The last fluent speaker of her language, she's spent years preserving and teaching it to others.
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Sold into sexual slavery to Hernan Cortes, this maligned woman became his interpreter, and it was with her words that…
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.
Socialite turned sniper turned socialist politician - Ireland's first woman elected to office had quite a life.
After disguising herself as a man to be the physician women needed, she was put on trial - and won.
When her husband was killed by conquistadors, this native Chilean showed the Spanish what "fight like a woman" really means.
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.
Picked to be an impotent figurehead, this savvy intellectual quickly learned how to play politics and modernized the nation to ward off invasion.
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.
When invaders threatened her island home, she declared herself a living god, raised an army, and fought them tooth, nail, and occasional grenade.
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.