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Rose from poverty to become a respected journalist who raced Nellie Bly around the world.
Stephanie St. Clair
This audacious black gangster fought the Italian mob for control of Harlem and won, taunting them in full-page newspaper ads as she went.
Tomboy, daughter, spy, soldier, foster mom, innkeeper, gold miner, nurse, activist; veteran: Angela Jimenez doesn't need a movie so much as a mini-series.
Picked to be an impotent figurehead, this savvy intellectual quickly learned how to play politics and modernized the nation to ward off invasion.
This Sikh warrior saint led 40 deserters back into battle and in so doing, possibly saved her entire religion from extinction.
Tamar of Georgia
Saint, sovereign, and fiercely independent woman, she quashed two rebellions from her ex-husband, expanded her nation's borders, and ushered in a golden age.
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.
Muslim 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.
When invaders threatened her island home, she declared herself a living god, raised an army, and fought them tooth, nail, and occasional grenade.