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Middle Age Piracy

Author: Krzysztof Wilczynski

The most notorious of the Medieval prates were Vikings . Vikings was the name of the Nordic people—Danes, Swedes, Norwegians—who explored abroad during a period of dynamic Scandinavian expansion from about AD 800 to 1100.

The first recorded Viking raid was a seaborne assault in 793 by Vikings on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, off the northeast coast of England. Growing evidence indicates that considerable overseas Viking migration occurred long before then. Vikings went deep into the Russian hinterland, founding city-states and opening the way to Constantinople (Istanbul). Vikings also fought the Carolingian Empire until in 911 they accepted by treaty the area of Normandy in northern France and settled there.

In the 11th century Vikings briefly established a Scandinavian empire of the North Sea, composed of England, Denmark, and Norway. On the other hand piracy was also the problem in the Far East.

With the decline of central authority in China toward the end of the 13th century, piracy began to increase along the China coast. Using ships large enough to carry 300 men, the pirates would land and sometimes plunder whole villages. For instance during the 1550s corsair fleets looted the Shanghai-Ning-po region almost annually, sometimes sending raiding parties far inland to terrorize cities and villages throughout the whole Yangtze Delta. Although coastal raiding was not totally suppressed, it was brought under control in the 1560s As we already said in the Far East operated wako pirates, in Japan's civil wars during the early part of this period. any of the groups of marauders who raided the Korean and Chinese coasts between the 13th and 16th centuries. When denied trading privileges, the Japanese were quick to resort to violence to ensure their profits. By the 14th century, piracy had reached serious proportions in Korean waters. It gradually declined after 1443, when the Koreans made a treaty with various Japanese feudal leaders, permitting the entry of 50 Japanese trade ships a year, a number that was gradually increased.

Originally mainly Japanese, in later times the pirates were of mixed origin; by the early 16th century, the majority of them were probably Chinese. Basing themselves on islands off the Chinese coast, the pirates eventually made their main headquarters on the island of Taiwan, where they remained for over a century.


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