Five Women In History You Should Know About

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Women have been kicking butt and taking names since the dawn of time. With so many fierce females out there, some are going to fall through the cracks.

Today, we are going to take a look at five of the historical women that you should know about.

1) Jadwiga, Queen of Poland

Elected Queen of Poland upon the death of her father in 1384 when she was just nine years old, Jadwiga went on to unite the nations of Hungary and Poland as well as opening up the door for the conversion of Lithuanian Pagans to Christianity. A patron of both religion and scholarship, she commissioned the building of the University of Krakow, which was later renamed  Jagiellonian University, following her death in childbirth at 1399, and was cannonized by Pope John Paul II in 1997.


2) Cleopatra Selene II

The daughter of Cleopatra VII and Mark Antony, Cleopatra Selene was orphaned at the age of nine and taken prisoner by Emperor Octavian of Rome along with her twin brother, Alexander Helios, and little brother, Ptolemy Philadelphus. One account says that the children were made to walk through the streets of Rome in a “Victory Parade” before being placed into the care of Octavian’s sister, and their father’s ex-wife, Octavia. While both her brothers disappeared from the record, Cleopatra went on to marry King Juba II of Mauritania. As queen, she retained the power of her mother, building elaborate monuments and maintaining good relations with both the countries of Rome and Egypt.


3) Anne Bonny and Mary Reed

Two women, masquerading as men in order to sail the seas as pirates, Anne Bonny and Mary Reed were both shipmates of the infamous Calico Jack. Both women were well known for their cunning and ruthlessness, in one account murdering any man who questioned their place on board, and another claiming the execution of anyone too cowardly to fight. Both Bonny and Reed were eventually caught, both were saved from execution, however, due to them being pregnant. Mary would die in childbirth while Anne would go on to be released and settle down as a wife and mother of eight children, dying at the age of eighty-four in South Carolina. Some records state Bonny and Reed as lovers, which is certainly a definite possibility.


4) Princess Taiping of China

The daughter of Wu Zeitian and Emperor Gaozong, Taiping was an incredibly smart and powerful woman. One account has her staging a coup in order to place her brother, Zhongzong, on the throne, and remaining as one of the foremost council members for Emperor Ruizong during his second reign, Taiping was eventually ousted by her nephew, who staged a coup, executed her supporters, and forced her to commit suicide. Her impact on Chinese history may not be as profound as her mother’s, but it is certainly impressive.


5) Hurrem Sultan

Originally an Ottoman slave named Alexandra, Hurrem Sultan rose through the ranks and was made the official wife of Ottoman emperor, Suleiman I, the Magnificent. A convert to Islam, Hurrem commissioned the building of multiple mosques and donated thousands to charities for the poor and needy, establishing a soup kitchen responsible for feeding over 500 people a day in Jerusalem. A controversial figure during her time, Hurrem is accused of having ordered the murder of Suleiman’s other sons in order to clear the path to the throne for her own five children. Dying in 1558, Hurrem remains a popular figure in Ottoman history.


Well, there we go, five iconic historical women that deserve their place in the history books!