Two hundred years ago piracy was rampant in the Malay archipelago, particularly off the coast of Borneo, and no merchant ship of the colonial powers – from Manila to Malacca, from the Celebes to Singapore and Sumatra – was safe from sea-robbers, and no coastal village was immune from the attacks, which in their ferocity, made the buccaneers of the Spanish Main seem comparative gentlemen. The last pirate’s stronghold was not destroyed until 1879.
What was it, Owen Rutter asks in The Pirate Wind, that cause people to revert from peace to piracy? Looking at it through their eyes, one may see it as guerrilla warfare against those interlopers from the West who had destroyed the traditional trade of the area and had become high-handed and greedy.
This book provides a vivid account of piracy in Malayan seas in the 18th and 19th centuries and the blow-by-blow chronicle of private attacks and of victories and defeats in battle, mainly against British frigates, makes lively reading.
Oxford University Press