In the Pirate's Lair: MY Andaman Explorer Uncovers the Roots of British Burma
by Blake Johnson Jul 07, 2017
Pandaw ships are always fascinated by Myanmar's rich history when ruled by the British colony. Over the past 21 years, our guided tours have explored this cross-cultural encounter and its diversity through interesting trips.
MY Andaman Explorer's first sea cruise in Myanmar was a 11-day adventure to Mergui Archipelago on 2 October in 2016. Since that time, we have turned to the first chapters of the historical story. The port of Mergui seemed to become the haunt of "Siamese White".
Who was Samuel White?
Samuel White had been forgotten for centuries. He was one of the cruelest people in the history of the East India Company. His story was like an action movie of a Hollywood star.
White started working as a Bristol seaman to find his fortune via East India Company system. Like many other people, he understood that circumventing the rules created vast fortunes. However, because of his violence, greed and threats White ended up as a kind of Jacobean Mr. Kurtz.
Maurice Collis wrote the book "Siamese White" so that everyone could know much about this character. Collis (1889-1973) was himself based in Mergui, and his own career in Myanmar was an interesting story. By the mid of 17th century, there was depth and sophistication in the East India Company's commercial. This was the era of James II, periwigs, tricorn hats. Collis's book of "a freeman of England making a fortune in the whirligig of eastern politics" is historically significant.
White was a master of the culture trade around Tenasserim, the west coast of the Kra Isthmus, and a daring adventurer. Through centuries, this strategic territory changed hands incessantly between Siam and Burma. It is now the first coastal expedition of MY Andaman Explorer in Myanmar.
Beginning with a small trade, White quickly achieved success. We don't have any image of White remained, but we think his outline is clear enough from Collis's book. He is known as a piratical opportunist. He worked to meet the Muslim traders and trade relations with the Siamese.
He built up a vast fortune through coastal raids, naked piracy and books, while constantly plotting his escape from Meigui back to Britain. He was never more than a few steps away from a sticky end at the hands of the British or the Siamese. As shown in detail in this book, the Siamese sticky end was to be avoided.
The climax of this took place in 1687 when the escape plans of the debauched caused chaos to a mass slaughter of the 60-strong foreign community in Mergui. There are many extraordinary aspects to White's career. Davenport, a White's friend, wrote down what White said
White: "If ever a King's Captain or Lieutenant of them all comes ashore and tells me that I must go to Madras and should pretend a power to force me thither, I'll be the man that will pistol him upon the place with my own hands, and wipe my Arse with his Kings Commission."
To know more about MY Andaman Explorer and other wonderful ships, book your own cruise with our Mergui Archipelago Cruises to have remarkable experiences that you have never seen before. Contact us today for the best price!