Ma Rainey made dozens of recordings, wore diamond tiaras and beaded gowns, and was once arrested for an intimate party involving several other women.
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Chicago detective whose crime-busting exploits grew so popular she had her own newspaper series and starred in her own movie.
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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.
This self-described "undutiful daughter" posed as a man to become the world's first female shipwright.
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.
Isabel Godin des Odonais
To reunite with her husband, she went on a months-long trek through the jungle -- and was the only survivor.
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.
The only use this Canadian badass had for pretty pink bows was to adorn her own rib — which she amputated from her own body after an accident.
This uneducated rebel preacher upstaged New England magistrates so much that they founded Harvard University in part to prevent women like her from gaining power.