Maatkare Hatshepsut (early 15th century–1458 BCE)

Hatshepsut

The first of only a handful of women to become Pharoah across Egypt’s three millennia of royal lineage, Hatshepsut ruled both with her half-brother (and husband) Tuthmosis II and, for the final sixteen years of her life, as sole regent.

She was the first Pharoah to open trade routes with East Africa (in particular the early kingdom of Punt), and restored many of Egypt’s early architectural heritage, including the great mortuary at Deir al-Bahri.

Her distinctive style of leadership – as her sole regency progressed, she increasingly began to dress as a man, wearing a fake beard presumably to remove protests from the religious community that women were disallowed from becoming Pharoah – confused many Late Egyptian historians, which, combined with a long-running feud with her successor and nephew Tuthmosis III, caused many records of her to be defaced, even destroyed in an attempt to remove her from Egyptian linear history.

Black People Who Changed the World

What is Black History Month?

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