Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Six of the Best: Powerful Women in History

by JD Smith

We have all heard of Cleopatra, Boadicea, Helen of Troy, Elizabeth I. They are famed for their  prominence in a man's world, but what of those who are lesser known yet equally influential, powerful and dominant. Here's a peek at my top six lesser known women in history:

Grace O'Malley (1530 - 1603)

O'Malley became lord of the Ó Máille dynasty in the west of Ireland following the death of her father, Eoghan Dubhdara Ó Máille, despite having a brother, Dónal an Phíopa Ó Mháille. 

Marriage to Dónal an Chogaidh Ó Flaithbheartaigh brought her greater wealth and influence, reportedly owning as much as 1,000 head of cattle and horses. In 1593, when her sons and her half-brother were taken captive by the English governor of Connacht, Sir Richard Bingham, she sailed to England to petition for their release. She formally presented her request to Elizabeth I at her court in Greenwich, refusing to bow because she did not acknowledge Elizabeth being a queen.

Ching Shih (1775 - 1844)

Shih was a Chinese pirate who led one of the largest piracy fleets to ever exist, commanded up to 40,000 pirates. She enter into conflict with the British and Portuguese Empires, as well as the Qing dynasty.

The Chinese government attempted to destroy her fleet in a series of battles, but were unable to do so. Shih captured the government's ships and took them over, adding to her own fleet, and the Chinese were left with only fishing vessels and the like for military use. 


Artemisia I of Caria (5th Century BCE)
Artemisia was a Greek queen of the ancient Greek city of Halicarnassus and of the nearby islands of Kos, Nisyros and Kalymnos. She fought as an ally of Xerxes I, King of Persia against the independent Greek city states during the Persian invasion of Greece. She personally commanded her own five ships in the Battle of Salamis in 480 BCE. She is mostly known through the writings of Herodotus, himself a native of Halicarnassus, who praises her courage and the respect in which Xerxes held her.


Borte Ujin (1161-1230) 
Borte Ujin was empress of the Mongolian Empire, the largest land empire in history. She was also one of Genghis Khan’s wives and most trusted advisers. Whilst many of Genghis Khan's wives accompanied him as he went to war for long periods, she ruled the Mongol homeland and managed her own court.


Wu Zetian (690 - 705)

Wu was the sole officially recognized empress regnant of China in more than two millennia. Her political and military leadership includes the major expansion of the Chinese empire, extending it deep into Central Asia, and engaging in a series of wars on the Korean Peninsula.


Wu's leadership resulted in important effects regarding social class in Chinese society and in relation to state support for Taoism, Buddhism, education, and literature.


Queen Hatshepsut (1507–1458 BC)
Hatshepsut was fifth pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt. According to Egyptologist James Henry Breasted, Hatshepsut is also known as "the first great woman in history of whom we are informed.

Hatshepsut officially ruled jointly with Thutmose III, who had ascended to the throne as a child of about two years old. Hatshepsut was the chief wife of Thutmose II, Thutmose III’s father.

During her reign she established many trade routes, funding trading expeditions and building the wealth of the eighteenth dynasty. She was also one of the most prolific builders in ancient Egypt, commissioning hundreds of construction projects.


Credit: Wikipedia

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