The 8 Most Powerful Female Leaders in History

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Many women left a strong mark on the times in which they lived. With their influence and charisma, they managed to fight for the most important positions in society. History has recorded its reach, and we present the most powerful female leaders ever.


The first known female ruler in history is Hatshepsut. She developed economic fortunes as few rulers of ancient Egypt ever did. She was the fifth pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty of Ancient Egypt and reigned longer than any other woman in Egyptian history. Hatshepsut was married to her ailing half-brother Thutmose II, and the two began to rule after the death of their father, Thutmose I. Thutmose II died in 1479 BC, and Hatshepsut continued to rule alone until she died in 1458 BC. She commissioned many building projects and re-established trade networks that disrupted the Hyksos’ occupying plans in the second inter-dynastic period. Hatshepsut also led a great expedition to the land of Punt, a rich country in the south of Egypt.


The Egyptian Queen Cleopatra was the last heiress of the pharaoh. She will be remembered as a woman whose charms were not resisted by Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. Although she killed her sisters and betrayed the love of her life, history marks her as one of the most capable women in history whose dominant traits were determination and intelligence. Cleopatra reached her peak before the age of forty when she decided to take her own life – she died from the consequences of a poisonous snake bite.

Isabella of Castile

Isabella of Castile was a Spanish ruler from the 15th century. She is remembered as one of the richest monarchs of all time. She united Spain, which had an annual income of 1.45 million ducats. During her time, Columbus discovered America, and Spain went on a frantic pursuit of gold. However, Isabella is also known for the mass expulsion, torture, and killing of Muslims and Jews, which ended the “Reconquista,” the period in which the Spaniards liberated their lands from the Arabs.

Queen Elizabeth I Tudor

Queen Elizabeth I Tudor was on the English throne for 44 years, and her reign was an era of economic, political, and religious development. Thanks to this, Great Britain later became a leading world power. Her reign, known as the Elizabethan Age or the Golden Age of Elizabeth, was one of the most successful in English history and is remembered as an era of great cultural flourishing. Literature flourished with the appearance of Spenser, Marlowe, and Shakespeare, navigator Francis Drake spread English influence to the rest of the world, Protestantism established itself as the leading religion, and the Queen emphasized the importance of fashion and education.

Maria Theresa of Austria

Maria Theresa of Austria succeeded her father, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI, and brought many economic and political changes to the country. As a ruler, Maria Theresa centralized the government by uniting the Austrian and Czech offices, which had previously been separate, into one administrative office. She also began what became known as the Diplomatic Revolution in 1756 when she allied with France, a former enemy, to serve as a coalition against new allies Prussia and Great Britain.

Maria Theresa was also a participant in the Enlightenment. She strongly promoted education and liberal politics. Some of Maria Theresa’s civil reforms included the abolition of witch burnings and torture, the death penalty abolition, and compulsory education.

Catherine II

Catherine II was the Empress of Russia for more than 30 years and one of the most influential Russian rulers. Intelligent and ruthless, she was the most powerful woman in the world, pulling Russia out of its medieval doldrums and ushering it into the modern world.

Catherine was born in Poland and moved to Russia in 1744 to marry Peter III, who was the heir to the Russian throne. She saw her husband as arrogant and immature, and in 1762, Catherine conspired with the imperial guard to overthrow her husband. Catherine integrated the ideas of the Enlightenment into her politics, promoted the arts, and pursued a successful foreign policy. She also expanded the Russian Empire to the Black Sea by defeating the Ottoman Empire in two wars.

Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria ruled Britain for 63 years, during which time she doubled the territory and saved it from numerous conflicts and wars. Her reign is the longest reign of a single British monarch. In addition to the hereditary title of Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, she was the first monarch to bear the title of Empress of India. She founded parties and initiated and implemented reforms. She was the last monarch of the Hanoverian dynasty.

Indira Gandhi

Indira Gandhi marked the political history of the 20th century. She gave a lot to her country, even though she was one of those personalities who are adored and hated at the same time. The longer Indira stayed in power, the more brought many aspects of public life in India under her strict control. She was the head of India for almost 20 years, and in 1984 she was killed by extremists. They accused her of partiality and corruption and blamed her for having introduced a program of sterilization.