What Sort of Book is it?

What's in it?

100 stories of badass historical and mythical women from all around the world, most of whom you've never heard of. Each entry has a page of illustration and a page or two of text.

What age group is this good for?

Short answer: 12 and up. Younger readers could enjoy most of it, but you'd probably want to read it with them.

Long answer: There's harsh material at the very end, but every entry has content warnings and a maturity level. In terms of US movie ratings, it's probably 35% PG, 60% PG-13, 5% R. This isn't a book to censor history or try to put a pretty spin on things, but it also doesn't get explicit regularly or without reason. Some of the most harrowing entries are online, to help you gauge how bad it gets: check out Ida B Wells, Wu Zetian, and Elisabeth Bathory.

Who's in the book?

The full table of contents is available below - click here to jump to it. Twenty entries are available for you to preview!

How Can I Get a Copy?

First, it's out in bookstores everywhere, so supporting your local bookstore!

It's also totally available for order online. Click any of the icons below:

Harper-Collins
Barnes & Noble
Books-A-Million
IndieBound

Here's some of the entries in the book. Click through to read them.

(keep an eye out for these icons, showing content posted online that didn't make the final cut for the book)

: Cut content that couldn't make it into the main entry.     : Art notes that couldn't make it into the book.

Heroes

noorinayatkhan

Noor Inayat Khan: The Spy Princess

Pacifist Indian princess who gave up everything of herself to hold the line in occupied Paris during World War 2.
maibhago

Mai Bhago: Savior of the Sikhs

This Sikh warrior saint led 40 deserters back into battle and in so doing, possibly saved her entire religion from extinction.
oshtisch

Osh-Tisch: Princess of Two Spirits

The last Crow nation baté (Two Spirit mystic) in history, she earned her name -- which means "Finds Them and Kills Them" -- by tirelessly fighting to preserve her way of life.

Rebels

petraherrera

Petra Herrera: Soldadera Princess

Mexican revolutionary who bombed bridges, led hundreds of women into battle, and was instrumental in turning the tide of the war for the revolutionaries.
juliedaubigny

Julie d'Aubigny: Princess of the Opera

Sword-slinging, opera-singing bisexual rock star of the 17th century - who burnt down a convent to romance a nun and had to be pardoned by the king of France TWICE.
khutulun

Khutulun: The Wrestler Princess

This undefeated warrior princess refused to marry unless her suitor could defeat her in wrestling - if he lost, he owed her 100 horses. In the end, she had 10,000 horses and no husband.

Intellectuals

anniejumpcannon

Annie Jump Cannon: The Queen of Modern Astronomy

This astronomer threw off all the social conventions of her day to pursue her one true calling: the stars.
idabwells

Ida B. Wells: Princess of the Press

One of the first anti-lynching advocates, she risked her life for decades to report on the truth when nobody would believe her.
hypatia

Hypatia: The Martyr Mathematician

The first female mathematician in recorded history, and one of the luminaries of the ancient world - but her grisly death at the hands of a mob was only the start of her troubles.

Warrior Women

iara

Iara: Brazil's Lady of the Lake

When this indigenous Brazilian warrior mermaid proved too awesome for her tribe, she just took up residence in the water, and started an aquatic harem of passers-by.
mariya

Mariya Oktyabrskaya: The Tank-Driving Widow

When her husband was killed in WW2, she sold all their belongings, bought a tank, named it Fighting Girlfriend, and started killing Nazis.
nzinga

Nzinga Mbande: Mother of Angola

When the Portuguese took the throne from her, this Angolan queen made a new one: out of her own servant. She then fled to the jungle, conquered a tribe of cannibals, and waged war on the Portuguese for so long that they gave up and left.

Iron Queens

tomyris

Tomyris: Head-defiling Warrior Queen

When the most powerful man in the world made plans on her country, she: turned down his marriage proposal, destroyed his armies, and defiled his head so famously that she became legend for centuries thereafter.
boudica

Boudica: The Headhunter Queen

This legendary warrior queen killed 70,000 Romans, burnt London to the ground, and became the most famous headhunter of all time - and to this day, Britain loves her for it.
shajaraldurr

Shajar al-Durr: King-ransoming Sultan

Muslim sultan who took the throne, defeated Louis IX in battle, ransomed him back to France for 30% of their GDP --- and did it all in secret.

Wicked Ladies

bathory

Elisabeth Bathory: The Blood Countess

Possibly the most prolific female serial killer in history, a primary inspiration for Dracula, one of the most reviled women in history, and, I argue, innocent.
wuzetian

Wu Zetian: China's Only Female Emperor

The only female emperor of China in history, her ruthless rise to power makes Game of Thrones look like a day at the beach.
chingshih

Ching Shih: Princess of the Chinese Seas

Headed a squadron of 80,000 pirates, ruled the Chinese seas for two decades, and actually retired happily - but not before extorting a nice pension from the Chinese government.

Banished But Not Forgotten

The Rest of the Book

anniejumpcannon

Annie Jump Cannon

This astronomer threw off all the social conventions of her day to pursue her one true calling: the stars.
iara

Iara

When this indigenous Brazilian warrior mermaid proved too awesome for her tribe, she just took up residence in the water, and started an aquatic harem of passers-by.
hypatia

Hypatia

The first female mathematician in recorded history, and one of the luminaries of the ancient world - but her grisly death at the hands of a mob was only the start of her troubles.
boudica

Boudica

This legendary warrior queen killed 70,000 Romans, burnt London to the ground, and became the most famous headhunter of all time - and to this day, Britain loves her for it.
tomyris

Tomyris

When the most powerful man in the world made plans on her country, she: turned down his marriage proposal, destroyed his armies, and defiled his head so famously that she became legend for centuries thereafter.
chingshih

Ching Shih

Headed a squadron of 80,000 pirates, ruled the Chinese seas for two decades, and actually retired happily - but not before extorting a nice pension from the Chinese government.
noorinayatkhan

Noor Inayat Khan

Pacifist Indian princess who gave up everything of herself to hold the line in occupied Paris during World War 2.
juliedaubigny

Julie d’Aubigny

Sword-slinging, opera-singing bisexual rock star of the 17th century - who burnt down a convent to romance a nun and had to be pardoned by the king of France TWICE.
shajaraldurr

Shajar al-Durr

Muslim sultan who took the throne, defeated Louis IX in battle, ransomed him back to France for 30% of their GDP --- and did it all in secret.
oshtisch

Osh-Tisch

The last Crow nation baté (Two Spirit mystic) in history, she earned her name -- which means "Finds Them and Kills Them" -- by tirelessly fighting to preserve her way of life.
idabwells

Ida B. Wells

One of the first anti-lynching advocates, she risked her life for decades to report on the truth when nobody would believe her.
bathory

Elisabeth Bathory

Possibly the most prolific female serial killer in history, a primary inspiration for Dracula, one of the most reviled women in history, and, I argue, innocent.
petraherrera

Petra Herrera

Mexican revolutionary who bombed bridges, led hundreds of women into battle, and was instrumental in turning the tide of the war for the revolutionaries.
khutulun

Khutulun

This undefeated warrior princess refused to marry unless her suitor could defeat her in wrestling - if he lost, he owed her 100 horses. In the end, she had 10,000 horses and no husband.
maibhago

Mai Bhago

This Sikh warrior saint led 40 deserters back into battle and in so doing, possibly saved her entire religion from extinction.
wuzetian

Wu Zetian

The only female emperor of China in history, her ruthless rise to power makes Game of Thrones look like a day at the beach.
sita

Sita

After being saved from demonic forces, this legendary Indian princess is then subjected to endless purity tests by her own husband. She eventually puts an end to his questions in a manner that surprised everyone.
nzinga

Nzinga Mbande

When the Portuguese took the throne from her, this Angolan queen made a new one: out of her own servant. She then fled to the jungle, conquered a tribe of cannibals, and waged war on the Portuguese for so long that they gave up and left.
hatshepsut

Hatshepsut

One of the greatest pharaohs to ever live, she built up Egypt so much that a generations-long sustained effort to erase her from history couldn't do the trick.
089_neerjabhanot

Neerja Bhanot

When terrorists hijacked her plane, she gave her life to save it, becoming the youngest recipient of India's highest honor.
098_phoolandevi

Phoolan Devi

Born into the lowest rung of the caste system, this woman put decades of horrific abuse to an end by starting a bandit gang, laying waste to those who preyed on the less-fortunate, and getting a reputation as an incarnation of the goddess of destruction. After she gave herself up and spent some time in prison, she got out, ran for parliament, and won.
096_malinche

Malinche

Sold into sexual slavery to Hernan Cortes, this maligned woman became his interpreter, and it was with her words that the Aztec Empire fell.
094_arawelo

Arawelo

Somalia's ballsiest queen, she took power from men either figuratively or literally - by ordering much of the gender castrated. Hero or villain, depending on who's doing the telling, she remains one of Africa's most divisive figures.
093_caterinasforza

Caterina Sforza

The illegitimate daughter of a minor noble, after losing her husband, she became one of the most powerful and fierce women in Italy - commanding troops, insulting Machiavelli, and fighting Cesare Borgia with unmatched ferocity.
091_artemisiagentileschi

Artemisia Gentileschi

One of the greatest painters of the baroque, she revenged herself on her rapist both in the court of law and in her powerful, grotesque, incredibly popular paintings that depicted his gruesome death.
088_micaelabastidas

Micaela Bastidas

The strident partner of the eponymously-named Tupac Amaru Rebellion of native peoples against the Spanish, she handled army and bureaucratic logistics with an unmatched efficiency. Cut Content: Tupac Amaru's Demands His demands were surprisingly minimal: he primarily wanted less enforced labor and a court closer to where he lived, so he wouldn't have to trek all the way out to Lima from the Andes.

Cut Content: Micaela's Graphic Death

Records say the Spanish cut out her tongue and then tried to use a garrote on her. Her neck proved too slender, however, so they used rope and then kicked her until dead. Tupac got off worse - after watching the executions of his family and having his tongue cut out, each of his hands and legs were tied to a different horse and he was literally pulled apart. In a shocking turn of events, the brutal slaughter of folk heroes did not achieve the desired goal of winning over the average Andean.

087_myeongseong

Empress Myeongseong

Picked to be an impotent figurehead, this savvy intellectual quickly learned how to play politics and modernized the nation to ward off invasion.
085_margueritedelarocque

Marguerite de la Rocque

Stranded by her cruel relative on an abandoned Canadian island (literally named the Isle of Demons), she survived for two years by hunting animals and eventually made it back to France.
084_kharboucha

Kharboucha

This legendary pockmarked poet sang truth to power and was killed for it, becoming an enduring symbol of resistance.
080_joanofarc

Joan of Arc

The infamous teen girl who helped end the Hundred Years War and save France - but do you know how she got to such prominence? This book has an answer, and it involves another powerful woman, operating behind the scenes...
082_nightwitches

The Night Witches

This all-female civilian volunteer unit of the WW2 Soviet military overcame a lack of training, equipment, and faith to pull off one of the greatest underdog feats in human history and in so doing become Germany's worst nightmare. Cut Content: Individual stories of Night Witches

Mariya Smirnova was a peasant from a village school who became a squadron commander. She was a nervous wreck before each of her 935 missions, and slept only two to four hours a day for the entirety of the war. When sent to a recreation facility to calm her nerves, she ran away to rejoin the Night Witches, because she couldn't stand others risking their lives while she did nothing.

Yevdokiya (Dusya) Nosal joined the unit after the maternity ward where she'd just given birth was bombed and her newborn son was buried in the rubble. She was shot and died mid-flight.

Irina Kashirina had to steer her plane home when her pilot, the aforementioned Dusya Nosal, was killed mid-flight. With Nosal slumped into her controls, Kashirina, with one hand, grabbed her by the collar and lifted her off the controls. She used the other hand to steer.

Nina Raspopova was born into famine and destitution. Barely able to enter technical school for engineering (she sat on the stairs for two months before being allowed in), she thereafter joined the Night Witches. One of her most harrowing experiences saw the entire floor of her cockpit blown away by a shell and her navigator shot in the neck. They landed the plane and the two had to walk back to the Soviet lines through mud and impassable roads -- in their socks. When they returned, the men at the infirmary allowed them ahead in line, possibly at the costs of their own lives. Another time, with the Germans closing in, she had to take off in an airplane which was missing half of one of the propellors. To balance it out, she knocked half of the other one off and narrowly held the plane together as she escaped.

Nadezhda Popova joined after the Germans killed her brother and converted her house into a Gestapo police station. She was one of the first recruits into the Night Witches, surviving some of the most dangerous missions -- she at one point returned from a sortie with 42 bullet holes in her plane, map, and helmet - but miraculously alive. She met her future husband in the war, and lived to the age of 91. Of the experience, she would later say: "I sometimes stare into the blackness and close my eyes. I can still imagine myself as a young girl, up there in my little bomber. And I ask myself, 'Nadia, how did you do it?'"

079_yoshikokawashima

Yoshiko Kawashima

Bisexual cross-dressing spy princess of the Qing dynasty - a hero to some and unspeakable villain to others.
078_qiujin

Qiu Jin

Revolutionary who martyred herself to help rid China of the Qing dynasty.

Cut Content: The Courtesans Who Helped Topple the Qing

Included as an aside in a handful of writeups on the fall of the Qing dynasty is a mention of the Chinese Women's Espionage Training Institute - an organization of Shanghai courtesans who trained spies to aid in bringing down the Qing dynasty. As they formed in the twilight days of the revolution, it's unclear how much effect they had, but they're worth recognizing regardless.

The last sentence of their manifesto: "What difference does occupation make when it is a question of duty?"

077_jezebel

Jezebel

Roundly-despised and unfairly-maligned seductress of the bible who ran afoul of the wrong priests.
074_hortensemancini

Marie Mancini

Joined her sister Hortense Mancini in escaping from an equally abusive marriage, making headlines (and trouble) all across Europe in the process.
074_hortensemancini

Hortense Mancini

One of the most infamous libertines of the Renaissance, she cavorted all over Europe to flee her abusive marriage, lived a hedonistic life, and wrote memoirs under her own name - all in an attempt to win herself a divorce.
072_marjana

Marjana

The actual hero of the Ali Baba myth, this slave girl saves the titular character by singlehandedly dispatching the forty thieves - without him even knowing.
071_emmelinepankhurst

Emmeline Pankhurst

This unassuming middle-aged woman became one of Britain's most notorious terrorists in her unyielding quest to win women the right to vote.
069_anitagaribaldi

Anita Garibaldi

This heroine of South America and Italy fought in numerous civil wars alongside her husband, Giuseppe Garibaldi, often while pregnant or while carrying her children.
068_caraboo

Princess Caraboo

This phony Asian royalty fooled rural England for some time - but the truth she was hiding was far darker.
067_khawlah

Khawlah bint al-Azwar

When Byzantine forces captured her brother, this warrior poet donned the outfit of a black knight and went on a bloody rescue mission.
066_amba

Amba/Sikhandi

When this princess had her life ruined by an unstoppable warrior, she: became a fervent ascetic for years and got a divine boon; killed herself to reincarnate faster; came back as a man; and killed the man who'd wronged her, in the stunning climax of the world's longest epic poem. Cut Content: Trans Representation

The Mahabharata has an inconsistent attitude towards transfolk, possibly owing to its many versions, and likely due to it being long as hell and old as dirt. While Shiva, Sikhandi, Sikhandi's parents, and Sthuna (the yaksha [forest spirit] that Amba/Sikhandi swaps genitals with) are all totally cool with Amba/Sikhandi's gender fluidity, Sthuna's boss goes on a rant once he finds out what Sthuna's done. He says, "oh, worst of Yakshas, you have done what has never been done by anyone -- an unnatural, abnormal, simpleminded, underhanded act that deserves all the punishment I can think up, so no one else will ever do it." He then "curses" Sthuna to remain a woman. Complicating the Mahabharata's stance on gender yet further is the fact that the main character of the Mahabharata, Arjuna, spends a year of his life undercover as a woman in a harem, and is praised in extreme details for his cleverness in doing so. So, take what you will from all that?

064_aliceclement

Alice B. Clement

Chicago detective whose crime-busting exploits grew so popular she had her own newspaper series and starred in her own movie.
063_delhemma

Dhat al-Himma

Sword-slinging Arabian heroine who stars as the heroine of an extremely long and entertaining epic tale.
062_josephinebaker

Josephine Baker

Rose from dire poverty and violence to become the greatest black entertainer of all time - Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Angelina Jolie all rolled into one.
060_agontime

Agontime

The world's fiercest all-female fighting force, and the incredible legend of how they rescued their deposed queen from slavery in Brazil.
061_matahari

Mata Hari

This amateur dancer escaped a life of abuse by pretending to be an Indonesian princess - and eventually became a victim of the maniacal world of espionage.
059_stolga

Olga of Kiev

Brutal princess-turned-Christian saint who burnt down enemy towns using pigeons.
058_aisha

A’isha bint abi Bakr

Independent, bold wife of the Prophet Muhammad, she led armies in the Battle of the Camel and was one of the central figures of the Shia/Sunni civil war that continues to this day. (Note: this entry's image follows Islamic artistic conventions to depict its figures respectfully)
056_annehutchinson

Anne Hutchinson

This uneducated rebel preacher upstaged New England magistrates so much that they founded Harvard University in part to prevent women like her from gaining power.
055_harriettubman

Harriet Tubman

Escaped slave turned slave rescuer turned plantation-torching Union spymaster, she was part Moses, part Joan of Arc, part Spider-Man.
054_christinedepizan

Christine de Pizan

When her husband unexpectedly died, she rolled up her sleeves and became one of the greatest authors of the age to keep food on the table. She wrote passionate defenses of her gender (and military treatises!) that were centuries ahead of their time.
052_laskarinabouboulina

Laskarina Bouboulina

Born in a prison cell, this revolutionary financed and led a large chunk of Greece's navy to victory in their fight for independence.
051_adalovelace

Ada Lovelace

History's first computer programmer, who invented algorithms for the first computer - which didn't even exist during her lifetime, so she had to do it all in her head.
050_wallada

Wallada bint al-Mustakfi

Spirited poetry-spouting princess who lived an audacious life and put her cheating lover on blast with her expert slam poetry.
049_yael

Yael

Saved the Jewish people by hammering a tent spike through an unsuspecting house guest's head.
047_ranilakshmibai

Rani Lakshmibai

Widowed young queen who led a fearsome rebellion against the British with her child tied to her back.
046_theodora

Theodora

Sex worker who became empress of the Byzantine Empire, and used her political power to safeguard her interests, and her husband's reputation.
045_tomoe

Tomoe Gozen

Fearsome undefeated samurai warrior who was "a match for any god or demon," and is one of Japan's greatest heroines to this day.
044_xtabay

Xtabay

Chaste and virtuous woman spends life assuming she's better than her more sex-positive neighbor, and for this haughtiness becomes in death a demonic woman who lures wayward men to their death - a stunning indigenous inversion of the Madonna/whore complex.
043_nanny

Nanny of the Maroons

Led colony of escaped slaves and protected them from the English using borderline supernatural abilities.
041_nanaasmau

Nana Asma’u

Massively educated princess who started all-female gang of itinerant teachers, who would roam the land and educate unsuspecting passersby.
040_mochizukichiyome

Chiyome Mochizuki

Recruited widows, orphans, and prostitutes into an all-woman ninja spy group, the largest in Asia at the time.
039_josefinaguerrero

Josefina Guerrero

Let her leprosy go untreated for years to make herself the perfect spy in the Japan-occupied Philippines - soldiers wouldn't touch her, so she could slip right through.
038_marylacy

Mary Lacy

This self-described "undutiful daughter" posed as a man to become the world's first female shipwright.
037_nwanyereuwa

Nwanyeruwa

Instigated a massive "women's war" against British taxation, the effect of which was one part protest movement, one part comedy roast, and one part block party.

Cut Content: Okugo's crimes

The women had numerous other complaints about Okugo -- he'd been an unrepentant turd monkey for decades. The laundry list of his crimes included levying arbitrary taxes, embezzling money, and "gathering materials to make bad juju."

036_popejoan

Pope Joan

This pope was largely assumed to be male until she gave birth in the midst of a procession - and largely assumed to be factual until the 13th century.
035_marybowser

Mary Bowser

Brilliant undercover spy who posed as a slave to spy on - and attempt to burn down - the Confederate White House.
034_potosiladies

The Valiant Ladies of Potosi

Eustaquia de Souza and Ana Lezama de Urinza, two sword-and-gun-toting lesbian teen vigilantes - 17th century Bolivia's answer to Batman.
033_gertrudebell

Gertrude Bell

Tossed off the expectations of Victorian society to become an expert mountaineer and archaeologist, traveled the Middle East by herself - later teaching Lawrence of Arabia how it's done - and became one of the most influential women in the English empire, advocating loudly for Iraq's self-governance.
032_yaaasantewaa

Yaa Asantewaa

As an old woman, led an incredibly successful rebellion against British colonialism, known as The War of the Golden Stool, or the Yaa Asantewaa War.
031_trungsisters

Trung Trac and Trung Nhi

Sisters who led an army on elephant-back to overthrow oppressive Chinese rule and establish a short-lived Vietnamese kingdom.
030_elizabethbisland_nelliebly

Elizabeth Bisland

Rose from poverty to become a respected journalist who raced Nellie Bly around the world.
030_elizabethbisland_nelliebly

Nellie Bly

Daring journalist who infiltrated insane asylums, exposed slavery rings, and raced around the world in under 80 days.
029_mollcutpurse

Moll Cutpurse

Cross-dressing Queen of Thieves who flouted social norms and had plays written about her.
028_matildaoftuscany

Matilda of Tuscany

Fiery defender of the pope who made kings kneel before her.
027_sayyidaalhurra

Sayyida al-Hurra

Indomitable pirate queen who ran Morocco and ruined Portuguese trade.
026_gracianasi

Gracia Mendes Nasi

Jewish businesswoman who saved thousands of Jews from the Inquisition by smuggling them out of the country.
025_katiesandwina

Katie Sandwina

Champion weightlifter, suffragette, mom - this "Lady Hercules" did it all.
024_kaahumanu

Ka’ahumanu

United Hawaii under one rule, abolished ancient taboos, and led negotiations with the fledgling United States.
023_emmynoether

Emmy Noether

Revolutionized the field of mathematics, yet was persecuted for being Jewish and paid a pittance for her visionary teaching work.
021_tinhinan

Tin Hinan

The greatest leader of the nomadic Tuareg tribe of northern Africa, who put their men in veils and let their women run the show.
020_janedieulafoy

Jane Dieulafoy

A phenomenally successful archaeologist who became a fashion icon for wearing men's clothing.
018_mariemarvingt

Marie Marvingt

Ludicrously over-accomplished athlete who invented flying ambulances and won the only gold medal ever awarded by the French Academy of Sports for "all sports" - yes, all of them.
017_keumalahayati

Keumalahayati

The first naval admiral of modern times, she protected her country from foreign invaders with aplomb. Cut Content: The Holes in This Story

In the Summer 2008 newsletter for the International Institute for Asian Studies, Elsa Clave-Celik argues that much of what we know about Keumalahayati - and many other Indonesian heroines like Cut Nyak Dhien and Cut Meutia - is a romantic fabrication. Going back to some of the Dutch sources for these tales, she points out that there's little evidence Keumalahayati fought the Houtmans directly.

Clave-Celik puts forward that much of the stories about said heroines are distant echoes of one of the heroines of Indonesian/Hindu mythology: Amba/Sikhandi, written about elsewhere in the Rejected Princesses book. She points out that the template of warrior widow-martyrs of noble birth fits comfortably into a narrative that Indonesian and even Dutch societies were comfortable with - she specifically points to Dutch novelist and children's book author Marie van Zeggelen as the source of much of Keumalahayati's mythologization.

Women who do not fit this mold, she shows, do not get the same heroic treatment. Indonesian commoners and foot soldiers like Pocut Meurah Intan and Pocut Baren, who fought but also received medical aid from the Dutch -- Baren was an amputee! -- do not receive the same warmth from the history books. Something to keep in mind while reading through the rest of the Rejected Princesses book - what stories are advancing what agendas? What's been vilified and for what reason? What's been left out?

Stay tuned to Rejected Princesses Volume 2 for the answer![1. Just kidding. There is no Volume 2. Yet.] 

015_alfhild

Alfhild

Viking princess who decided she'd rather be a pirate than get married.
016_calafia

Calafia

Black, Muslim warrior queen of a tribe of griffin-riding Amazons - and the honest-to-god namesake of California.
014_wilmarudolph

Wilma Rudolph

Overcame polio, poverty, measles, mumps, scarlet fever, racism, whooping cough, and teenage pregnancy to make Olympic history by winning three gold medals.
012_yennenga

Yennenga

An unbeatable warrior princess who just wanted to have kids - and founded a new nation in her quest to do so.
011_maryfields

“Stagecoach” Mary Fields

Pistol-packing, liquor-swigging, 6'2" black postal carrier/babysitter of the Wild West.
010_graceomalley

Grace O’Malley

Irish pirate queen who led decades of rebellions against England, met face-to-face with Elizabeth I, and got official license to continue her piracy.
009_maryseacole

Florence Nightingale

One half of the odd couple of Crimean nursing - the by-the-book Victorian rebel who revolutionized the field of medicine who stood in stark to Mary Seacole's jolly reliance on folk remedies and home comforts.
009_maryseacole

Mary Seacole

One half of the odd couple of Crimean nursing - the jolly black businesswoman who swore by folk remedies, in stark contrast to Florence Nightingale's by-the-book Victorian approach to medicine.
008_andamana

Andamana

Indigenous lawmaker who united warring tribes under a unified code of laws that she made herself.
007_kurmanjan

Kurmanjan Datka

A clever woman who rose from obscurity to become a political force, playing nations against each other to protect her people.
006_sybilludington

Sybil Ludington

To warn against the incoming British, this teen girl staged her own midnight ride - far longer and more dangerous than Paul Revere's.
005_moremi

Moremi Ajasoro

When a neighboring tribe threatened the Yoruba, this queen went undercover as a spy to find their weakness.
004_tepueaherangi

Te Puea Herangi

The reluctant royal who became the Maori's greatest leader. Cut Content: Accent Marks Unfortunately, the accent marks over the words "pākehā" and "Māori" didn't make it through the various stages of book editing intact - that's how they should be spelled!
003_agnodice

Agnodice

After disguising herself as a man to be the physician women needed, she was put on trial - and won.
002_tatterhood

Tatterhood

This goat-riding, spoon-wielding princess fought trolls to save her sister. 2
Has Web Preview Book-Only Entries

All of these have illustrations and stories just like the ones above - but you can only see them in the book!

(keep an eye out for these icons, showing content posted online that didn't make the final cut for the book)

: Cut content that couldn't make it into the main entry.     : Art notes that couldn't make it into the book.

  1. Tatterhood (Norwegian folk tale)

    Goat-riding, spoon-wielding princess who fights trolls to save her sister.

  2. Agnodice (4th century BCE, Greece)

    Disguised herself as a man to be the physician women needed.

  3. Te Puea Herangi (1883-1952, New Zealand)

    The reluctant royal who became the Maori's greatest leader.

  4. Moremi Ajasoro (12th century, Nigeria)

    When a neighboring tribe threatened the Yoruba, she went undercover as a spy to find their weakness.

  5. Sybil Ludington (1761-1839, United States)

    To warn against the incoming British, this teen girl staged her own midnight ride - far longer and more dangerous than Paul Revere's.

  6. Kurmanjan Datka (1811-1907, Kyrgyzstan)

    A clever woman who rose from obscurity to become a political force, playing nations against each other to protect her people.

  7. Andamana (14th century, Canary Islands)

    Indigenous lawmaker who united warring tribes under a unified code of laws that she made herself.

  8. Mary Seacole (1805-1881, Jamaica/Crimea) and Florence Nightingale (1820-1910, England/Crimea)

    The odd couple of Crimean nursing - one a jolly black businesswoman who swore by folk remedies, the other a by-the-book Victorian rebel who revolutionized the field of medicine.

  9. Grainne 'Grace O'Malley' ni Mhaille (aka Granuaile) (1530-1603)

    Irish pirate queen who led decades of rebellions against England, met face-to-face with Elizabeth I, and got official license to continue her piracy.

  10. 'Stagecoach' Mary Fields (1832-1914)

    Pistol-packing, liquor-swigging, 6'2" black postal carrier/babysitter of the Wild West.

  11. Yennenga (early 12th century, Burkina Faso/Ghana)

    An unbeatable warrior princess who just wanted to have kids - and founded a new nation in her quest to do so.

  12. Wilma Rudolph (1940-1994, United States)

    Overcame polio, poverty, measles, mumps, scarlet fever, racism, whooping cough, and teenage pregnancy to make Olympic history by winning three gold medals.

  13. Alfhild (5th century, Denmark)

    Viking princess who decided she'd rather be a pirate than get married.

  14. Calafia (16th century Spanish Myth)

    Black, Muslim warrior queen of a tribe of griffin-riding Amazons - and the honest-to-god namesake of California.

  15. Keumalahayati (16th-17th century, Indonesia/Aceh)

    The first naval admiral of modern times, she protected her country from foreign invaders with aplomb.

  1. Marie Marvingt (1875-1963, France)

    Ludicrously over-accomplished athlete who invented flying ambulances and won the only gold medal ever awarded by the French Academy of Sports for "all sports" - yes, all of them.

  2. Jane Dieulafoy (1851-1916, France/Persia/Iran)

    A phenomenally successful archaeologist who became a fashion icon for wearing men's clothing.

  3. Tin Hinan (4th/5th century, Algeria)

    The greatest leader of the nomadic Tuareg tribe of northern Africa, who put their men in veils and let their women run the show.

  4. Emmy Noether (1882-1935, Germany/United States)

    Revolutionized the field of mathematics, yet was persecuted for being Jewish and paid a pittance for her visionary teaching work.

  5. Ka'ahumanu (c.1768-1832, Hawaii)

    United Hawaii under one rule, abolished ancient taboos, and led negotiations with the fledgling United States.

  6. Katie Sandwina (1884-1952, Austria/United States)

    Champion weightlifter, suffragette, mom - this "Lady Hercules" did it all.

  7. Gracia Mendes Nasi (1510-1569, Portugal/Italy/Turkey)

    Jewish businesswomen who saved thousands of Jews from the Inquisition by smuggling them out of the country.

  8. Sayyida al-Hurra (c.1482-1562, Morocco)

    Indomitable pirate queen who ran Morocco and ruined Portugal.

  9. Matilda of Tuscany (1046-1115, Italy)

    Fiery defender of the pope who made kings kneel before her.

  10. Mary Frith aka Moll Cutpurse (1582-1659, England)

    Cross-dressing Queen of Thieves who flouted social norms and had plays written about her.

  11. Nellie Bly aka Elizabeth Cochran(1864-1922, United States)

    Daring journalist who infiltrated insane asylums, exposed slavery rings, and raced around the world in under 80 days.

  12. Elizabeth Bisland(1861-1929, United States)

    Rose from poverty to become a respected journalist who raced Nellie Bly around the world.

  13. Trung Trac and Trung Nhi(1st century, Vietnam)

    Sisters who led an army on elephant-back to overthrow oppressive Chinese rule and establish a short-lived Vietnamese kingdom.

  14. Yaa Asantewaa(c.1830-1921, Ghana/Asante Confederacy)

    As an old woman, led an incredibly successful rebellion against British colonialism, known as The War of the Golden Stool, or the Yaa Asantewaa War.

  15. Gertrude Bell (1868-1926, England/Mesopotamia/Iraq)

    Tossed off the expectations of Victorian society, became an expert mountaineer, traveled the Middle East by herself - later teaching Lawrence of Arabia how it's done - and became one of the most influential women in the English empire.

  1. Eustaquia de Souza and Ana Lezama de Urinza (17th century, Bolivia)

    Sword-and-gun-toting lesbian teen vigilantes - 17th century Potosi's answer to Batman.

  2. Mary Bowser (19th century, United States)

    Brilliant undercover spy who posed as a slave to spy on - and attempt to burn down - the Confederate White House.

  3. Pope Joan (9th century, Vatican City)

    This pope was largely assumed to be male until she gave birth in the midst of a procession - and largely assumed to be factual until the 13th century.

  4. Nwanyeruwa (early 20th century, Nigeria)

    Instigated a massive "women's war" against British taxation, the effect of which was one part protest movement, one part comedy roast, and one part block party.

  5. Mary Lacy (1740-1801, England)

    This self-described "undutiful daughter" posed as a man to become the world's first female shipwright.

  6. Josefina 'Joey' Guerrero (1918-1996, Philippines/United States)

    Let her leprosy go untreated for years to make herself the perfect spy in the Japan-occupied Philippines - soldiers wouldn't touch her, so she could slip right through.

  7. Chiyome Mochizuki (16th century, Japan)

    Recruited widows, orphans, and prostitutes into an all-woman ninja spy group, the largest in Asia at the time.

  8. Nana Asma'u (1793-1864, Nigeria/Sokoto Caliphate)

    Massively educated princess who started all-female gang of itinerant teachers, who would roam the land and educate unsuspecting passersby.

  9. Nanny of the Maroons (c.1680-1750, Jamaica)

    Led colony of escaped slaves and protected them from the English using borderline supernatural abilities.

  10. Xtabay (Mesoamerican myth)

    Chaste and virtuous woman spends life assuming she's better than her more sex-positive neighbor, and for this haughtiness becomes in death a demonic woman who lures wayward men to their death - a stunning indigenous inversion of the Madonna/whore complex.

  11. Tomoe Gozen (1157-1247, Japan)

    Fearsome undefeated samurai warrior who was "a match for any god or demon," and is one of Japan's greatest heroines to this day.

  12. Empress Theodora (c.497-548, Turkey/Byzantine Empire)

    Sex worker who became empress of the Byzantine Empire, and used her political power to safeguard her interests, and her husband's reputation.

  13. Rani Lakshmibai (1828-1858, India)

    Widowed young queen who led a fearsome rebellion against the British with her child tied to her back.

  14. Yael (13th century BCE, Israel/Canaan)

    Saved the Jewish people by hammering a tent spike through an unsuspecting house guest's head.

  1. Wallada bint al-Mustakfi (c.1000-1091, Spain/al-Andalus)

    Spirited poetry-spouting princess who lived an audacious life and put her cheating lover on blast with her expert slam poetry.

  2. Ada Lovelace (1815-1852, England)

    History's first computer programmer, who invented algorithms for the first computer - which didn't even exist during her lifetime, so she had to do it all in her head.

  3. Laskarina Bouboulina (1771-1825, Greece)

    Born in a prison cell, this revolutionary financed and led a large chunk of Greece's navy to victory in their fight for independence.

  4. Christine de Pizan (1364-c.1430, France)

    When her husband unexpectedly died, she rolled up her sleeves and became one of the greatest authors of the age to keep food on the table. She wrote passionate defenses of her gender (and military treatises!) that were centuries ahead of their time.

  5. Harriet Tubman (1822-1913, United States)

    Escaped slave turned slave rescuer turned plantation-torching Union spymaster, she was part Moses, part Joan of Arc, part Spider-Man.

  6. Anne Hutchinson (1591-1643, United States)

    This uneducated rebel preacher upstaged New England magistrates so much that they founded Harvard University in part to prevent women like her from gaining power.

  7. A'isha bint abi Bakr (614-678, Saudi Arabia)

    Independent, bold wife of the Prophet Muhammad, she led armies in the Battle of the Camel and was one of the central figures of the Shia/Sunni civil war that continues to this day. (Note: this entry's image follows Islamic artistic conventions to depict its figures respectfully)

  8. Olga of Kiev (890-969, Ukraine)

    Brutal princess-turned-Christian saint who burnt down enemy towns using pigeons.

  9. Agontime and the Dahomey Amazons (19th century, Dahomey/Benin)

    The world's fiercest all-female fighting force, and the incredible tale of how they rescued their deposed queen from slavery in Brazil.

  10. Mata Hari (1876-1917, France)

    This amateur dancer escaped a life of abuse by pretending to be an Indonesian princess - and eventually became a victim of the maniacal world of espionage.

  11. Josephine Baker (1906-1975, France/United States)

    Rose from dire poverty and violence to become the greatest black entertainer of all time - Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Angelina Jolie all rolled into one.

  12. Dhat al-Himma (8th century Arabian myth)

    Sword-slinging Arabian heroine who stars as the heroine of an extremely long and entertaining epic tale.

  1. Alice B. Clement (1878-1926, United States)

    Chicago detective whose crime-busting exploits grew so popular she had her own newspaper series and starred in her own movie.

  2. Amba/Sikhandi (Indian myth)

    When this princess had her life ruined by an unstoppable warrior, she: became a fervent ascetic for years and got a divine boon; killed herself to reincarnate faster; came back as a man; and killed the man who'd wronged her, in the stunning climax of the world's longest epic poem.

  3. Khawlah bint al-Azwar (7th century, Syria/Jordan/Palestine)

    When Byzantine forces capture her brother, this warrior poet donned the outfit of a black knight and went on a bloody rescue mission.

  4. Mary Baker aka Princess Caraboo (1791-1864, England)

    This phony Asian royalty fooled rural England for some time - but the truth she was hiding was far darker.

  5. Anita Garibaldi (1821-1849, Brazil/Uruguay/Italy)

    This heroine of South America and Italy fought in numerous civil wars alongside her husband, Giuseppe Garibaldi, often while pregnant or while carrying her children.

  6. Emmeline Pankhurst (1858-1929, England)

    This unassuming middle-aged woman became one of Britain's most notorious terrorists in her unyielding quest to win women the right to vote.

  7. Marjana (Arabian myth)

    The actual hero of the Ali Baba myth, this slave girl saves the titular character by singlehandedly dispatching the forty thieves - without him even knowing.

  8. Hortense Mancini (1646-1699, France/Italy/England)

    One of the most infamous libertines of the Renaissance, she cavorted all over Europe to flee her abusive marriage, lived a hedonistic life, and wrote memoirs under her own name - all in an attempt to win herself a divorce.

  9. Marie Mancini (1639-1715, France/Italy/Spain)

    Joined her sister Hortense Mancini in escaping from an equally abusive marriage, making headlines (and trouble) all across Europe in the process.

  10. Jezebel (9th century BCE, Israel)

    Roundly-despised and unfairly-maligned seductress of the bible who ran afoul of the wrong priests.

  11. Qiu Jin (1875-1907, China)

    Revolutionary who martyred herself to help rid China of the Qing dynasty.

  12. Yoshiko Kawashima (1907-1948, China/Japan)

    Bisexual cross-dressing spy princess of the Qing dynasty - a hero to some and unspeakable villain to others.

  13. Joan of Arc (1412-1431, France)

    The infamous teen girl who helped end the Hundred Years War and save France - but do you know how she got to such prominence? This book has an answer, and it involves another powerful woman, operating behind the scenes...

  1. The Night Witches (c.1940, Russia)

    This all-female civilian volunteer unit of the WW2 Soviet military overcame a lack of training, equipment, and faith to pull off one of the greatest underdog feats in human history and in so doing become Germany's worst nightmare.

  2. Kharboucha (19th century Moroccan legend)

    This legendary pockmarked poet sang truth to power and was killed for it, becoming an enduring symbol of resistance.

  3. Marguerite de la Rocque (mid-16th century, Canada/France)

    Stranded by her cruel relative on an abandoned Canadian island (literally named the Isle of Demons), she survived for two years by hunting animals and eventually made it back to France.

  4. Empress Myeongseong (1851-1895, Korea)

    Picked to be an impotent figurehead, this savvy intellectual quickly learned how to play politics and modernized the nation to ward off invasion.

  5. Micaela Bastidas (1741-1781, Peru/Bolivia)

    The strident partner of the eponymously-named Tupac Amaru Rebellion of native peoples against the Spanish, she handled army and bureaucratic logistics with an unmatched efficiency.

  6. Neerja Bhanot (1963-1986, India)

    When hijackers boarded her plane, this 23-year-old flight attendant gave her life to save the lives of hundreds.

  7. Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1653, Italy)

    One of the greatest painters of the baroque, she revenged herself on her rapist both in the court of law and in her powerful, grotesque, incredibly popular paintings that depicted his gruesome death.

  8. Caterina Sforza (1463-1509, Italy)

    The illegitimate and widowed child of a minor noble, she became one of the most powerful and outrageous women in Italy, commanding troops, insulting Machiavelli, and fighting Cesare Borgia with unmatched ferocity.

  9. Arawelo (c.15 CE, Somalia)

    Somalia's ballsiest queen, she took power from men either figuratively or literally - by ordering much of the gender castrated. Hero or villain, depending on who's doing the telling, she remains one of Africa's most divisive figures.

  10. Malinche (c.1496-1529, Mexico/Aztec Empire)

    Sold into sexual slavery to Hernan Cortes, this maligned woman became his interpreter, and it was with her words that the Aztec Empire fell.

  11. Phoolan Devi (1963-2001, India)

    Born into the lowest rung of the caste system, this woman put decades of horrific abuse to an end by starting a bandit gang, laying waste to those who preyed on the less-fortunate, and getting a reputation as an incarnation of the goddess of destruction. After she gave herself up and spent some time in prison, she got out, ran for parliament, and won.

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