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Nancy WakeThis most-wanted WW2 spy rescued Jews and POWs, blew up Nazi trains, and used an X-rated radio rhyme to identify herself to Britain.
Luisa CapetilloIn 1915, this rowdy Puerto Rican activist was arrested for wearing pants in public. It wouldn't be the last time she wore pants, or got arrested.
Mkabayi kaJamaOne of the most powerful women in Zulu history, this cursed princess did what was necessary to protect the realm.
TimocleaWhen a soldier raped her, this woman tossed him in a well and threw rocks at him until he died.
Vitka KempnerSpy, smuggler, saboteur, partisan: this Jewish woman refused to go like a lamb to the slaughter, and fought the Nazis tooth and nail... even after the war, when she, alongside others, poisoned thousands of Nazi POWs in a revenge plot.
Cornelia SorabjiOne of the first Indian women to practice law, she fought against -- and inside of -- a system that held no room for her.
Sarah BiffinBorn without arms or legs, this artist learned to write, sew, and paint with her mouth - and came to work for kings and queens.
Toregene KhatunAlthough her tribe was destroyed and she was forced into an unwanted marriage, this indomitable woman came to run the world's largest empire - with a woman as her companion.
Alakhai BekiThis Mongol stood up to the most fearsome man in the world and in so doing, prevented a genocide.
Anne Farquharson-MackintoshWhen the true king of the Scots came to reclaim the throne, this spirited woman went up against her husband to back her chosen sovereign.
Virginia HallThis "most dangerous of all spies" staged daring mountaintop escapes, prison breaks, and railway bombings -- all on her trusty wooden leg, codenamed "Cuthbert."
Mary PattenWhen her husband became deathly ill, this pregnant teen took the reins to become America's first female boat commander - all while fighting off a mutiny and keeping her husband alive.
AnacaonaWhen Columbus and his crew ravaged her land, this native Haitian poet gave all to keep the peace.
Ani PachenWhen China invaded her native land, this would-be monk put down her pacifist dreams and took up arms.
Marguerite de BressieuxWhen soldiers sexually assaulted her and others, this woman donned armor and got revenge.
Bessie StringfieldMotorcycling across America, making her living doing stunts and transporting secret government documents, this stand-out woman found family in places she didn't expect.
MercaderaWhen this Spanish merchant went out to pick cabbages, she stumbled upon an unusual kind of pest: a French knight.
Black AgnesWhen the English laid siege to her castle home, this Scottish woman bedeviled them until they gave up.
Sutematsu OyamaThe first Japanese woman to go to college didn't have a choice. But the experience changed her - and she changed Japan in return.
Takeko NakanoWhen the end of an era was at hand, this samurai woman refused to go gently.
AnahitThis Armenian folktale princess saved her hapless beau - by making him get a job.
Soraya Tarzi1920s Afghanistan was a progressive and rapidly-modernizing country in large part to the most powerful, empathic, and maligned queen it had ever seen.
AmanirenasWhen Rome set its eyes on her country, this one-eyed queen fought them tooth and nail, until they left her alone.
Kate Leigh and Tilly DevineAmerica had Al Capone. Sydney had Kate Leigh and Tilly Devine - who *hated* each other.
Vasilisa VasilyevnaWhen the Tsar became hellbent on nailing down her gender, this clever gender-nonconforming heroine kept him guessing to the end.
NafanuaWhen an oppressive regime threatened her home, this Samoan war goddess took matters into her own hands.
JanequeoWhen her husband was killed by conquistadors, this native Chilean showed the Spanish what "fight like a woman" really means.
WungalaWhen she came face-to-face with a great monster, this mother saved her child and herself through bravery, quick thinking, and great culinary skills.
NitocrisWhen her brother was killed, this pharaoh took her time cooking up revenge.
Isabella of FranceAfter years of neglect and abuse from her husband, this queen raised an army and took over England for herself.
Mary AnningWhen her father died, leaving her lower-class family in debt, this indomitable woman worked tirelessly and became one of history's greatest fossil collectors.
GouyenWhen an enemy killed her husband, this Apache woman broke the rules of her tribe to get revenge - and in so doing, became one of her tribe's greatest heroes.
Jeanne de ClissonWhen her husband was unjustly executed, this French noblewoman-turned-pirate became the terror of France.
Sor Juana Inés de La CruzThis brilliant poet rose from illegitimacy and poverty to become one of the luminaries of her age - until she flew too close to the sun.
TirgataoAbandoned and imprisoned, this real-life Amazon took back the life she had stolen away.
Lyudmila PavlichenkoWhen her beloved college of history was bombed by the Germans, this woman began a dark path that would see her become history's deadliest female sniper -- and one of Eleanor Roosevelt's best friends.
Taytu BetulThis stubborn empress led her native Ethiopia to do the unthinkable - defeat one of the major European powers in war.
Kate ShelleyTo save an oncoming passenger train, this 15-year-old girl climbed across a collapsing bridge, with nothing but flashes of lightning to keep her from falling to her death in the flooding river below -- a river that had already killed her father.
The Mirabal SistersWhen a cruel dictator ruined this Dominican Republic family, these sisters gave their lives to end his.
Jackie MitchellIn 1931, a seventeen-year-old girl struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in front of a crowd of thousands -- and then was benched into obscurity.
Sophie MorigeauThe only use this Canadian badass had for pretty pink bows was to adorn her own rib — which she amputated from her own body after an accident.
JuleidahWhen her father decided to marry her, this leather-clad princess embarked on one of the most bonkers Cinderella tales ever told.
Micaela AlmonesterAfter decades of gaslighting and emotional abuse at the hands of her in-laws, this iron-willed woman survived being shot four times point blank, won a separation from her husband, and became one of the most respected business icons in New Orleans.
Isabel Godin des OdonaisTo reunite with her husband, she went on a months-long trek through the jungle -- and was the only survivor.
Rosalind FranklinThe three men who accepted the Nobel Prize for "the most important scientific discovery of the 20th century" neglected to mention one thing: they owed much of their success to one brash, brilliant, and overlooked female scientist.
Stephanie St. ClairThis audacious black gangster fought the Italian mob for control of Harlem and won, taunting them in full-page newspaper ads as she went.
Onorata RodianiWhen an unrequited admirer began threatening her, this early fresco painter became one of history's first warrior artists.
Zenobia3rd century Rome had a major woman problem. Her name was Zenobia, and she took over a huge chunk of their empire in her brief and tumultuous career as rebel queen.
La LloronaMexico's infamous "weeping ghost" has many incarnations: a jilted widow, a slave princess, a milk addict, a coffee bag, and a pair of panties.
AmarideviTo ensnare the scheming ministers who were ruining her life, this princess used guile, cunning, and a sophisticated knowledge of civil engineering.
Freydís EiríksdóttirWhen attacked by Native Americans, this pregnant viking bared her chest, brandished a sword, and took them on by herself. And she won.
Rebecca LukensFirst 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.
Constance MarkieviczSocialite turned sniper turned socialist politician - Ireland's first woman elected to office had quite a life.
PingyangThis unlikely heroine created her own Woman's Army of 70,000 soldiers through good manners and political savvy - and then used it to overthrow one of China's greatest douchebags.
Nana MiriamWhen a firebreathing shapeshifting hippo menaced her people, this shaman faced it down in a magic battle - and then hurled it into space.
Mekatilili wa MenzaWhen colonial powers went too far, she rebelled in the most stylish way possible: dancing from town to town. It was surprisingly effective.
Princess PyeonggangThis princess held her father to his word in the most unexpected way: by demanding to marry the stupidest man in Korea.
Ida Laura PfeifferStarting her travels at 45 years old, this globetrotter became a worldwide sensation for going boldly where no woman had gone before.
Sonya Golden HandRussia'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.
Zelia NuttallThis single mom developed the field of Mexican archaeology, while fiercely protecting it from the sleazy and opportunistic.
SarraouniaThe "panther queen" of the Azna defeated some of the greatest villains of French colonial history through wits, cunning -- and possibly magic.
Manuela SáenzThis revolutionary heroine of South America kept a pet bear, a disembodied moustache, and a lifestyle that defied every convention possible.
Sigrid the HaughtyWhen some scrubs hit on her, she burnt them alive. When a king slapped her across the face, she obliterated his kingdom. Sigrid the Haughty was not to be messed with.
Banu GoshaspThis superhero of early Iranian mythology starred in her own stories, and plenty of them.
RiinaWhen flying cannibal ghosts kidnapped two women, there was no man that could save them. But there was a woman.
Kumander LiwaywayWhen the Japanese invaded the Philippines, this beauty queen traded face powders for explosive ones.
Nia Ngao Zhua PaThis Hmong morality tale shows how to be a good person, but it certainly takes some twists getting there.
Annie Jump CannonThis astronomer threw off all the social conventions of her day to pursue her one true calling: the stars.
Li ChiWhen a monster demanded teenage girl sacrifice, Li Chi saved herself, and was crowned princess for her troubles.
EréndiraWhen horse-riding Spaniards invaded, she defied her tribe to befriend one of the abandoned horses, using her new bond to fight off the Spanish.
ThákaneWhen her deadbeat brothers demanded the impossible, this South African princess carried through, and slayed a dragon.
MahendradattaThis Indonesian queen ruled wisely and justly in life, and was deified as the embodiment of all evil after her death. The story of why gets a bit complicated.
Isabelle EberhardtThis undefinable adventurer's life burnt bright but short: a wildcard of the Algerian revolution, she survived an assassination attempt by sabre, and died in a freak desert flood.
Tamar of GeorgiaSaint, sovereign, and fiercely independent woman, she quashed two rebellions from her ex-husband, expanded her nation's borders, and ushered in a golden age.
TruganiniThe "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.
ViśpálāThe first prosthetic limb in human civilization went to this ancient warrior queen. Or did it? The story is more complex than you might think.
Catalina de ErausoAfter escaping from a convent, this swashbuckler had the strength to chase her dreams: which were apparently to drink, fight, and womanize.
Tsuruhime OhoriWhen invaders threatened her island home, she declared herself a living god, raised an army, and fought them tooth, nail, and occasional grenade.
Onake ObavvaWhen enemies invaded her town while her husband was on lunch break, she grabbed a nearby pestle and saved the day by achieving the high score in soldier whack-a-mole.
Charlotte BadgerThe first European woman to end up in New Zealand, Charlotte Badger was part pirate, part adopted Maori, and part mom. Which part is which is somewhat lost to history.
SermerssuaqAn Inuit woman so strong nobody could even beat her lice in arm-wrestling, her story just gets stranger the closer you look.
Masako HojoWhen her shogun husband cheated on her, she raised an army and destroyed the other woman's house. Later she deposed her incompetent son to become the first nun to rule Japan.
IaraWhen this indigenous Brazilian warrior mermaid proved too awesome for her tribe, she just took up residence in the water, and started an aquatic harem of passers-by.
Hester Stanhope100 years before Lawrence of Arabia, this British woman traveled the Middle East by herself, surviving shipwrecks, plagues, and Bedouin attacks in the process.
Ranavalona IThis brutal sovereign's reign saw her outlaw clapping, pioneer death by feet-kissing, and design giant weaponized scissors - but are we only getting one side of the story...?
Naziq al-AbidShe 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.
GuditThis Jewish-Ethiopian warrior queen took the throne, ended a millennium-old biblical dynasty, and caused a break in Ethiopia's history that has not healed to this day - or did she...?
HypatiaThe 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.
BoudicaThis legendary warrior queen killed 70,000 Romans, burnt London to the ground, and became the most famous headhunter of all time - and to this day, Britain loves her for it.
La JaguarinaThis undefeated half-Spaniard fencer was a household name in the 1800s - only to vanish into retirement (and obscurity) when she ran out of people to fight.
TomyrisWhen the most powerful man in the world made plans on her country, she: turned down his marriage proposal, destroyed his armies, and defiled his head so famously that she became legend for centuries thereafter.
Ching ShihHeaded a squadron of 80,000 pirates, ruled the Chinese seas for two decades, and actually retired happily - but not before extorting a nice pension from the Chinese government.
ÉtaínMythological Irish princess who was turned into a worm, butterfly, and a pool of water; who induced the strangest pregnancy since Jesus; and who may hold the key to understanding Ireland's history.
Noor Inayat KhanPacifist Indian princess who gave up everything of herself to hold the line in occupied Paris during World War 2.
Julie d’AubignySword-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.
Shajar al-DurrMuslim 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.
Osh-TischThe last Crow nation baté (Two Spirit mystic) in history, she earned her name -- which means "Finds Them and Kills Them" -- by tirelessly fighting to preserve her way of life.
Ida B. WellsOne of the first anti-lynching advocates, she risked her life for decades to report on the truth when nobody would believe her.
Elisabeth BathoryPossibly 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.
Petra HerreraMexican revolutionary who bombed bridges, led hundreds of women into battle, and was instrumental in turning the tide of the war for the revolutionaries.
KhutulunThis undefeated warrior princess refused to marry unless her suitor could defeat her in wrestling - if he lost, he owed her 100 horses. In the end, she had 10,000 horses and no husband.
PentaWhen her brother of this fairytale princess decided to marry her, she warded him off by cutting off her own hands. Then she gave birth to a dog. It got weirder after that.
Mai BhagoThis Sikh warrior saint led 40 deserters back into battle and in so doing, possibly saved her entire religion from extinction.
Wu ZetianThe only female emperor of China in history, her ruthless rise to power makes Game of Thrones look like a day at the beach.
LolitaThe poster child for childhood abuse, nobody should ever make a kids' movie about her.
Mariya OktyabrskayaWhen her husband was killed in WW2, she sold all their belongings, bought a tank, named it Fighting Girlfriend, and started killing Nazis.
SitaAfter being saved from demonic forces, this legendary Indian princess is then subjected to endless purity tests by her own husband. She eventually puts an end to his questions in a manner that surprised everyone.
Nzinga MbandeWhen the Portuguese took the throne from her, this Angolan queen made a new one: out of her own servant. She then fled to the jungle, conquered a tribe of cannibals, and waged war on the Portuguese for so long that they gave up and left.
PasiphaëThis mythical queen gave birth to the minotaur and cursed her unfaithful husband with the world's weirdest magic STD -- but was her whole story just a smear campaign?
FredegundPossibly the most cartoonishly evil woman to have ever existed, this Merovingian queen was an endless source of assassination attempts - including, on one memorable occasion, her own young daughter.
Corn MaidenThis mythical Native American woman saved her loved ones from starvation with delicious magical leprosy - a fact that led to, shall we say, complications.
BelovedThe ghost of a tragically-murdered young child come back to haunt her mother in post-slavery America.
HatshepsutOne of the greatest pharaohs to ever live, she built up Egypt so much that a generations-long sustained effort to erase her from history couldn't do the trick.
Vera PetersWhen 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.
Velu NachiyarWith a dead husband and a hostile foreign country on her hands, this Indian queen did the unthinkable - turned her loyal servants into some of the first suicide bombers in recorded history.
Trinidad TecsonTurned into a revolutionary in middle age, this mother became one of the Philippines most heralded women.
Te Ao-KapurangiAbducted from her tribe, this Maori woman managed to save her kinsmen and stop a war - by straddling a roof and cramming the house underneath.
Susan la Flesche PicotteThe first Native American medical doctor endured back-breaking labor, years spent alone, and institutional racism to better the lives of her people.
Sojourner TruthWhen her kid was stolen from her, this ex-slave successfully sued to get him back; she then went on to become a forceful speaker for abolition across the United States.
Savitribai PhuleIn fighting the bias of the caste system to spread education, this woman brought knowledge to girls across India.
SacajaweaOne of the most famous women in American history, this hyper-capable Shoshone woman walked across America with a baby strapped to her back, in order to map it.
Sister Rosetta TharpeThe godmother of rock and roll, this black bisexual singer fused gospel and pop to blaze her own way across the Jim Crow-era south.
Pailadzo CaptanianAfter escaping the Armenian Genocide (by walking across the Syrian desert while pregnant), this woman went back into Armenia to rescue her sons, then made her way to America -- where she invented the recipe for Rice-a-Roni.
Olympias of MacedonThe much-maligned woman fought tooth and nail to position her son, Alexander, to become "the Great" - and herself in the process.
Mother Jones (Mary Harris Jones)This leader of the labor movement suffered imprisonment, defamation, and untold misery to battle against forces that most of us just take for granted.
Mother LuWhen a government magistrate unjustly killed her son, this unassuming middle-aged wife spent years raising an army to topple that same government.
Molly CraigThe daughter of an aboriginal woman and a white man, her race led her to be kidnapped by the Australian government - only for her to escape and walk across the continent to get home... twice.
Marsha P. JohnsonThis cheery godmother of trans civil rights masked a dark past of abuse.
Marie EquiOnce 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.
Madam C.J. WalkerAmerica's ostensible first female self-made millionaire was a black beauty magnate who did it all for her daughter.
Mandukhai KhatunDestined to be a mere political pawn, this Mongol queen rode into battle while pregnant, united the warring tribes, and was considered to be the second coming of Genghis Khan.
Labotsibeni Gwamile LaMdluliWhen her husband inadvertently sold the country to colonial forces, this queen spent the rest of her life getting it back.
Man-deok KimWhen famine hit Jeju island, where she'd been exiled since birth, this prostitute-turned-businesswoman spent her fortune to feed everyone.
Juana Azurduy de PadillaThis revolutionary (and mother of five) should have been the namesake of Bolivia - and that's the opinion of Simon Bolivar, the actual namesake of Bolivia!
JigonhsasehThis Native American clan mother brought together 5 tribes under the Haudenosaunee Confederacy - and helped make the document that inspired the United States Constitution.
Irena SendlerThis Polish nurse sacrificed her safety, her marriage, her very family to save 2500 Jewish children from the Warsaw Ghetto during the Holocaust.
Ilona ZrinyiWhen her rebel husband was imprisoned, she continued the movement - by holding a castle under siege for three long, lonely years.
Funmilayo Ransome-KutiThrough years of unrelenting protest, this Nigerian teacher felled a king, won women the right to vote, and taught all of Africa how to protest.
Fannie Lou HamerThis uneducated, impoverished activist suffered unbelievable abuse in her journey to be able to vote -- but that did not stop her.
Cut Nyak DhienWhen her (second) rebel husband was killed, this heroine of Indonesian revolution took over the fight against the Dutch.
Carolina Maria de JesusBrash, funny, and difficult, this mother of three wrote her way out of extreme poverty with her uncompromising look at Brazilian society - and was alternately lauded and berated for it.
Benazir BhuttoThe exiled daughter of a deposed ruler, she could have been a fairytale bridge between worlds - but fairy tales are not real. Benazir, whose name means "without flaw," was anything but.
Bella AbzugLoud, proud, uncompromising: this bold politician helped bring about Title IX, the Freedom of Information Act, and the Equal Rights Amendment - as well as much more.
Arwa al-SulayhiThe greatest ruler of Yemeni history, she defeated her numerous foes to usher the country into its golden age.
Angela JimenezTomboy, daughter, spy, soldier, foster mom, innkeeper, gold miner, nurse, activist; veteran: Angela Jimenez doesn't need a movie so much as a mini-series.
Ada BlackjackThe lone survivor of an ill-fated scientific expedition, this Inuit woman persevered for two years on a remote arctic island in order to get money to treat her ill son.
Neerja BhanotWhen terrorists hijacked her plane, she gave her life to save it, becoming the youngest recipient of India's highest honor.
Phoolan DeviThis "untouchable" woman ended decades of abuse by starting a bandit gang and avenging the lower castes. After some time in prison, she got out, ran for parliament, and won.
Sold into sexual slavery to Hernan Cortes, this maligned woman became his interpreter, and it was with her words that the Aztec Empire fell.
Somalia's ballsiest queen, she took power from men either figuratively or literally - by ordering much of the gender castrated. Hero or villain, depending on who's doing the telling, she remains one of Africa's most divisive figures.
Caterina SforzaThe illegitimate daughter of a minor noble, after losing her husband, she became one of the most powerful and fierce women in Italy - commanding troops, insulting Machiavelli, and fighting Cesare Borgia with unmatched ferocity.
One of the greatest painters of the baroque, she revenged herself on her rapist both in the court of law and in her powerful, grotesque, incredibly popular paintings that depicted his gruesome death.
The strident partner of the eponymously-named Tupac Amaru Rebellion of native peoples against the Spanish, she handled army and bureaucratic logistics with an unmatched efficiency. Cut Content: Tupac Amaru's Demands His demands were surprisingly minimal: he primarily wanted less enforced labor and a court closer to where he lived, so he wouldn't have to trek all the way out to Lima from the Andes.
Cut Content: Micaela's Graphic Death
Records say the Spanish cut out her tongue and then tried to use a garrote on her. Her neck proved too slender, however, so they used rope and then kicked her until dead. Tupac got off worse - after watching the executions of his family and having his tongue cut out, each of his hands and legs were tied to a different horse and he was literally pulled apart. In a shocking turn of events, the brutal slaughter of folk heroes did not achieve the desired goal of winning over the average Andean.
Empress MyeongseongPicked to be an impotent figurehead, this savvy intellectual quickly learned how to play politics and modernized the nation to ward off invasion.
Marguerite de la RocqueStranded by her cruel relative on an abandoned Canadian island (literally named the Isle of Demons), she survived for two years by hunting animals and eventually made it back to France.
This legendary pockmarked poet sang truth to power and was killed for it, becoming an enduring symbol of resistance.
Joan of Arc
The infamous teen girl who helped end the Hundred Years War and save France - but do you know how she got to such prominence? This book has an answer, and it involves another powerful woman, operating behind the scenes...
The Night WitchesThis all-female civilian volunteer unit of the WW2 Soviet military overcame a lack of training, equipment, and faith to pull off one of the greatest underdog feats in human history and in so doing become Germany's worst nightmare.
Bisexual cross-dressing spy princess of the Qing dynasty - a hero to some and unspeakable villain to others.
Qiu JinThis revolutionary martyred herself to help rid China of the Qing dynasty.
JezebelRoundly-despised and unfairly-maligned seductress of the bible who ran afoul of the wrong priests.
Joined her sister Hortense Mancini in escaping from an equally abusive marriage, making headlines (and trouble) all across Europe in the process.
One of the most infamous libertines of the Renaissance, she cavorted all over Europe to flee her abusive marriage, lived a hedonistic life, and wrote memoirs under her own name - all in an attempt to win herself a divorce.
MarjanaThe actual hero of the Ali Baba myth, this slave girl saves the titular character by singlehandedly dispatching the forty thieves - without him even knowing.
Emmeline PankhurstThis unassuming middle-aged woman became one of Britain's most notorious terrorists in her unyielding quest to win women the right to vote.
This heroine of South America and Italy fought in numerous civil wars alongside her husband, Giuseppe Garibaldi, often while pregnant or while carrying her children.
Princess CarabooThis phony Asian royalty fooled rural England for some time - but the truth she was hiding was far darker.
Khawlah bint al-AzwarWhen Byzantine forces captured her brother, this warrior poet donned the outfit of a black knight and went on a bloody rescue mission.
Amba/SikhandiWhen this princess had her life ruined by an unstoppable warrior, she: became a fervent ascetic for years and got a divine boon; killed herself to reincarnate faster; came back as a man; and killed the man who'd wronged her, in the stunning climax of the world's longest epic poem.
Alice B. ClementChicago detective whose crime-busting exploits grew so popular she had her own newspaper series and starred in her own movie.
Dhat al-HimmaSword-slinging Arabian heroine who stars as the heroine of an extremely long and entertaining epic tale.
Josephine BakerRose from dire poverty and violence to become the greatest black entertainer of all time - Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Angelina Jolie all rolled into one.
AgontimeThe world's fiercest all-female fighting force, and the incredible legend of how they rescued their deposed queen from slavery in Brazil.
Mata HariThis 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.
Olga of Kiev
Brutal princess-turned-Christian saint who burnt down enemy towns using pigeons.
A’isha bint abi Bakr
Independent, bold wife of the Prophet Muhammad, she led armies in the Battle of the Camel and was one of the central figures of the Shia/Sunni civil war that continues to this day. (Note: this entry's image follows Islamic artistic conventions to depict its figures respectfully)
Anne HutchinsonThis uneducated rebel preacher upstaged New England magistrates so much that they founded Harvard University in part to prevent women like her from gaining power.
Harriet TubmanEscaped slave turned slave rescuer turned plantation-torching Union spymaster, she was part Moses, part Joan of Arc, part Spider-Man.
Christine de PizanWhen 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.
Laskarina BouboulinaBorn in a prison cell, this revolutionary financed and led a large chunk of Greece's navy to victory in their fight for independence.
History's first computer programmer, who invented algorithms for the first computer - which didn't even exist during her lifetime, so she had to do it all in her head.
Wallada bint al-Mustakfi
Spirited poetry-spouting princess who lived an audacious life and put her cheating lover on blast with her expert slam poetry.
YaelSaved the Jewish people by hammering a tent spike through an unsuspecting house guest's head.
Widowed young queen who led a fearsome rebellion against the British with her child tied to her back.
Sex worker who became empress of the Byzantine Empire, and used her political power to safeguard her interests, and her husband's reputation.
Fearsome undefeated samurai warrior who was "a match for any god or demon," and is one of Japan's greatest heroines to this day.
Chaste and virtuous woman spends life assuming she's better than her more sex-positive neighbor, and for this haughtiness becomes in death a demonic woman who lures wayward men to their death - a stunning indigenous inversion of the Madonna/whore complex.
Nanny of the MaroonsLed colony of escaped slaves and protected them from the English using borderline supernatural abilities.
Nana Asma’uMassively educated princess who started all-female gang of itinerant teachers, who would roam the land and educate unsuspecting passersby.
Recruited widows, orphans, and prostitutes into an all-woman ninja spy group, the largest in Asia at the time.
Josefina GuerreroLet 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 self-described "undutiful daughter" posed as a man to become the world's first female shipwright.
NwanyeruwaInstigated a massive "women's war" against British taxation, the effect of which was one part protest movement, one part comedy roast, and one part block party.
Pope JoanThis pope was largely assumed to be male until she gave birth in the midst of a procession - and largely assumed to be factual until the 13th century.
Brilliant undercover spy who posed as a slave to spy on - and attempt to burn down - the Confederate White House.
The Valiant Ladies of Potosi
Eustaquia de Souza and Ana Lezama de Urinza, two sword-and-gun-toting lesbian teen vigilantes - 17th century Bolivia's answer to Batman.
Tossed off the expectations of Victorian society to become an expert mountaineer and archaeologist, traveled the Middle East by herself - later teaching Lawrence of Arabia how it's done - and became one of the most influential women in the English empire, advocating loudly for Iraq's self-governance.
Yaa AsantewaaAs an old woman, led an incredibly successful rebellion against British colonialism, known as The War of the Golden Stool, or the Yaa Asantewaa War.
Trung Trac and Trung NhiSisters who led an army on elephant-back to overthrow oppressive Chinese rule and establish a short-lived Vietnamese kingdom.
Elizabeth BislandRose from poverty to become a respected journalist who raced Nellie Bly around the world.
Nellie BlyDaring journalist who infiltrated insane asylums, exposed slavery rings, and raced around the world in under 80 days.
Moll CutpurseCross-dressing Queen of Thieves who flouted social norms and had plays written about her.
Matilda of TuscanyFiery defender of the pope who made kings kneel before her.
Sayyida al-HurraIndomitable pirate queen who ran Morocco and ruined Portuguese trade.
Gracia Mendes NasiJewish businesswoman who saved thousands of Jews from the Inquisition by smuggling them out of the country.
Katie SandwinaChampion weightlifter, suffragette, mom - this "Lady Hercules" did it all.
Ka’ahumanuUnited Hawaii under one rule, abolished ancient taboos, and led negotiations with the fledgling United States.
Emmy NoetherRevolutionized the field of mathematics, yet was persecuted for being Jewish and paid a pittance for her visionary teaching work.
Tin HinanThe greatest leader of the nomadic Tuareg tribe of northern Africa, who put their men in veils and let their women run the show.
Jane DieulafoyA phenomenally successful archaeologist who became a fashion icon for wearing men's clothing.
Marie MarvingtLudicrously 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.
KeumalahayatiThe first naval admiral of modern times, she protected her country from foreign invaders with aplomb.
AlfhildViking princess who decided she'd rather be a pirate than get married.
CalafiaBlack, Muslim warrior queen of a tribe of griffin-riding Amazons - and the honest-to-god namesake of California.
Wilma RudolphOvercame polio, poverty, measles, mumps, scarlet fever, racism, whooping cough, and teenage pregnancy to make Olympic history by winning three gold medals.
YennengaAn unbeatable warrior princess who just wanted to have kids - and founded a new nation in her quest to do so.
“Stagecoach” Mary FieldsPistol-packing, liquor-swigging, 6'2" black postal carrier/babysitter of the Wild West.
Grace O’MalleyIrish pirate queen who led decades of rebellions against England, met face-to-face with Elizabeth I, and got official license to continue her piracy.
Florence NightingaleOne half of the odd couple of Crimean nursing - the by-the-book Victorian rebel who revolutionized the field of medicine who stood in stark to Mary Seacole's jolly reliance on folk remedies and home comforts.
Mary SeacoleOne 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.
AndamanaIndigenous lawmaker who united warring tribes under a unified code of laws that she made herself.
Kurmanjan DatkaA clever woman who rose from obscurity to become a political force, playing nations against each other to protect her people.
Sybil LudingtonTo warn against the incoming British, this teen girl staged her own midnight ride - far longer and more dangerous than Paul Revere's.
Moremi AjasoroWhen a neighboring tribe threatened the Yoruba, this queen went undercover as a spy to find their weakness.
Te Puea HerangiThe reluctant royal who became the Maori's greatest leader.
AgnodiceAfter disguising herself as a man to be the physician women needed, she was put on trial - and won.
TatterhoodThis goat-riding, spoon-wielding princess fought trolls to save her sister.
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Historical Figure Mythical Figure Literary Figure Cluster