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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.
When her rebel husband was imprisoned, she continued the movement - by holding a castle under siege for three long, lonely years.
Gracia Mendes Nasi
Jewish businesswoman who saved thousands of Jews from the Inquisition by smuggling them out of the country.
Jeanne de Clisson
When her husband was unjustly executed, this French noblewoman-turned-pirate became the terror of France.
When famine hit Jeju island, where she'd been exiled since birth, this prostitute-turned-businesswoman spent her fortune to feed everyone.
This self-described "undutiful daughter" posed as a man to become the world's first female shipwright.
Tomboy, daughter, spy, soldier, foster mom, innkeeper, gold miner, nurse, activist; veteran: Angela Jimenez doesn't need a movie so much as a mini-series.
The greatest leader of the nomadic Tuareg tribe of northern Africa, who put their men in veils and let their…
The actual hero of the Ali Baba myth, this slave girl saves the titular character by singlehandedly dispatching the forty thieves - without him even knowing.
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.