Shanghaiing, the forcing of a man to sail on a merchant ship against his will, plagued the seafaring world between 1849 and 1915. Those who perpetrated this were known as crimps, people who did not respect a man's education, social status, race, religion, or seafaring experience. Shanghaiing existed because of a confluence of events involving the opium trade, tea, gold, and the opening of the Suez Canal. A shortage of sailors and the unwillingness of seamen to set foot on certain types of ships raised the average sailor's wages, making them valuable to the crimps. Seamen suffered from great deprivations, including tyrannical officers who really could get away with murder, bad food, and dangerous conditions - all for a paltry sum usually squandered during shore leave. The world's navies had their own form of shanghaiing called impressment. Britain's Royal Navy pressed American merchant seamen en masse. Joshua Penny found himself fighting a war for it on the Cape of Good Hope. There he deserted, spending a year living with Dutch colonists and the native people. Pirates, too pressed men. Aaron Smith, an English navigator, suffered from this fate, he served with Cuban buccaneers for a year before escaping.
Researcher Mark Strecker has written a number of reviews for a role-playing game website as well as an article describing the historic King Arthur and his fifth century Great Britain. He lives in Monroeville Ohio.