Since women are being celebrated all over the world, we decided to take a look back at our history and remember the women who ruled and protected ancient Egypt in times of trouble and had a strong impact on the country’s future.
The ancient Egyptian culture honored women, probably more than any other ancient culture, and the female goddesses were worshiped and honored starting from the First Dynasty to the end of the pharaonic era.
Although queens weren’t actually meant to rule the country, they had a significant impact on the ancient Egyptian regime, and some of them were named pharaoh to govern the country on their own.
Here is our selection of Egypt’s most impactful Queens:
She is the first female ruler in ancient Egypt and was known as Meritneith and Meryt-Neith. She took the throne after the death of her husband, King Djet the fourth, king of the First Dynasty, and ensured the stability in Egypt until she shepherded her son, King Den, to the throne.
Her rule as a pharaoh took place around 2950 BC for an undetermined period, and she is the only First Dynasty queen to have two tombs one in Saqqara and the other in Abydos.
She assumed the throne after the death of her half-brother Amenemhat IV, who had no male heir, and she ruled Egypt for about four years as the last ruler of the 12th Dynasty.
One of the most remarkable things about her is that she didn’t make any effort to depict herself as a man and governed the country in full feminine attire.
After the death of her husband king Thutmose II, she became the regent to her stepson Thutmose III, and then she assumed the title of the pharaoh to rule Egypt for about two decades during the 18th Dynasty.
She governed Egypt longer than any other female ruler, and unlike Sobeknefru, she decided to be portrayed as a male with the pharaoh’s traditional customs, muscles, and beard.
She is considered to be one of the most successful pharaohs throughout ancient Egyptian history. She expanded Egypt’s trade routes, for example, her expedition to the Land of Punt that provided Egypt with luxurious goods. Numerous building projects flourished during her reign since she restored old temples and built some of her own like the famous temple at Deir el-Bahari.
Known for her beauty, Nefertiti was the queen and wife of the 18th Dynasty pharaoh Akhenaten or Akhenaton. Alongside her husband, they made a religious revolution where they displaced Egypt’s chief god Amon and worshiped only one god Aten, the sun desc.
A number of letters from foreign dignitaries show her role in the state affairs during her husband’s reign, and after he was displaced from his position, Nefertiti seems to have been the one who stabilized the government until another pharaoh took the power.
Although she wasn’t actually Egyptian, Cleopatra is one of the most famous queens in Egyptian history. She is originally Greek, and the Ptolemaic Dynasty was declining dramatically until she reversed the trend.
Cleopatra VII was the last pharaoh before the Roman Empire overtook the country. Despite her famous affairs with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, she had many more things to be remembered for.
She was an effective diplomat and politician who affected the politics of that time, for example, she led a fleet at the naval Battle of Actium and influenced the way Western empires would be governed. She spoke a number of languages, and her story inspired art and literature for centuries.
WE SAID THIS: Who’s your favorite queen?