Students Explore the World of the Forgotten Pirates of East Asia

Lost Colony: The Untold Story of China's First Great Victory over the West. Students in HIST 111: East Asia: Cultures and Civilizations recently learned about the ways in which the countries of East Asia were deeply embedded in global trade connections in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. European trading companies flooded the region to trade silver at favorable rates and to obtain Asian goods like silk, porcelain, and spices. The trading boom led to another phenomenon more associated with the Caribbean than in the South China Sea—pirate organizations with the manpower, guns, and leadership to function like floating kingdoms themselves.

The students read Emory University professor Tonio Andrade's book, Lost Colony: The Untold Story of China's First Great Victory over the West, which narrates a key face-off between the Zheng pirate organization and the Dutch East India Company for control of Taiwan in 1661. To respond to the book, students created podcasts on subjects from military technology to cross-cultural and family relationships, and employing creative styles from skits to news updates facilitated by time travel.

Please click the links below to listen to two of the projects. The first, by Stephen Walker, '18 and Olivia Stroupe, '19, provides an engaging dialogue-style review of overarching themes in the book from loyalty to military technology. The second, by Chase Mead, '19 and Ashley Buchanan, '19, offers a creative look at the life and fame (infamy?) of the pirate leader Koxinga.