Battle of Liaoluo Bay
|This article does not cite any references or sources. (February 2009)|
|Battle of Liaoluo Bay|
|Ming Dynasty China||Dutch East India Company
|Commanders and leaders|
|Zheng Zhilong||Hans Putmans
|50 warships, 100 small fire ships||20 Dutch warships, 50 allied pirate ships|
|Casualties and losses|
|3 damaged, 80 KIA, 150 WIA||4 Galleons sank, 1 Galleon lost power (damaged and unable to sail), 50 ships damaged, 150 drowned, 250 KIA, 800 WIA and prisoners of war|
The Battle of Liaoluo Bay (料羅灣海戰) took place in 1633 off the coasts of Fujian and Kinmen. It involved the Dutch East India Company and the Chinese Ming dynasty's navies. The battle was fought at the north coast of the island of Kinmen, in the Taiwan strait. A Dutch fleet under Admiral Hans Putmans was attempting to control shipping in the Taiwan strait, while the southern Fujian sea traffic and trade was protected by a fleet under Brigadier General Zheng Zhilong.
The Ming Dynasty's last Emperor, Chongzhen, had just declared war on Manchuria and needed a large sum of money to pay his army, while also dealing with an internal rebellion. Meanwhile, the Dutch East India Company—combined with pirates in the South China Sea and the East China Sea—were disrupting trade in the area; this reduced the Emperor's tax base.
The town of Quanzhou, along the Fujian coast, had earned much wealth from its role as the eastern end of the Silk Road, and therefore needed a great deal of protection from the Dutch East India Company by the Ming naval fleet. Zheng Zhilong was assigned to destroy all pirates along the Taiwan Strait, which provided Zheng with a monopoly in that area. To change this, the Dutch situated in Taiwan surprise attacked Zheng's base in Amoy on July 7, 1633, sinking Zheng's navy while they are docked.
Planning a counterattack, Zheng gathered the rest of his navy that was not destroyed in Amoy. He also recruited locals willing to join by rewarding each volunteer 2 silver. If the battle lasts longer than expected, the reward will be increased to five silver. Zheng put the locals on 100 small fire boats, manned by 16 people each. If a boat sets fire to one Dutch ship, they would be rewarded 200 silver. If they present a Dutch head, they would be rewarded 50 silver.
Order of Battle
The Dutch East India Company's galleons were commanded by Jach Brouckerhaven, Stootodijck, and Weiringen. The battle began with ineffectual skirmishes which lasted for months. The decisive encounter happened on October 22 in which Zheng's fleet met the remaining 9 Dutch ships and 50 ships from Chinese pirate allies. Zheng ordered his fleet to ignore the latter and focus on attacking the Dutch fleet. Ming fire ships set fire to the Jacht and Brouckerhaven. Slooterdijck was hooked on by 4 Chinese warships. After repulsing two boarding attempts, the Dutch ship was defeated and captured. Weiringen was sunk by English cannon from Ming warships. Hans Putman fled with his remaining ships. His pirate allies were then defeated in turn.
The Ming navy won the battle. The Chongzhen Emperor was so happy at this victory that he immediately promoted Zheng Zilong to Brigadier General. In 1640, Zheng Zhilong helped increase the Chongzen tax revenue, and the Emperor promoted him to Navy Marshal, Admiral of the Fleet and Governor of Fujian province.
Hans Putman resigned after the defeat. Liu Xiang asked the Dutch for safe harbor in Taiwan. Fearing Ming retaliation, the Dutch refused. In response, Liu blockaded the Dutch fort of Zeelandia in 1634. The blockade was lifted the next year when Liu committed suicide after being defeated in another naval battle against Zheng Zhilong off the coast of Guangdong.