crime Junkie

If you can never get enough true crime... Congratulations, you’ve found your people.



In order to tell the story of a crime, you have to turn back time. Every season, Investigative journalist Delia D'Ambra digs deep into a mind-bending mystery with the hopes of reigniting interest in a decades old homicide case.

For You

    Music, radio and podcasts, all free. Listen online or download the iHeart App.


    © 2023 iHeartMedia, Inc.