In 2011 German Chancellor Angela Merkel was ranked by Forbes Magazine as the 4th most powerful person in the world, and the top most powerful woman. If Forbes created a list of the most powerful women in history, here are two names that would make the top of the list and should be included in more history lessons:
Queen Hatshepusut (1503-1482 B.C.)
Queen Hatshepusut is regarded as one of the most successful pharaohs in Egyptian history, and Egypt’s most powerful female ruler. At first acting as queen-regent for her step-son, Hatshepusut took over full command for 21 years and demoted her step-son to second in command. Egypt prospered peacefully under Hatshepusut’s reign. Hatshepusut also became known as one of the greatest builders in Egyptian history. One of the obelisks she constructed at Karnak reads: “Now my heart turns this way and that, as I think what the people will say. Those who see my monuments in years to come, and who shall speak of what I have done” (Hatsheputsut, National Geographic). Unfortunately, after her death, Hatshepusut’s step-son erased many of the monuments depicting her reign.
Empress Theodora (500-548)
Emperor Justinian I’s wife and trusted advisor, Empress Theodora was probably the most powerful woman in Byzantine history. She was known for her intelligence and political aptitude. Empress Theodora also championed women’s rights by increasing divorce laws to better protect women and outlawing the trafficking of young girls. (Evans, James Allan. The Empress Theodora – Partner of Justinian. University of Texas, Austin: 2002).