Shanghaied, Blackbird


shanghai  (ˈʃæŋhaɪ, ʃæŋˈhaɪ)
vb  , -hais , -haiing , -haied
1. to kidnap (a man or seaman) for enforced service at sea, esp on a merchant ship
2. to force or trick (someone) into doing something, going somewhere, etc
[C19: from the city of Shanghai ; from the forceful methods formerly used to collect crews for voyages to the Orient]



1854, Amer.Eng., “to drug a man unconscious and ship him as a sailor,” from the practice of kidnapping to fill the crews of ships making extended voyages, such as to the Chinese seaport of Shanghai; lit. “by the sea,” from Shang “on, above” + hai “sea.”

Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper, Historian. 23 Mar. 2012. <>


Historians have stated that although the tunnels exist (underneath Old Town/Chinatown) and the practice of “Shanghaiing” was sometimes practiced in Portland and elsewhere, there is no evidence that the tunnels were used for this (and no evidence for Portland being a center for this kind of practice) –


Blackbirding is a term that refers to recruitment of people through trickery and kidnappings to work as labourers. From the 1860s blackbirding ships were engaged in seeking workers to mine the guano deposits on the Chincha Islands in Peru.[2] In the 1870s the blackbirding trade focused on supplying labourers to plantations, particularly the sugar cane plantations of Queensland (Australia) and Fiji.[3][4] The practice occurred between the 1842 and 1904. Those ‘blackbirded’ were recruited from the indigenous populations of nearby Pacific islands or northern Queensland. In the early days of the pearling industry in Broome, local Aboriginal people were blackbirded from the surrounding areas, including aboriginal people from desert areas.

Blackbirding has continued to the present day in the Third World. One example is the kidnapping and coercion at gunpoint of indigenous people in Central America to work as plantation labourers, where they are exposed to heavy pesticide loads and do back-breaking work for very little pay –

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