This engineer fixed a flaw in the allies' planes, allowing them to dive just as well as the Germans' - an innovation instrumental to winning the war.
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When a government magistrate unjustly killed her son, this unassuming middle-aged wife spent years raising an army to topple that same government.
Christine de Pizan
When her husband unexpectedly died, she rolled up her sleeves and became one of the greatest authors of the age to keep food on the table. She wrote passionate defenses of her gender (and military treatises!) that were centuries ahead of their time.
This mythical queen gave birth to the minotaur and cursed her unfaithful husband with the world's weirdest magic STD -- but was her whole story just a smear campaign?
This unassuming middle-aged woman became one of Britain's most notorious terrorists in her unyielding quest to win women the right to vote.
When a neighboring tribe threatened the Yoruba, this queen went undercover as a spy to find their weakness.
Possibly the most cartoonishly evil woman to have ever existed, this Merovingian queen was an endless source of assassination attempts - including, on one memorable occasion, her own young daughter.
Mexico's infamous "weeping ghost" has many incarnations: a jilted widow, a slave princess, a milk addict, a coffee bag, and a pair of panties.
Te Puea Herangi
The reluctant royal who became the Maori's greatest leader.
This Armenian folktale princess saved her hapless beau - by making him get a job.