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When attacked by Native Americans, this pregnant viking bared her chest, brandished a sword, and took them on by herself. And she won.
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.
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.
Jeanne de Clisson
When her husband was unjustly executed, this French noblewoman-turned-pirate became the terror of France.
Although her tribe was destroyed and she was forced into an unwanted marriage, this indomitable woman came to run the world's largest empire - with a woman as her companion.
This legendary pockmarked poet sang truth to power and was killed for it, becoming an enduring symbol of resistance.
The "Last of the Aboriginal Tasmanians" (she wasn't) used brains, brawn, and sheer will to carve a place for herself, even as the world was collapsing around her.
Ludicrously over-accomplished athlete who invented flying ambulances and won the only gold medal ever awarded by the French Academy of Sports for "all sports" - yes, all of them.
The first female mathematician in recorded history, and one of the luminaries of the ancient world - but her grisly death at the hands of a mob was only the start of her troubles.
Through years of unrelenting protest, this Nigerian teacher felled a king, won women the right to vote, and taught all of Africa how to protest.