In the ancient history, there were many female figures that held important roles and played vital parts in historical events. They not only supported the male warriors but they joined the army, led the nations, and became fearsome fighters as well. These women turned out to be military genius. Here are the list of the top 8 powerful women in ancient history.
In the Vietnamese history, Trung sisters were the earliest female figures that counter-attacked the invaders. The girls were born around 12 AD. During the period they were living in, their hometown was invaded by the Chinese Han Dynasty. The Trung sisters grew up in a family where they learnt the art of warfare, fighting skills, and martial arts.
As they couldn’t tolerate the deeds of the enemies, they set out an uprising fighting back the Han army. The sisters went into wars on the back of elephants. Within a few months, they overtook the power of Han on parts of their hometown. It was not until 43AD that the sisters were overthrown. Instead of admitting defeat in the hands of the enemies, the sisters committed suicide.
Grace O’Malley, the 16th Century Pirate Queen
Grace O’Malley was queen of Umaill, a pirate, a seafarer, and a rebel who challenged the political turbulence of Ireland in 16th century.
She was born to a wealthy nobleman and a sea trader. When her father died, she inherited the ship and all of his money. Under the political turbulence, she and her family sailed west where they built fortress facing to the ocean protecting their territory.
O’Malley and her people reportedly attacked any ships approaching. They would make the ships to stop and demand for money to let slip. Gradually, her exploit crew became infamous along England and Ireland. The English felt that they had to do something to prevent this woman from inflicting the ocean. An army appeared at the gates of O’Malley’s fortress to seize her. Yet, this Queen turned her defence into attack and the English were forced to retreat.
Although Grace O’Malley got captured at the age of 56, she somehow managed to escape the death sentence and let loose.
Boudicca, the Celtic Queen
In the history, Boudicca was a Celtic Queen who unleashed the anger of the invading Romans. She managed to unite some of the British tribes after a revolt against the Roman Empire in 60-61AD.
Although she was famous for three times defeating the Romans, her victory didn’t last long. The Romans were powerful enough to crush the revolts executing thousands of people and enslaving the rest. The name of Queen Boudicca has always been remembered for the bravery, intelligence, and calm and as a queen who fought for freedom of her people.
We British are used to women commanders in war. I am descended from mighty men! But I am not fighting for my kingdom and wealth now. I am fighting as an ordinary person for my lost freedom, my bruised body, and my outraged daughters….Consider how many of you are fighting—and why! Then you will win this battle, or perish. That is what I, a woman, plan to do!—let the men live in slavery if they will.
Ching Shih, from a Prostitute to a Pirate Lord
Ching Shih was born in China in 1775. She became a prostitute working in Canton. Pirate Zheng Yi who owned fleets of ships “Red Flag Fleet” fell for the beauty of Ching Shih and decided to take her as a wife.
The Red Flag Fleet became more and more powerful and prosperous after a short time. When Zheng Yi died, the Fleet included 50,000 – 70,000 pirates with more than thousand ships. Ching Shih knew her opportunity had finally come, either she grabbed it or she came back to the life of a prostitute. She rose to power after inheriting her husband’s legacy. Ching Shih focused on doing business and military tactics.
Somehow, she managed to call for the help of the government to protect her fleets. As a strict woman, Ching Shih passed down rules and treatment for the captives. Those who were ugly were let go, safe and sound. A pirate who fell for a captive could marry her as his wish as long as he had to protect and love her. Unfaithfulness and rape would sentenced to death.
Later, the government hoped to eliminate the Ching Shih’s reign for they believed the pirates could not forever be kind to them. Ching Shih entered the negotiations and finally made them agree to let her keep all of her property as long as she gave up her pirate life. She turned back to Canton and open a gambling house where she lived to her final days. The story of her life made her in the list of powerful women in ancient history.