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10 Women Who Ruled

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  • Boudicca was queen of the Iceni people of Eastern England and led a major uprising against occupying Roman forces. Boudicca was married to Prasutagus, ruler of the Iceni people of East Anglia. When the Romans conquered southern England in AD 43, they allowed Prasutagus to continue to rule. However, when Prasutagus died the Romans decided to rule the Iceni directly and confiscated the property of the leading tribesmen. They are also said to have stripped and flogged Boudicca and raped her daughters. These actions exacerbated widespread resentment at Roman rule. In 60 or 61 AD, while the Roman governor Gaius Suetonius Paullinus was leading a campaign in North Wales, the Iceni rebelled. Members of other tribes joined them. Boudicca’s warriors successfully defeated the Roman Ninth Legion and destroyed the capital of Roman Britain, then at Colchester. They went on to destroy London and Verulamium (St Albans). Thousands were killed. Finally, Boudicca was defeated by a Roman army led by Paulinus. Many Britons were killed and Boudicca is thought to have poisoned herself to avoid capture. The site of the battle, and of Boudicca’s death, are unknown.

 

  • Hatshepsut (1479-1458 BCE) was the first female ruler of ancient Egypt to reign as a male with the full authority of pharaoh. Her name means “Foremost of Noble Women” or “She is First Among Noble Women”.  She began her reign as regent to her stepson Thuthmose III (1458-1425 BCE) who would succeed her and, initially, ruled as a woman as depicted in statuary. In around the seventh year of her reign, however, she chose to be depicted as a male pharaoh in statuary and reliefs though still referring to herself as female in her inscriptions. She was the fifth pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty during the period known as the New Kingdom (1570-1069 BCE) and regarded as one of the best.

 

  • The Queen of Sheba is the monarch mentioned in the Bible and then in later works who travels to Jerusalem to experience the wisdom of King Solomon (c. 965-931 BCE) of Israel first-hand. The queen is first mentioned in I Kings 10:1-13 and in II Chronicles 9:1-12 in the Bible, then in the later Aramaic Targum Sheni, then the Quran, and finally the Ethiopian work known as the Kebra Negast; later writings featuring the queen, all religious in nature, come basically from the story as first told in the Bible. There is no archaeological evidence, inscription, or statuary supporting her existence outside of these texts.

 

  • Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria; 24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901) was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. She adopted the additional title of Empress of India on 1 May 1876. Known as the Victorian era, her reign of 63 years and seven months was longer than that of any of her predecessors. It was a period of industrial, cultural, political, scientific, and military change within the United Kingdom, and was marked by a great expansion of the British Empire.

 

  • Queen Nanny, Granny Nanny or Nanny (c. 1686 – c. 1755), was an 18th-century leader of the Jamaican Maroons. Much of what is known about her comes from oral history, as little textual evidence exists. She led a community of formerly enslaved Africans called the Windward Maroons. In the early 18th century, they fought a guerrilla war over many years against British authorities in the Colony of Jamaica. According to Maroon legend, Queen Nanny was born in what is today Ghana of the Akan or Ashanti people. According to the oral tradition and at least one documentary source, she was never enslaved. Although widely assumed that she arrived in Jamaica as a slave, how she arrived in Jamaica is not certain. In 1976 Jamaica declared Nanny as their only female national hero celebrating her success as a leader, military tactician and strategist.

 

  • Catherine the Great, Russian Yekaterina Velikaya, also called Catherine II, Russian in full Yekaterina Alekseyevna, original name Sophie Friederike Auguste, Prinzessin von Anhalt-Zerbst, (born April 21 [May 2, New Style], 1729, Stettin, Prussia [now Szczecin, Poland]—died November 6 [November 17], 1796, Tsarskoye Selo [now Pushkin], near St. Petersburg, Russia), German-born empress of Russia (1762–96) who led her country into full participation in the political and cultural life of Europe, carrying on the work begun by Peter the Great. With her ministers she reorganized the administration and law of the Russian Empire and extended Russian territory, adding Crimea and much of Poland.

 

  • Velu Nachiyar was the princess of Ramanathapuram and the only child of Raja (King) Chellamuthu Vijayaragunatha Sethupathy and Rani (Queen) Sakandhimuthathal of the Ramnad kingdom. Nachiyar was trained in war match weapons usage, martial arts like Valari, Silambam, horse riding and archery. She was a scholar in many languages and she had proficiency with languages like French, English and Urdu. She married the king of Sivagangai, with whom she had a daughter. When her husband, MuthuvaduganathaperiyaUdaiya Thevar, was killed by British soldiers and the son of the Nawab of Arcot, she was drawn into battle. She escaped with her daughter. Velu Nachiyar was the first queen to fight for the freedom from the British in India. She granted powers to her Daughter with the Marudu brothers to help administration the country in 1780. Velu Nachiyar died a few years later, on 25 December 1796.

 

  • Theodora was a queen of the Roman Empire. Her speech during the Nika riots demonstrated her great skill as a leader as she was able to resolve the political disagreements between the Blues and the Greens, the rioters who were destroying public property at that time. She convinced the two sides to reconcile, and after her powerful speech, the violence stopped. Following the Nika riots, Theodora ordered the city of Constantinople to be rebuilt.

 

  • Eleanor of Aquitaine (1122 – 1 April 1204) was queen consort of France (1137–1152) and England (1154–1189) and duchess of Aquitaine in her own right (1137–1204). As the heir of the House of Poitiers, rulers in southwestern France, she was one of the wealthiest and most powerful women in Western Europe during the High Middle Ages. She was patron of literary figures such as Wace, Benoît de Sainte-Maure, and Bernart de Ventadorn. She led armies several times in her life and was a leader of the Second Crusade.

 

  • Liliʻuokalani (Hawaiian pronunciation: [liˌliʔuokəˈlɐni]; Lydia Liliʻu Loloku Walania Kamakaʻeha; September 2, 1838 – November 11, 1917) was the only queen regnant and the last sovereign monarch of the Hawaiian Kingdom, ruling from January 29, 1891, until the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom on January 17, 1893. The composer of “Aloha ʻOe” and numerous other works, she wrote her autobiography Hawaiʻi’s Story by Hawaiʻi’s Queen during her imprisonment following the overthrow.

 

(Information is edited and reposted from the various links embedded.)

 

Blessings in abundance!

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