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Maritime History of China

Last updated by drwi at 2015/10/23

It was once generally held that the Chinese people, as with so many other "firsts" within the all-embracing field of human endeavor, "invented" the phenomenon of piracy. This would not be so surprising, and in fact paradoxically attests to the advanced state of Chinese culture at a time when most of the rest of us were still swinging from lianas while eating bananas, for the existence of Chinese piracy as far back as the 4th century BCE (this is the first mention of Chinese piracy, though historians conjecture that Chinese piracy likely started before recorded history, or as soon as barques large enough to transport goods were launched on China's major waterways) of the Zhou (BCE 1027-221) Dynasty suggests that Chinese culture was already so far advanced that theirs was a society of traders, even if the medium of exchange at that early stage may have been barter (though the Chinese would later also be the first to "invent" paper money, i.e., in effect, a reserve-backed I.O.U. as a universal currency). Read more about this historical tale!»