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Pirates, Ports, and Coasts in Asia

Historical and Contemporary Perspectives

John Kleinen and Manon Osseweijer

Publication Year: 2010

Pirates, Ports and Coasts in Asia aims to fill in some of the historical gaps in the coverage of maritime piracy and armed robbery in Asia. The authors highlight a variety of activities ranging from raiding, destroying and pillaging coastal villages and capturing inhabitants to attacking and taking over vessels, robbing and then trading the cargo and its people. Generally speaking, what connects these activities is the fact that they are carried out at sea, often in the coastal inshore waters, by vessels attacking other vessels or raiding coastal settlements. Acts of maritime piracy cannot be regarded as being located outside the relevant framework of the coastal zone. Coastal zones have therefore become highly desirable places, a circumstance which has transformed them into places subject to great social and ecological pressures. Piracy being the most dramatic of marginal(ized) maritime livelihood, this book brings the relationship between pirates, ports, and coastal hinterlands into focus.

Published by: ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. iii-iv

Table of Contents

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pp. v-vi

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p. vii-vii

The chapters in this volume were presented in 2005 at an international conference hosted and organised by the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences. We are grateful to the staff and Director of SASS, Professor Li Yihai for the hospitality and professional organisation of the conference. ...

About the Contributors

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pp. ix-xii

PART 1: Introduction

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1. Pirates, Ports, and Coasts in Asia

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pp. 3-14

War, trade, and piracy. Three in one, indivisible: Goethe’s Faust’s well known complaint about the English of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries indicates the contemporaneous, ambiguous use of the term “piracy” which parallels the way the term “terrorist” is employed ...

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2. Piracy in Asian Waters: Problems of Definition

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pp. 15-28

Much contemporary discussion of piracy focuses on the threat today. However, an historical perspective may show that nothing is really new, and that modern concerns can be found far back in history. Perspectives from the past may even illuminate modern problems, dangers, and even ...

PART 2: East Asia

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3. Giang Binh: Pirate Haven and Black Market on the Sino-Vietnamese Frontier, 1780–1802

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pp. 31-50

In a routine memorial the governor of Guangdong province, Debao, reported to the Qianlong Emperor a case of piracy along the Sino-Vietnamese border that occurred in 1782. The victim was a merchant named Tong Shengru who had gone to the black market town of Giang Binh to trade, perhaps ...

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4. Tonkin Rear for China Front: The Dutch East India Company’s Strategy for the North-Eastern Vietnamese Ports in the 1660s

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pp. 51-75

In fine, it is pity so many conveniences and opportunities to make the kingdom [of Tonkin] rich and its trade flourishing should be neglected; for if we consider how this kingdom borders on two of the richest provinces in China, it will appear that, with [final] difficulty, most commodities of that ...

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5. South Fujian the Disputed Coast, Power and Counter-power

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pp. 76-98

The south of Fujian in the eighteenth century provides an interesting field of study to analyse the context in which local authorities operated to ensure coastal security and to study the responsibilities and prerogatives of the various parties involved in the control of maritime activities, that is, local ...

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6. Maritime Piracy through a Barbarian Lens: Punishment and Representation (the S.S. Namoa Hijack Case [1890–91])

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pp. 99-127

A ghastly photograph haunts the scientific literature about China and Vietnam in the pre-modern period: the execution of Asians somewhere on a beach in the Far East. Triumphant Westerners, this is the impression given, pose relaxed behind a number of decapitated corpses with their severed heads ...

PART 3: Southeast Asia

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7. Violence and Armed Robbery in Indonesian Seas

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pp. 131-146

Theories about piracy can be divided into two main categories, economic and political. H.A. Ormerod, an authority on the history of ancient piracy, sees it as an extended form of the economy of hunters and gatherers. Even after the emergence of agriculture in prehistoric times the life of the hunter ...

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8. Robbers and Traders: Papuan Piracy in the Seventeenth Century by Gerrit Knaap

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pp. 147-177

Historically speaking, piracy is a familiar phenomenon in Southeast Asia. The studies of Jim Warren and Adri Lapian testify to this assertion.1 The island worlds between Sulawesi and New Guinea are no exception to this rule. The “classical” period of piracy here was, as elsewhere in Southeast Asia, ...

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9. The Port of Jolo: International Trade and Slave Raiding

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pp. 178-199

The impact of the West’s commercial intrusion in China at the end of the eighteenth century had significant bearing on the growth of the slave trade in Southeast Asia. It led to the establishment of permanent slave traffic around organized markets and ports in the Sulu Zone. Jolo island with its ...

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10. Pirates in the Periphery: Eastern Sulawesi 1820–1905

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pp. 200-221

In the first decade of the twentieth century, the colonial crusade against piracy in the Indonesian archipelago ended. Throughout most of the nineteenth century it had been a central concern in the erratic process of colonial maritime expansion that took place in the eastern archipelago. The takeover ...

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11. Suppressing Piracy in Asia: Decolonization and International Relations in a Maritime Border Region (the Sulu Sea), 1959–63

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pp. 222-236

In the 1990s and early 2000s Southeast Asia was frequently referred to as one of the most piracy-prone regions in the world. However, in spite of the great attention given to piracy in the Malacca Strait, the most pirate infested part of the region were and are the waters of the southern Philippines and ...

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12. Contemporary Maritime Piracy in the Waters off Semporna, Sabah

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pp. 237-268

The town of Semporna, located on the southeastern coast of Sabah, Malaysia, has long been associated with smuggling and piratical activities. Semporna is situated near the border with Kalimantan, Indonesia, and is only a short distance across the Sulu Sea from the southern Philippines. The waters off ...

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13. Piracy in Contemporary Sulu:An Ethnographical Case Study

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pp. 269-287

The Sulu Archipelago is placed in the southernmost part of the Philippines. It is a typical border zone, with both geographical proximity and the cultural affinity to nearby Malaysia and Indonesia. Geographically, the Sulu Archipelago is positioned at the crossroads of three large ...


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pp. 289-299

E-ISBN-13: 9789814279116
Print-ISBN-13: 9789814279079

Page Count: 299
Publication Year: 2010

Edition: 1