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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.
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.
This mythical Native American woman saved her loved ones from starvation with delicious magical leprosy - a fact that led to, shall we say, complications.
A phenomenally successful archaeologist who became a fashion icon for wearing men's clothing.
When the Tsar became hellbent on nailing down her gender, this clever gender-nonconforming heroine kept him guessing to the end.
Annie Jump Cannon
This astronomer threw off all the social conventions of her day to pursue her one true calling: the stars.
First her father died. Then her sons. Then her husband. Pregnant, saddled with debt, a failing company, and an overbearing mother, Rebecca Lukens rolled up her sleeves and showed the world what she was made of: iron.
A clever woman who rose from obscurity to become a political force, playing nations against each other to protect her people.
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.
This self-described "undutiful daughter" posed as a man to become the world's first female shipwright.