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When a neighboring tribe threatened the Yoruba, this queen went undercover as a spy to find their weakness.
Fannie Lou Hamer
This uneducated, impoverished activist suffered unbelievable abuse in her journey to be able to vote -- but that did not stop her.
Khawlah bint al-Azwar
When Byzantine forces captured her brother, this warrior poet donned the outfit of a black knight and went on a bloody rescue mission.
To 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.
Mekatilili wa Menza
When colonial powers went too far, she rebelled in the most stylish way possible: dancing from town to town. It was surprisingly effective.
Bisexual cross-dressing spy princess of the Qing dynasty - a hero to some and unspeakable villain to others.
One 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.
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.
Possibly 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.
This 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.