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5 Of the Most Fiercest Women Warriors in Ancient History

Fifty bucks and a Chipotle lunch says the women on this list were never mentioned in your History 101 class. And why should they? History has generally been branded as his story, where most accounts of events were recorded, edited and published by men. Had they taken into account a woman’s perspective, little girls and adults alike would’ve had these fearsome women to look up to:

  1. Grace O’Malley (1530 – 1603)

Bit of a bias here, ladies…Grace O’Malley is numero uno on this list because she’s my personal favourite. Here’s why:

Known as “The Pirate Queen of Connacht” among her contemporaries, Grace O’Malley led naval operations that dominated the coast of Ireland during her lifetime. Upon inheriting her father’s shipping business, Grace took the family business up a notch by taking control of the shipping traffic in Ireland and broadening her horizons to capture the territories of rival clans. Politics aside, The Pirate Queen was worthy of her namesake with the way she handled her sea expeditions alone. According to one story, while giving birth to her third child her ship was suddenly attacked by Turkish pirates. She quickly finished giving birth, grabbed her gun, and immediately ran to the deck of the ship to command its defense. Another story claims that when a rival clan murdered her boyfriend, she went on a rampage by attacking the rival clan’s fortress, burning their ships and killing everyone in sight. Best of all, during a meeting with Elizabeth I, Grace refused to bow to the Queen of England to negotiate her terms. Despite disrespecting a woman who could’ve had her killed right where she stood, she got her way. We don’t encourage her violence but do support her courage and bravery to fight for what she wanted!

  1. Ching Shih

Sooooo I might also have a bias for pirates…but before you stop reading this obviously VERY biased article, ask yourself this: are butt-kicking lady pirates a good enough reason to stop reading about women who dominated this Earth?! I’ll have you decide for yourself. If you’re still reading this, you’ll be glad to know that Ching Shih is the most successful pirate of all time—even CNN says so.

    Ching Shih’s Red Flag Fleet of 1,500 ships and 80,000 sailors sacked towns and markets “from Macau to Canton (Robert Antony),” challenging its rival empires. The British even called her “The Terror of South China.” To manage such a big fleet of ships was hard work—so Ching Shih issued a code of laws that were strictly enforced. One of the most serious ones (which solidified her position of power) was that anyone giving orders that did not come from Ching Shih herself was beheaded on the spot. When it came to female captives, Ching Shih made sure that if a pirate took a woman to wife, he would be faithful to her. Likewise, any pirate who raped a female prisoner was put to death. After 54 years of building her sea empire, she eventually retired at the age of 69 to open a gambling house in Canton. We admire her strength, ambition and protection of women! (We’re sure she’d be coined a feminist today!)

  1. Hathshepsut

For the short period of time when she was Queen-Regent to her brother, Hathshepsut never bore the title of Queen during her reign. Upon her ascent to the throne, she insisted on Pharaoh—a title famously given to Egypt’s male rulers. She donned the Pharaoh Regalia and symbols—a strategic move that would protect her legacy for years and years to come. Her reign was a prosperous twenty-two years for Egypt. Unlike most of the women on this list (I mean no harm by this comment, Ching Shih I swear!) she handled all foreign affairs peacefully and did not have to fight many battles. Because of the extreme wealth that she generated for Egypt during her reign, Hathshepsut had hundreds of building projects done throughout Upper and Lower Egypt. Despite numerous attempts by her successors to erase her from history and claim her achievements as their own, she had been so successful in solidifying her position as “The Pharaoh Herself” that almost every major museum today has a statue of her. Leaving a legacy is something we ALL want to do, make yourself distinct and make yourself remembered!

  1. Boudica (AD 60 or 61)

Boudica is quite the pop culture favourite—and for good reason. As Queen of the Iceni Celtic tribe, she led an uprising against the Roman Empire who threatened to occupy their land. Because she was said to have “possessed greater intelligence than often belongs to women” (which is of course AD 60 misogynistic thinking), she was chosen by the tribes to lead the rebellion—which is quite the feat in a society predominantly ruled by men. Instead of fighting the wars in the safe haven of the army camp, Boudica rode a chariot with her daughters in the front lines—exhibiting herself as a warrior instead of a monarch. She successfully defended three cities where 70,000-80,000 of her enemies were killed. Boudica had become such a threat that the late Emperor Nero considered withdrawing all Roman forces from Britain. Despite her efforts however, the more experienced Roman Empire eventually defeated the rebellion. To avoid capture, historical sources say Boudica either fell ill or poisoned herself. Breaking social ‘norms’ and being so successful you scarce your ‘opponents’ is something we definitely promote.

  1. Khawla Bint Al-Azwar

Now I know you’ve all been incredibly inspired by the four women I’ve mentioned above to go out and fight the patriarchy, but don’t go yet because I have your “knight” in shining armour—literally!

Khawla Bint Al-Azwar was a prominent warrior during the Islamic Conquests whose expertise with the sword was a significant asset to the Arab army. In one of her battles, she chose to go in a black robe with a green sash (extremely stylish touch, right?). She also covered her face with a black strip of cloth and accounts from that battle say that an unknown knight suddenly burst into enemy lines and successfully eliminated everything in sight. The army followed “his lead and the battle was won. Upon revealing herself as a woman, there was no Mulan-Shang type drama that ensued, but instead Khawla was warmly welcomed into the ranks of men!

During the Battle of Ajnadin, Khawla was captured and put in a prisoner tent with other women who had been captured previously. After hearing that the general was interested in her, she organized the other women to plan an escape. Once they freed themselves from their bindings, they armed themselves with tent poles and bravely fought their way out of the surrounding enemy army and into allied lines. Today you won’t see a city in the Middle East without at least one school named after Islam’s most famous war heroine!

These women we’re pretty amazing and hopefully they’ve inspired you as much as us! Take their confidence and ambition into your daily life and make yourself proud, if you want something bad enough nothing can stand in your way. We also highly advise not killing a bunch of people to make your point (like the ladies above did) hahah!

1% Bad Jokes2% Good Jokes48% Baby Fat 50% Lover of All Things Edible0% Traditional Gender Roles
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