Pages of history books are replete with male rulers from all across the globe and their accomplishments. Very seldom have female rulers been given their dues; however, there have been so many women in history who deserve all the accolades for being the fearless and ambitious rulers they were. The following is a list of incredibly powerful and famous female rulers in history.
Table of Contents
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She was someone who ruled more than any other female ruler in the Egyptian history. She was married to Thutmose II who was her sickly half brother, and together they co-ruled the empire. As per historians, she was a very successful monarch. She led many successful military campaigns and established trade with foreign countries. Her personality was very strong and that is why she proved to be an impactful leader.
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Cleopatra happens to be one of the most famous (infamous) female rulers in the world. She was the last pharaoh, and belonged to the Ptolemy dynasty of Egypt. After her reign, the Roman Empire came into presence, and she later sparked an affair with Julius Caesar to save her dynasty. Cleopatra is not only known for her beauty and seductive charm, but for her wit and intelligence which helped her in surviving the change of power.
3. Empress Theodora
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Empress Theodora ruled over the Byzantine Empire from the year 527 to 548 BC. She was the wife of Justinian I. She was a noteworthy leader and helped her husband in making very important decisions with regards to their empire. She along with her husband were responsible for rebuilding Constantinople and converting it into a gorgeous, most splendid city, complete with churches, bridges and much more.
4. Princess Olga of Kiev
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Princess Olga of Kiev is known to be a very ruthless, yet effective female ruler. She was a regent for her son, Svyatoslav, and after her husband Igor died, Olga rose to power. She was given sainthood for her efforts in converting the entire nation into Christianity. More often than not, force was applied to ensure the conversion was carried out at a very large scale.
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Amalasuntha was the queen of the Ostrogoths. She was a regent, and has been very well known for her diplomatic relations with Justinian I. It is Justinian I who attacked Italy after she was assassinated. She was imprisoned in the island of Martana, where she was murdered in her own bath.
6. Empress Suiko
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Princess Suiko was one of Japan’s most influential and famous female rulers of ancient times. Initially she was the first consort to Emperor Bidatsu, who was her half brother and later climbed the ladder to become the Empress. She had seven sons and is said to be the very first empress to rule over Japan. During her reign, Buddhism was spread far and wide, and so did the Korean and Chinese influence.
7. Mary I of England
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Henry I and his first wife Catherine of Argon, had 6 children but only Mary I survived till adulthood. She was the very first woman to be crowned the Queen of England in her right, even though her father wanted to remove her as a successor because of religious differences. She is remembered for her restoration of Roman Catholicism, even though her brother and father were inclined towards Protestantism.
8. Queen Elizabeth I
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She was the last monarch of the Tudor dynasty. She ruled over England and Ireland up until her death. Queen Elizabeth I was in jail for almost a year during Mary I of England’s reign, because she allegedly supported the Protestants. Her tenure as Queen was peaceful compared to her other family members and that was possible because of her moderate nature. Her reign is popularly known as the Elizabethan era, which is known for the flourishing of English Drama and poetry. Her 44 year long reign provided stability to the kingdom.
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9. Empress Dowager Cixi
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She was a Chinese empress for 47 long years. Her reign lasted from 1861 to 1908 and she governed the Qing dynasty. Historians say that she was an effective reformer and a very decisive ruler and prevented many political disorders. Some historians believe that she was more powerful than empress We Zetian. She was really conservative, but later changed her view to westernization and encouraged modernization of China.
10. Catherine the Great
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Catherine the great, better known as Catherine II of Russia came into power after the assassination of her husband Peter III. She is the longest ruling female leader of Russia. She came into power at a very good time; when Russia was winning conquests and rapidly expanding. During her reign, her kingdom witnessed vast territorial expansions. She improved the education system of Russia and wrote several educational books too. Russia became a very strong power under her reign and was known as the greatest power in the whole of Europe.
11. Queen Victoria
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Alexandrina Victoria was the Queen of Ireland and Great Britain from 1837 to 1901. She ascended into power after her father and his three sons died without leaving any surviving legitimate child. Great Britain had already established constitutional monarchy when she came into power. Even though Queen Victoria tried to influence governmental laws and policies privately, in public she was more like a national icon and symbol of personal morality. Though her contributions to the country was a little passive, she made sure she worked for the betterment of the country and took all decisions keeping in mind the betterment of the future.
12. Empress Wu Zetian
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She is known to be one of the most powerful female rulers in Chinese history. She was born into a noble family and belonged to the Tang dynasty. Wu Zetian was the only female ruler in the history of China and was a great woman politician who greatly emphasized on education and development during her reign. By the end of the tenure, she became so powerful that none of her subordinates could take decisions without her input; she was governing with full might and power. Even though many people term her to be an unscrupulous woman, she ensured that she satiated her ambition.
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13. Isabella I of Castile
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She happens to be one of the most controversial yet powerful female rulers of Spain. She was the one who sponsored Christopher Columbus voyage. She ruled along with her husband Aragon, till he died in 1504. She was a devout Catholic, and forced thousands of Jews to convert to Catholicism. She ensured that Spain became a world power under her rule, and brought a lot of power and wealth to the kingdom.
These are some of the most powerful, influential and famous female rulers from across the globe. They came into power in a time where men were ruling the roost. They established the fact that women can be very successful leaders. It is really important to understand that women are really good political game players. The aforementioned list proves that women can be as good taskmasters as men when it comes to ruling over an empire. From ancient times till now, everything has changed except for the fact that women have become more and more powerful with passing time.