Koxinga (Lord of the Imperial Surname) is the customary Western spelling of the popular appellation of Zheng Chenggong,was a Chinese military leader who was born in 1624 in Hirado, Japan to Chinese merchant/pirate Zheng Zhilong and his Japanese wife, and died in 1662 on the Island of Formosa (Taiwan).
A Ming loyalist and the chief commander of the Ming troops on the maritime front for the later emperors of the withering dynasty, Koxinga devoted the last 16 years of his life to resisting the conquest of China by the Manchus. Upon defeating the forces of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) on Formosa in his last campaign in 1661–1662, Koxinga took over the island in order to support his grand campaign against the Manchu-ruled Qing dynasty. After Koxinga's death, his son and successor, Zheng Jing, gradually became the ruler of an independent Kingdom of Tungning, the first Chinese state to rule the island.
There were two main branches in Koxinga's military, the Navy and the Army. The Navy had 9 fleets reportedly with "hundreds" of vessels. One fleet, was directly under the flag of Koxinga. Larger warships in the fleet were triple-deckers with fire power that could easily overwhelm the best of Dutch galeons and indeed had done so in the battle for the recovery of Taiwan.
And the Army was organized thus: (1) Guardsmen of several special forces directed by Koxinga himself and (2) General Troops under various commands. The latter consisted of 9 different infantry groups ranging from 5 specialty companies to 28 squadrons in each group. One of them, the Rear-Guard Battalion was built with Northerner Chinese. The special forces included (1) the Left and Right Martial Guards (or the Golden-armored battalions - infantry with traditional Ming armor); (2) the Left and Right Tiger guards (i.e., the Iron-man Corps); (3) the cavalry battalion; (4) the artillery battalion; and (5) the palace guards - including a Black matchlock rifle battalion; that Battallion had a particular banner.
In battle, a banner with the image of Virgin Mary on it was proudly and prominently displayed. This Black Battalion was headed by a very talented Luis de Matos. They were usually deployed on the second line in support of the first-line offense.
Blacks from South Africa (the Cafres) (and later also from South Pacific and East Asia) began to arrive in China at the end of the Ming Dynasty. Some were brought in by European traders as slaves/servants. Others had enlisted to serve in the military of the Portuguese and the Dutch for religious reasons, i.e., to spread Christianity in the East. And their bravery and fighting capabilities were quickly noticed by the Ming-Chinese.
In the early 1600s, most of the Blacks resided in Macau. They in fact were the main component of the Portuguese contingent who had fought off the Dutch in 1622. There was a report noting a female Black warrior, in man's garb, who had single-handedly killed 2 Dutchmen in this battle.
In 1647, about 200 of the Macau Blacks sought freedom as well as a better life. They left Macau and went over to Cheng Zhi-long in Hokkien who eventually employed 300 as his personal guards. Cheng had consistently honored their Christian belief possibly because he himself was once a Christian.
In 1662, Koxinga's forces raided several towns in the Philippines (1) . Koxinga's chief adviser was an Italian friar named Fra' Riccio, whom he sent to Manila to demand tribute from the Philippine government, threatening to attack the city if his demands were not met.
The Spanish refused to pay the tribute and reinforced the garrisons around Manila, but the planned attack never took place due to Koxnga's sudden death in that year after expelling the Dutch on Taiwan.
Koxinga's threat to invade the islands and expel the Spanish eventually caused the Spanish failure to conquer the Islamic o peoples in Mindanao. The threat of Chinese invasion forced the Spanish to withdraw their forces to Manila, leaving some troops in Jolo and by Lake Lanao to engage the Maranao and in protracted conflict, while Zamboanga was immediately evacuated upon Koxinga's threat.
The Hokkien pronunciation of Zheng's surname, 鄭 is Te... He is still worshipped as a god, Te Ah Kong (鄭阿公) or Great Lord Te or also Grand Ancestor Te, by many Philippine Chinese as the liberator of Luzon and is equated with the Traditional Chinese War God Guan Yu, whose name in Hokkien is Kuan Ti Kun (關帝君); and is often disguised as the Spanish Christian saint Santiago Matamoros...
(1) According to Jean Mallat's book "Les Philippines", Koxinga spent some time in Luzon during his childhood because of his father's involvement in the Nagasaki-Macau-Luzon trade...
PORTRAIT OF KOXINGA
THE KOXINGA BLACK FLAG
..When Koxinga lifted up his head, he saw an old man with a black flag in his hand coming towards him and said: "God sees that you can restore the Ming Dynasty and he instructed me to send you a black flag.... " ( from China Today Vol 2 , Taiwan, Institute of Chinese Culture, T'ai-pei, Institute for Advanced Chinese studies - 1959 )
BLACK MATCHLOOCK RIFLE BATTALION.
That Battallion had a particular banner; in battle, a banner with the image of Virgin Mary on it was proudly and prominently displayed. This Black Battalion was headed by a very talented Luis de Matos.