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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.
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.
Sonya Golden Hand
Russia's greatest female thief was so slippery that even once she was re-captured after escaping from a Siberian prison, nobody was totally sure it was her.
Chaste and virtuous woman spends life assuming she's better than her more sex-positive neighbor, and for this haughtiness becomes in…
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.
When horse-riding Spaniards invaded, she defied her tribe to befriend one of the abandoned horses, using her new bond to fight off the Spanish.
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.
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.
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.
This heroine of South America and Italy fought in numerous civil wars alongside her husband, Giuseppe Garibaldi, often while pregnant…