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When the end of an era was at hand, this samurai woman refused to go gently.
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.
The first Japanese woman to go to college didn't have a choice. But the experience changed her - and she changed Japan in return.
The "Last of the Aboriginal Tasmanians" (she wasn't) used brains, brawn, and sheer will to carve a place for herself, even as the world was collapsing around her.
One of the most infamous libertines of the Renaissance, she cavorted all over Europe to flee her abusive marriage, lived…
To save an oncoming passenger train, this 15-year-old girl climbed across a collapsing bridge, with nothing but flashes of lightning to keep her from falling to her death in the flooding river below -- a river that had already killed her father.
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.
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.
This unlikely heroine created her own Woman's Army of 70,000 soldiers through good manners and political savvy - and then used it to overthrow one of China's greatest douchebags.
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.