The Master List of Historical Women in Combat

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On a regular basis, readers will write in saying their family, friends, or colleagues are convinced women aren’t fit for combat.

Which drives me fucking insane, because women have been doing this for literally all of recorded history. So here’s a (totally non-comprehensive) list of women in combat roles going back to 1500 BCE. If someone starts on a “women can’t be in the military” rant, print this list out and start hitting them with it until they stop moving.

Some ground rules:

  • History is goddamn difficult. The texts we rely on are flakey, the historians imperfect, and the farther back you go, the more riddled with inaccuracies it can get.
  • I’m focusing on women in combat, not spies or people in command roles. Exceptions being leaders who went into combat — generals and the like.
  • I’m not a historian. I just read a lot. Most of y’all know this, but hey.
  • I haven’t done extensive research on most of these people; most of this is yanked from my to-research list.
  • Any number of these may be future Rejected Princess entries.
  • This is primarily a historical view on things. The most recent I’m willing to get on this is World War II – but if you can’t find examples of women in combat post-WW2, seek help.

 

Women in Combat Throughout the Ages

 

PRE-1ST CENTURY

 

Ahhotep I (16th century BCE): Egyptian queen who rallied troops against invaders, was merciful, got Order of the Fly

Fu Hao (13th century BCE): Chinese general who led up to 13,000 people in battle, defeated the Shang after many many battles

Chrysame (11th century BCE): killed entire legion of invaders using mad cow disease/LSD

Pantea Arteshbod (6th century): Persian commander of the Immortals, kept face covered so people wouldn’t fall in love with her [had a lot of trouble finding primary source on this one]

Telesilla (6th century BCE): poet who defended her town from invading Spartans

tomyris

Tomyris (5th century BCE): Massagetae queen who beheaded Cyrus the Great

Artemisia I (5th century BCE): naval commander who helped Xerxes attack the greeks, had 10,000 drachma bounty

Sela (5th century BCE): Princess who became a pirate, had to be put down for good of kingdom

Yuenü (5th century BCE): Chinese warrior who was hired by king to train his warriors

Onomaris (4th century BCE): Galatian woman who led starving people to new land, kicking the ass of local inhabitants along way

Teuta (3rd century BCE): Illyrian pirate queen

Chilonis (3rd century BCE): Spartan princess who appeared in Senate with a sword, urged women to battle, fought w/rope around neck so could commit suicide instead of being taken alive

Arachidamia (3rd century BCE): Spartan queen; led women in siege of Lacedaemon

Amage (2nd century BCE): Took reins from lazy husband, rushed a Scythian prince and murdered his ass

 

1ST CENTURY-9TH CENTURY

boudica

Boudica (1st century CE): killed 80,000 Romans and burnt London to the ground

Trung Nhi and Trung Trac (1st century CE): Vietnamese martial artist sisters who drove out Chinese and ruled as queens

Phung Thi Chinh (1st century CE): Woman who fought alongside the Trung sisters, gave birth while doing so, carried newborn and sword at same time

Le Chan (1st century CE): Another noblewoman who fought alongside Trung sisters

Arawelo (1st century CE): Somali queen who hung rapists by their testicles, won war with all female army

Gualim (1st century CE): heroine of the Karakalpak epic “Kyrk Kyz” (“Forty Maidens”, got forty women to become warriors). Fought the invader Nadir Shah.

Trieu Thi Trinh (3rd century CE): Vietnamese warrior against Chinese rule; purportedly nine feet tall and monstrously strong

zenobia

Zenobia (3rd century CE): Syrian queen who rebelled successfully against Romans, became gold standard for “strong woman” for centuries thereafter

Mavia (4th century CE): Syrian warrior queen who defeated Romans; more successful (but less well-known) double of Zenobia’s story

Princess Aspas (4th century CE): Commander of Persian police forces, name means “Guard of strength.” [had trouble tracking down primary source on this one]

Kawlah bint al-Azwar al-Kind’yya (7th century CE): Black knight who led army of women for Muhammad

Apranik (7th century CE): Persian commander for Sasanian/Sassanid Empire; continued with guerilla warfare after empire fell to Arabs

Dihya al-Kahina (7th century CE): Queen of the Imazighen, united them to fight against Muslim invaders

Hind al-Hunnud (7th century CE): Fought early Muslims, ate foes’ liver

pingyang

Princess Pingyang (7th century CE): Military commander for Chinese emperor, led army of women in battle

A’ishah (7th century CE): One of Muhammad’s wives, took control in battle of the camel

Umm ‘Umara (7th century CE): Took up shield and defended Muhammad in early battles

Wanda of Poland (8th century CE): Warrior princess who either committed suicide to prevent her own marriage, or who inspired others to do so

Banu Khorramdin (9th century CE): Persian freedom fighter, fought with husband against Abbasid Caliphate for 23 years, heroine of Iran

Aethelflaed (9th century CE): Mercian woman who drove out the Vikings, great strategist

Aud the Deep-Minded (9th century CE): Viking pirate princess who was one of the first settlers of Iceland.

 

10TH-12TH CENTURY

Gwenllian Ferch Gruffydd (12th century CE): Welsh martyr, name became a battle shout

Aoife MacMurrough (12th century CE): Irish queen, conducted battles (“Red Eva”), ancestor of many English and Scottish heroes

freydis

Freydís Eiríksdóttir (10th century CE): While pregnant, grabs a sword, faces down her attackers, and stabs herself in the chest to intimidate the Skrælingjar (Native Americans) into running away.

Saint Olga of Kiev (10th century CE): Buried opponents alive, killed invaders using pigeons to commit arson

Matilda of Canossa (11th century CE): Defender of the pope; led armies into battle, accomplished archer, made kings kneel before her

Adelaide of Susa (11th century CE): burned down city of Asti twice; possibly fought in armor to defend her father’s lands as a teenager (haven’t found source for that), enemy of Matilda of Canossa

gudit

Gudit (10th century CE): Semi-legendary queen who laid waste to Axum, Beta Israeli (Ethiopian)

Hallgerd the Petty (11th century CE): Slighted at wedding, ends up murdering everyone

Rusla and Stikla (11th century CE): Fearsome Viking pirates, considered most cruel of all warrior Norse women

Sikelgaita (11th century CE): Lombard princess who conducted sieges in full armor, tried to poison her stepson

Yang family generals (11th century CE): Chinese legends/novels (and many, many adaptations) of family in Song dynasty; women take up fighting after their husbands die. Mu Guiying particularly famous

Liang Hongyu (12th century CE): Made into slave, then bought herself free and became fearsome general of her own accord

tamar

Tamar of Georgia (12th century CE): Wore armor into battle, expanded Georgia’s borders enormously and brought in country’s golden age, defeated shitty ex-husband in battle twice

Yennenga (12th century CE): African queen who was so skilled a fighter that her father refused to let her marry; founder of Burkina Faso

Blenda (12th century CE): Swedish Viking hero who killed many Danes

Tomoe Gozen (12th century CE): Samurai warrior who fought at battle of Awazu, beheaded at least one person, was fearsome enough to make samurai flee to maintain their honor

Order of the Hatchet (12th century CE): order of female knights given to the women of the town of Tortosa, who defended against a Moorish siege

 

13TH-15TH CENTURY

 

khutulun

Khutulun (13th century CE): undefeated Mongolian wrestler princess, fearsome soldier, favorite of her father’s

Töregene Khatun (13th century CE): Took over lands from her late husband, led wars like a boss, had Muslim woman Fatima as second in command

Hangaku Gozen (13th century CE): Samurai warrior famed for her skill with a naginata

Koman (13th century CE): Minamoto samurai who saved the clan banner by swimming to shore with it in her teeth, while under attack by boat

Rudrama Devi (13th century CE): Raised as man, took throne in midst of war, kept the peace through force, executed traitors, Marco Polo thought she was great

jeanne de clisson

Jeanne de Clisson (14th century CE): French noblewoman who went on revengetastic murder spree after husband was killed

Black Agnes aka Agnes Rudolph (14th century CE): Defended against a siege. When the walls were catapulted, she dressed up her maids and went out to tauntingly dust the damage off. When the attacked tried to batter down the door, she dropped the boulders that had been catapulted at her.

Tribhuwana Wijayatunggadewi (14th century CE): Javanese queen, led armies into war and famously expanded borders of Majapahit massively

Agnes Hotot (14th century CE): When her father fell ill and couldn’t duel, she went in disguise in his stead and beat the opponent. Then stripped off breastplate to reveal it was her, resulting in awesome coat of arms.

Marzia Ordelaffi aka Marzia Ubaldini, Cia degli Ordelaffi, Cia degli Ubaldini (14th century CE): dressed in armor and fought with soldiers to defend against papal siege

Jane, countess of Mountfort (14th century CE): Personally defended her duchy on land and sea; once charged through an enemy camp to get home

Jeanne Hachette (15th century CE): Badass French axe-wielder who defended her town

Marguerite de Bressieux (15th century CE): Raped along w 11 others; forms 12-person black knight revenge corps, is TERRIFYING

Joan of Arc (15th century CE): Duh.

 

16TH CENTURY

Sayyida al Hurra:  Islamic pirate queen, married King of Morocco, king went to her to get married

Grace O’Malley: Irish pirate queen, constantly got into fights, led rebellions, thrown in jail

Mandukhai Khatun:  United Khans, gave birth to twins during a fight and kept going.

Amina: Nigerian warrior queen who claimed, then killed, lovers from the conquered

Abbakka Chowta:  Fought off Portuguese from Goa for 40 years, first woman freedom fighter of India

Chand Bibi:  Indian muslim woman warrior, defended Ahmednagar against Mughal emperor Akbar

Kenau Simonsdochter Hessaeler:  Led defense of Haarlem (Netherlands) against Spanish by tossing burning tar onto soldiers, led army of 300 women

Madame de Saint-Baslemont:  the Christian Amazon; led peasants & vassals to fight defensive skirmishes during 30 Years’ War

Komatsuhime: when defector dad came back to her house, she confronted him in full armor and told him to GTFO

Sri Suriyothai:  Died saving her husband and daughter, while on war elephant in armor; Thai

tsuruhime

Tsuruhime Ohori: Fought off Ouchi invaders at age 16

Aqualtune:  Angolan princess who led Brazilian revolts, escaped slavery while pregnant

Durgavati:  Fought off multiple invasions from outside forces, finally fell to Moghuls

Unniyarcha:  Legendary Indian martial artist, saved women from being kidnapped

Inés de Suárez: Spanish conquistadora who built Santiago, saved it from invasion, decapitated 7 people in its defense

María de Estrada: Conquistadora who armed like a man, impaled Indians with her lance

María Pita: Spanish heroine, held against siege of Corunna in 1589

La Niña de la Hueca: Traveling swords-wielding policewoman (encapado) living in Chancay valley near Peru

Marie-Christine de Lalaing: Princess of Espinoy, held down fort against Spain for 2 months, bore cuirass and battle-ax

Gaboimilla: Leader of Peruvian amazon tribe that fled conquistadors and set up in the jungle

Malahayati: Indonesian naval general, first in world after Artemisia I, well-respected, led “Widow’s Armada,” made English negotiate actual peace instead of invasion

 

17TH CENTURY

nzinga

Nzinga Mbande: led people of Ndongo in guerilla wars against Portuguese for 4 decades, won

Veronica I of Matamba: Successor to Nzinga, also waged a lot of war

Rui Sasaki: Swordmaster of Edo Japan who would fight street gangs while dressed outlandishly

Ilona Zrinyi: Hungarian noblewoman who was left to defend a castle by herself for three years while pregnant; national heroine

Lin Siniang: prostitute-turned-princess; trained harem in martial arts, making female army who would later rescue the king

Qin Liangyu: Ming dynasty general who fought against the Manchu who would establish the Qing dynasty; sold her belongings to raise an additional 3000 troops

catalinadeerauso

Catalina de ErausoGot into nonstop knife fights while posing as man through south America, received permission from the pope to crossdress

Suke Kaway Istana: Indonesian all-female palace guard under Meurah Ganti and Cut Meurah Inseuen

Hannah Duston:  captured by Native Americans, killed & scalped ten of her captors to escape; first American woman with a statue

Charlotte, countess of Derby: Better soldier than her husband, made humiliating last-minute defeat of besieging captain

Jacquotte Delahaye: Caribbean pirate; at one point faked her death, lived for years as a man, then came back, so was known as “Back from the Dead Red”; took over an island & died defending it

Tarabai: Queen who kept resistance against Mughal invasion going, led group of warrior women in special saris

Anne Dieu-la-Veut: French pirate and buccaneer

maibhago

Mai BhagoSikh warrior saint, only survivor of massively bloody battle of Khidrana

Bibi Dalair Kaur: led 100 female Sikhs against Moghuls, died, is martyr

Ana Lezama de Urinza and Eustaquia de Sonza: the Valiant Ladies of Potosi, two teenage vigilantes who would fight evildoers at night; possibly fictional

Nazo Tokhi: Afghan warrior, poet, and peace negotiator. “Mother of Afghan Nationalism.”

Belawadi Mallamma: First woman to form a womens’ army against British and Marathas

juliedaubigny

Julie d’Aubigny aka La Maupin: Aggressively bisexual sword-slinging, opera-singing, nun-romancing badass

Dandara: Capoeira expert, wife of Zumbi & leader of quilombos who fought the Portuguese. See also Aqualtune

Alyona:  Former Russian nun who tried conquering town in Peasants Revolt; was burnt at stake; famed for bravery in battle + interrogation

Prajurit Estri: Javanese corps of women who guarded the palace

Gao Guiying: led revolution against Ming Dynasty with husband; empress of short-lived Shun Dynasty; when husband killed, allied with Southern Ming Dynasty to fight the Manchurian Qing Dynasty

Shen Yunying: when father killed, roused citizens to defeat attackers; took over from her father as Ming Dynasty general

 

18TH CENTURY

Yim Wing Chun: When bully tried forcing her to marriage, used martial arts to subdue him; improved the style massively; forebear of Bruce Lee and Ip Man

Nanny of the Maroons: Led escaped slaves in Jamaica into large guerilla army; national hero

Begum Samru: Only Catholic queen of India, led mercenary army, so insanely rich that inheritance is disputed to modern day

Rani Velu Nachiyar: One of the first Indian queens to fight British, invented human bomb, formed woman’s army

Christian Davies: Fought in army disguised as man for thirteen years in search of her husband

Gabriela Silang: Filipina revolutionary

Thao Suranari: Got invading soldiers drunk, led rebellion of prisoners, gave kitchen knives to soldiers

Thao Trep Kasattri: Dressed as man, held off invaders for 5 weeks along with sister

Bui Thi Xuan: Vietnamese general who was so awesome when she was defeated, her enemies ate her to gain her courage

Mkabayi kaJama: Obsessively looked after Zululand by assassinating improper rulers, including Shaka Zulu

Keladi Chennama: Queen of Karnataka, last holdout against Mysore and British; beat Aurangzeb

Bartolina Sisa: Aymara woman who led indigenous uprising in Bolivia, laying siege to La Paz for 6 months

Micaela Bastidas: Fearsome wife of Tupac Amaru who managed all logistics for rebellion, would often fight herself

Gregoria Apaza: Aymara woman who helped lead uprising alongside Bartolina Sisa

Kurusa Llawi: Aymara (native Bolivian) woman who helped lead uprising with her husband

Queen Esther Montour: Mixed Iroquois warrior who killed 14+ Americans in recompense for death of her son, was likely misunderstood and largely peaceful

onakeobavva

Onake ObavvaWhen husband went to lunch, killed upwards of 100 men with a pestle

Anne Bonny and Mary Read: Pirates that people won’t stop mailing me about.

Deborah Sampson: Disguised self as man to fight in US revolutionary war

Hannah Snell: Brit disguised as man, became soldier, was shot a LOT, ran a pub

Margaret Corbin: Fought in US revolutionary war; fired cannon until the last, first woman to get a pension

Toypurina: Native American woman who tried staging revolt against Spaniards; Joan of Arc of California

Ann Mills: Disguised herself as man to become a dragoon/pirate

Ulricka Eleonora Stalhammar: Crossdresssing soldier who took a wife, was tried for lesbianism

Rose Lacombe: Led womens brigade during French Revolution, orator, given city crown, starts local business

Hanifa: Niece of Saladin, daughter of al-Malik al-‘Adil, led an army at one point? Nearly impossible to google. May be Dayfa Khatun.

Manuela Beltran: incited Colombian revolt against excessive taxation.

Tomasa Tito Condemayta: Peruvian-Incan woman who fought with Tupac Amaru, leading a battalion of women

Ghaliyya al-Wahhabiyya: Led military movement in Saudi Arabia to defend Mecca against foreigners

Wang Cong’er: Chinese rebel, led the White Lotus rebellion

Dahomey Amazons: Terrifying all-female elite warrior corps of kingdom of Dahomey; would file down teeth to sharp points, made French soldiers piss themselves

Women of Groton: Small American militia who held a bridge for some time and captured people who came by.

 

19TH CENTURY

Fatma N’Soumer: Algerian rebel against France, Joan of Arc of Kabylie

Anita Garibaldi: Brazilian who fought alongside husband Giuseppe in revolutions across south America and Italy

Hanging Cloud: supposedly the only female full warrior of the Ojibwe

Albert Cashier: Irish-born union soldier who fought and lived as a man his whole life

Julia Banyai: Hungarian spy/soldier who fought in Transylvanian independence war

Rani Lakshmibai: Indian rebel queen of 1857 uprising who fought with child strapped to back

Jhalkaribai: Dalit warrior under Lakshmibai, at one point pretended to be Lakshmibai to let her escape

Melchora Aquino: 84-year-old filipina revolutionary

Kurmanjan Datka: Kyrgyzstani queen who united country, limited Russian rule, shown on their currency, has awesome action movie

Yaa Asantewaa: African Queen-Mother of the Asante, led the War of the Golden Stool rebellion against British colonialism

Maria Remedios del Valle: Argentinian military leader under Spanish rule, afro-argentinian, Nov 8 holiday in her name; she and her daughters are “the Maidens of Ayohuma” after battle they participated in

Policarpa Salavarrieta: Colombian spy/revolutionary, died VERY young

Juana Azurduy de Padilla: Revolutionary who worked to free both Argentina and Bolivia, fought while pregnant, lost four sons and husband to the conflict

Juana Galan: 20-year-old Spanish barmaid, who organized women to repel French invaders with boiling water and a baton

oshtisch

Osh-TischCrow two-spirit whose name means “Finds Them And Kills Them” – crackshot with a rifle

The Other Magpie: Crow woman who carried a knife into a gunfight, and won. (see Osh-Tisch entry)

Emmeline Pankhurst: Militant suffragette who punched, kicked, threw rocks, burnt buildings, had 30-woman strong jujitsu master bodyguard just to get the vote

Laskarina Bouboulina: Born in prison, became naval commander, heroine of Greek War of independence

Malalai of Maiwand: Afghan Joan of Arc, fought off British, namesake of Malala Yousafzai

Qiu Jin: Chinese suffragette, studied martial arts and was firebrand, tortured and killed

Takeko Nakano: Naginata-wielding seppuku-doing badass

Yaeko Yamamoto: 1800s gunnery expert who wore pants in the family

Tjoet Nja Dhien aka Cut Nyak Dhien: Indonesian muslim aristocrat who waged guerilla war against invading Dutch for decades, daughter continued in her shoes

Carlota Lukumi: Cuban slave, led armed uprisings against plantations for a year, drawn and quartered

Mary Fields: 6′ tall, smoked cigars, wielded shotgun, “Stagecoach Mary”

Matilda Newport: Deported African-American who saved Liberian town and became complex heroine/villain in Liberian history

Loreta Janeta Velasquez: Funded own infantry, fought for union and confederacy, had shit luck with husbands

Maria Quiteria: Brazilian lieutenant, served in wall of independence; Brazilian Joan of Arc

Gouyen: Apache woman who tracked down her husband’s murderer, infiltrated his camp, and stabbed him to death.

Lozen: Apache prophetess and warrior who once killed a longhorn with a knife because shooting it would’ve been too noisy.

Dahteste: Apache warrior, translator, messenger & negotiator for Geronimo; longtime friend of Lozen

Running Eagle: Blackfoot warrior chieftan.

chingshih

Ching ShihProstitute turned incredibly successful pirate

Tarenorerer: Indigenous Australian, fought off invading British

Pine Leaf / Woman Chief: Crow warrior; supposedly swore to kill 100 people before marrying after her twin brother was killed; took four wives, possibly Two-Spirit?

Mochi: Cheyenne woman who, when attacked by rapist US soldier, shot him, then spent 11 years fighting the US; only female native POW

constancemarkievicz

Constance MarkieviczIrish revolutionary and politician, sold jewelry to fund revolution,shot a sniper in the face, “Dress suitably in short skirts and strong boots, leave your jewels in the bank and buy a revolver.”

Eliza Allen: After being denied marriage by parents, runs away, has adventures, fights in Mexican-American war

Emilia Plater: Armed hundreds of peasants with war scythes, led rebellion, kept uniform on; Lithuanian Joan of Arc

Flora Sandes: Serbian war nurse and soldier, given highest decorations, sworn virgin (asexual), wounded by grenade

Frances Hook: enlisted in the Union army as female AND underage; when discovered and kicked out, re-enlisted somewhere else. After getting captured she impressed the Confederacy so much they tried to recruit her

Molly Pitcher: Kept bringing water to US revolutionaries, took up arms herself. aka Mary Ludwig, Mary McCauley, Ludwig Hays

Pearl Hart: Wild West bandit, had a wild life

Sarah Emma Edmonds: Crossdressed through entire civil war to fight for the north, disguised self in blackface and other disguises

Sarah Pritchard: Crossdressed to serve in Confederate army, deserted to union

Malinda Blalock: Fought in civil war first as confederate, then as yankee – became marauder alongside husband

Gregoria Montoya y Patricio: Filipina revolutionary, tried to avenge her husband, general who led 30 men

Mamea: Tahitian queen who fought off French invaders, aka Queen of Huaheme and Queen of Raiatea

Teresa Magbanua: Filipina general, financed war by selling all her stuff

Trinidad Tecson: Filipina rebel; survived fatal wounds numerous times.

Ma Ying Taphan: Thai Amazon chieftan, name means Great Mother of War, her devotees were addicted to duels to the death

Luiza Mahin: street vendor who used her cart to organize uprisings of slaves in Brazil

Nehanda Nyakasikana: Spirit medium who led Zimbabwe against colonialists in war

sarraounia

SarraouniaWestern African warrior queen who successfully fended off French

Amelio Robles: Went from woman (Amelia) to male Amelio, to fight in the Mexican Revolution.

Manuela Pedraza: fought to retake Buenos Aires from British; when husband fell in battle, she killed the soldier who did it and picked up husband’s gun to fight

Buffalo Calf Road: Cheyenne warrior, performed Hollywood-style rescue of her brother; The Battle Where the Girl Saved Her Brother named after her. Also continued fighting even after surrender, even while pregnant

Colestah: Yakama medicine woman, psychic, and warrior; went to war, nursed husband during battle

Anna Etheridge: Rode into Union battles repeatedly, handled shellshock with grace

Louise Michel: “Red Virgin” – French Communard, defended against Prussian invaders, set half of Paris on fire

Maria Lebstuck: Hungarian revolutionary soldier, gave birth in prison, dramatized in opera

Nadezhda Durova: Disguised self as man, became distinguished cavalry officer, was thrown out of carriage as baby

Sadie the Goat: Headbutted people to mug them in alleyways. American gangster and river pirate

Marie-Therese Figeur: served openly in French Army for 22 years, through the French Revolution & Napoleonic era, nicknamed “Unconstrained”

Vilma Beck: Hungarian spy and freedom fighter

Agueda Kahabagan: Legendary Filipina revolutionary, little known about her, Tagalog Joan of Arc

Paulina Pfiffner: Hungarian revolutionary soldier, disguised herself as a man

Cathay Williams: first African-American woman to enlist in US army

 

20TH CENTURY

(a note: so many frickin’ women started fighting in the 20th century, there is no way in hell this is a comprehensive list, even up to WW2. Consider more of a breezy overview of some notable characters)

petra

Petra HerreraMexican soldadera revolutionary who disguised self as man; one of many many active-duty soldaderas

Marie Marvingt: Fought hip-deep in mud, invented first flying ambulance, piloted planes, biked Tour de France (unofficially, since women weren’t allowed), invented new kinds of surgical sutures, only person ever to win a gold medal for “all sports” – possibly the most accomplished person in human history

Nancy Wake: Overwhelmingly competent WW2 resistance leader, killed a German guard with a single karate chop to the neck, executed a women who had been spying for the Germans, shot her way out of roadblocks and biked 70 hours through perilous Nazi checkpoints to deliver radio codes for the Allies.

liwayway

Kumander Liwayway aka Remedios Paraiso-Gomez: Led 100 men to battles, would come hair, manicure nails, and apply lipstick before battle; Joan of Arc of the Philippines

mekatilili

Mekatilili wa MenzaAnti-colonialist freedom fighter in Kenya, escapes prison repeatedly, continues organizing wars into her 50s and 60s.

Phoolan Devi: Bandit Queen, became politician, enacted revenge, was killed out of revenge

Lydia Litvyak: Soviet fighter pilot ace, flew 168 missions; see also the rest of the Night Witches

Andree de Jongh: Ran Belgian resistance in WW2, worked in African leper hospitals after, “Little Cyclone”

Rose Kabuye: Highest-ranking woman in Rwandan military history; VA mental health advocate; successful politician

Joice Mujuru: Zimbabwe politician, downed a helicopter with a machine gun! Named “spill blood”, possibly corrupt

Teurai Ropa Nhongo: Name means The Blood Spiller, guerrilla fighter in 70s who fought days after giving birth, later took office

mariya

Mariya Oktyabrskaya: when husband was killed by Nazis, sold belongings, bought a tank, named tank Fighting Girlfriend, started killing Nazis

Alexandra Boikolike Oktyabrskaya, bought a tank with her husband so she could kill Nazis; when commander wouldn’t let her fight, she rode on motorcycle for 12 hours searching for her tank

Nieves Fernandez : Filipina guerilla leader (ex-schoolteacher); killed 200 Japanese w/homemade guns; had large bounty; survived war with just a flesh wound

Soraya Tarzi: Tibetan nun who led armed uprising against China, fled to meet Dalai Lama, Tibetan Joan of Arc

Wu Shuqing: organized female regiment in Chinese 1911 Xinhai Revolution

Hannah Szenes: Hungarian Jew parachuted into Yugoslavia to help evacuate Jews

Hermine Braunsteiner: German psychopathic officer, first Nazi extradited from US, “The Stamping Mare”

Tringe Smajl Martini aka Yanitza: Freedom fighter against Ottomans; became sworn virgin; Albanian Joan of Arc

Hannie Schaft: Dutch WW2 resistance fighter; ended up teasing her executioner by saying she could shoot better

Lorena Barros: Intellectual filipina revolutionary; fought while pregnant; tortured into miscarriage; died when refused medical attention in exchange for info

Muhumusa: Ugandan rebel against Germans, British passed Witchcraft act in response

las mariposas

Las Mariposas3 Dominican revolutionary sisters (the 4th, Dedé, lived to 2014)

Maria Rosa: 15-year-old girl who led 6000 men in Contestado War

Miriam Muhammas: Eritrean conscript (along with 12,000 others), started women’s VA, at time Eritrea was the most female-heavy army in world

lyudmila pavlichenko

Lyudmila PavlichenkoSoviet sniper with 309 confirmed kills, toured the world advocating for peace. See also the Belorussian Front Sniper Squad.

Eugenie Shakhovskaya: First female Russian aviator, did recon, was an actual princess, became executioner for the Bolsheviks and died of messy circumstances

Ilona Toth: Hungarian revolutionary, nurse, athlete, skydiver, fencer, nurse, sacrificed self to save others

Maria Bochkareva: Made 2000-woman shaved-head woman army in WWI (Battalion of Death)

James Barry aka Miranda Stuart: inspector general of Canadian hospitals, found out was woman posthumously

Pearl Witherington: SOE agent, fought 2000 germans, captured 18,000, was snarky about awards

Roza Shanina: WWII sniper

Elaine Mordeaux: French WW2 resistance commander; unit killed 3000 Nazis and 100 vehicles in an hour, died tossing dynamite at them

Mildred Harmack: Wisconsin housewife who ended up leading German resistance against Hitler, only woman to be personally executed by the man

Jin Xing: transgender colonel in Chinese army, trained ballerina, appears in Tom Yum Goong

Comandante Ramona: fought in Zapatista Uprising

Mariana Dragescu: Romanian medical pilot during WW2, last surviving member of the White Squadron

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1077th Anti-Aircraft Regiment: squadron of teenage girls who used anti-aircraft guns to hold off Germans for two days

Milunka Savic: Most decorated female soldier in history

Vela Krylova: Russian WW2 nurse who took charge of everything, kicked, punched, and commandeered artillery in her rise to fame

Hazel Ying Lee: Chinese-American pilot, flew in WWII, strong-willed and intensely capable

Lai Choi San: possibly fictional pirate; reputed to have 40,000 followers. Model for “Dragon Lady” stereotype

Hor Lhamo: Tibetan woman who complained about taxes; when rejected, raised army and took over province

Celia Sanchez: large part in Cuban Revolution

Berthe Fraser: headed French underground in WW2; tortured, former housewife

Olga Benario Prestes: German Jewish communist; bodyguard and lover of Prestes as they fought against dictatorial governor of Brazil; died in Nazi concentration camp

Vo Thi Sau: Vietnamese martyr, killed a bunch of French soldiers and then was executed at 19

Yun Hui-sun: After Empress Myeongseong was killed by the Japanese, she rallied a womens’ militia group to fight them off, sheltered troops; Korean

Lakshmi Sahgal: “Captain Lakshmi”; OB/GYN who led all-female “Rani of Jhansi” regiment in WW2

Yevdokiya Zavaliy: “Frau Black Death”, she joined WWII while underage and eventually commanded her own platoon. Wounded four times and awarded forty medals.