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When China invaded her native land, this would-be monk put down her pacifist dreams and took up arms.
Olga of Kiev
Brutal princess-turned-Christian saint who burnt down enemy towns using pigeons.
100 years before Lawrence of Arabia, this British woman traveled the Middle East by herself, surviving shipwrecks, plagues, and Bedouin attacks in the process.
This 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.
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.
This single mom developed the field of Mexican archaeology, while fiercely protecting it from the sleazy and opportunistic.
3rd 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.
When famine hit Jeju island, where she'd been exiled since birth, this prostitute-turned-businesswoman spent her fortune to feed everyone.
Mexican revolutionary who bombed bridges, led hundreds of women into battle, and was instrumental in turning the tide of the war for the revolutionaries.
This uneducated rebel preacher upstaged New England magistrates so much that they founded Harvard University in part to prevent women like her from gaining power.