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When her father died, leaving her lower-class family in debt, this indomitable woman worked tirelessly and became one of history's greatest fossil collectors.
When a government magistrate unjustly killed her son, this unassuming middle-aged wife spent years raising an army to topple that same government.
This 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.
Nia Ngao Zhua Pa
This Hmong morality tale shows how to be a good person, but it certainly takes some twists getting there.
When 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.
100 years before Lawrence of Arabia, this British woman traveled the Middle East by herself, surviving shipwrecks, plagues, and Bedouin attacks in the process.
When invaders threatened her island home, she declared herself a living god, raised an army, and fought them tooth, nail, and occasional grenade.
This 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.
When 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.
Catalina de Erauso
After escaping from a convent, this swashbuckler had the strength to chase her dreams: which were apparently to drink, fight, and womanize.