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This Sikh warrior saint led 40 deserters back into battle and in so doing, possibly saved her entire religion from extinction.
She 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.
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.
Sor Juana Inés de La Cruz
This brilliant poet rose from illegitimacy and poverty to become one of the luminaries of her age - until she flew too close to the sun.
When China invaded her native land, this would-be monk put down her pacifist dreams and took up arms.
The only female emperor of China in history, her ruthless rise to power makes Game of Thrones look like a day at the beach.