As a rule, from time immemorial, the rulers were men who stood in power, making important decisions to influence their people and the well-being of their own country.
But history is replete with the names of women rulers such as Empress Wu Zetian and Nefertiti, who had a significant impact on the world during their reign.
1. Empress Wu Zetian
Empress Wu Zetian was a powerful and influential person and is considered the first true ruler of China. She awards several honorary titles such as Lady, Empress Consort, and Empress Regent.
She was born in Wenshui in 624 and pioneered many religious and educational reforms in China. Wu Zetian introduced an examination system for the distribution of state titles, read sermons on Buddhism, and advocated the spread of Buddhist ideology among the people.
Nefertiti was born in Thebes in 1370 BC. She was attractive and powerful and was the powerful Pharaoh Akhenaten, who was famous for his sun worship. Nefertiti influenced her husband’s ideology and changed his religious beliefs while continuing to control him.
Hatshepsut was an Egyptian pharaoh and daughter of Thutmose I. She ruled with her adopted son Thutmose III. Hatshepsut held the throne for about two decades, which is the longest reign of an Egyptian ruler. Egypt witnessed significant upheaval in the Second Intermediate Period, and Hatshepsut rebuilt major trade routes that destroy during that period. Egypt again began trading and exchanging ivory, gold, resin, and other materials with its trading partner, the country of Punt.
She initiated the construction of various projects throughout Ancient Egypt and improved the country’s infrastructure. Many artifacts, monuments, shrines, and monoliths erect during her reign. Hatshepsut was a beautiful woman and an ambitious, talented, and intelligent ruler. She died at the age of fifty in 1458 BC.
4. Eleanor of Aquitaine
Eleanor was the eldest daughter of Guillaume X Saint, aka William, Duke of Aquitaine. She married the French emperor Louis VII in 1137 and Henry II of England in 1152. Eleanor was the dominant figure and held the throne for nearly seven decades.
She did not shy away from participating in military campaigns, which was unusual for female rulers of the time. She provided a platform for the artists, poets, and musicians who flourished during her reign. Eleanor was an excellent, sincere, and great leader, serving as an inspiration to her era.
Cleopatra was the only ruler of the last kingdom of Ptolemaic Egypt and, for a long time, was a symbol of female power. According to Plutarch, the Egyptian queen was cunning, intelligent, literate, and spoke nine languages. But this is only a little compared to how cleverly she manipulated men, making an indelible impression on them and forcing them to fall at her feet. As a rule, all her lovers were public and prominent people.
Although the classic royal romance in Egypt arranges between brothers and sisters to preserve the purity of the bloodline, Cleopatra gave birth to heirs only from the Romans who served her political interests. She was cruel in her quest for power, inspiring scientists and creative people for millennia.
As a rule, Cleopatra portrays as a wealthy femme fatale, around whom rumors constantly circulated about her licentiousness and cruelty towards enemies, including her brothers, in an attempt to gain power and the throne. But as regrettable as it may sound, she was subject to feelings that later ruined her like any other woman.
6. Theodora (wife of Justinian 1)
Theodora was the queen of the Roman Empire. Her performance during the Nika riots demonstrated her excellent leadership prowess as she was able to resolve the political divisions between the blues and greens. These rioters were destroying public property at the time. She convinced both sides to reconcile, and after her impressive speech, the violence stopped. After the uprising in Nika, Theodora ordered the restoration of Constantinople.
Theodora championed the rights of women and made changes to increase the recognition of women in society. She had conflicting religious beliefs with her husband, Justinian. Justinian promoted Chalcedonian Christianity, while Theodora supported the Miaphisite monastery.
Theodora died of an ulcer or tumor in Constantinople in 548. Justinian was very devoted to her even after her death and worked hard to unite the Monophysites and Chalcedonian subjects of his kingdom.
Sobekneferu (aka Nefrusobek) was the first witnessed female pharaoh of Egypt. She was the final ruler of the twelfth dynasty, near the end of the Middle Kingdom. Nefrusobek was the youngest daughter of Amenemhat III. Her older sister, Neferuptah, seems to have been trained to rule even before her.
Unfortunately, she died, and the throne of her father passed to her half-brother Amenemhat IV, who married Sobekneferu. And only after the death of her husband, Sobekneferu ascended the throne as pharaoh. Passions did not subside around this woman for a long time, more and more enveloping her name with various theories, gossip, and intrigues. She was accused of killing her husband based on constant enmity between them, and it also suggests that she was the pharaoh’s daughter who raised Moses.
As for her reign, according to the Turin canon, she ruled for three years and ten months. During this time, Sobekneferu expanded the burial complex of Amenemkhet III in Hawara (named by Herodotus the Labyrinth) and began construction work in Heracleopolis Magna. As a rule, she portrayed as dressed in men’s clothing, but usually, she used female suffixes in her titles, so there is no reason to assume that Nefrusebok was trying to pretend to be a man. Over the years of her reign, like other pharaohs, she faced those who were dissatisfied with her power and the decisions she made. And yet, despite this, she managed to become a part of history, leaving her mark on it.
Unfortunately, the place of her burial has not been confirmed. It has often been suggested that the badly damaged pyramid complex near the Amemenhat IV complex in Mazghuna may belong to her, but most scientists say there is no evidence to support this. Perhaps her tomb will still be discovered.