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1920s Afghanistan was a progressive and rapidly-modernizing country in large part to the most powerful, empathic, and maligned queen it had ever seen.
She traded a life of privilege for one spent fighting for justice on both literal and political battlefields so tirelessly that even exiling her five times couldn't keep her down.
Once upon a time, there was a lesbian Wild West abortion doctor. She once horsewhipped a guy in the face and was tossed in San Quentin Prison for sedition. To the surprise of no one, she lived in Portland.
A phenomenally successful archaeologist who became a fashion icon for wearing men's clothing.
When she was told to "go do women's work" after upstaging the medical community in her treatment of Hodgkin's disease, Dr. Vera Peters revolutionized breast cancer treatment through years of painstaking, meticulous work.
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 legendary pockmarked poet sang truth to power and was killed for it, becoming an enduring symbol of resistance.
Bisexual cross-dressing spy princess of the Qing dynasty - a hero to some and unspeakable villain to others.
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.
This Sikh warrior saint led 40 deserters back into battle and in so doing, possibly saved her entire religion from extinction.
When a neighboring tribe threatened the Yoruba, this queen went undercover as a spy to find their weakness.
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.