5 Warrior Women You’ve Never Heard Of


In 60 AD, when Gaius Suetonius Pailinus led a Roman campaign to control the island of Anglesey, Boudica moved her people (The Iceni: a celtic tribe) in a revolt against the the Roman empire. She led the people to destroy modern-day Colchester. In Londinium (London), she used guerrilla tactics and massacred many people in the city. Her torture of noble women is described in grim detail by Cassius Dio, the historian. Eventually, the Romans defeated her, but her military force was enough to keep Emperor Nero on his toes, and maybe even second guess his desire to capture Britannia! After her defeat, though, it isn’t sure what became of her. She either grew sick, or (more popularized in Romanticism) she committed suicide to avoid capture.

Hangaku Gozen:

Part of the warrior women samurai, Gozen raised a huge army and defeated the Kamakura Shogunate, a feudal government. While she is depicted holding a niigata sword, her legacy is defending a fort with a bow and arrow. Eventually, she was wounded and captured, but as a woman who commanded a personal army of 3,000, she is worth more than just a mention. She was a part of a large government transition, and left her own mark on it.

Queen Mother Yaa Asantewaa:

Perhaps one of the most intense warrior women on this list, the Queen Mother was born sometime in 1840 in modern-day Ghana. She took control of the Asante and, as a strong warrior, started a rebellion against British colonialism. She was eventually captured, though not without leaving a strong legacy. Unfortunately, she died in exile. But, in 19th century Africa, the roles of Asante women were generally positions of power and military. The Queen Mother was, certainly, an impressive and important part of the warrior women.

Nakano Takeko:

Like Hangaku Gozen, Takeko was a female samurai. She learned from her adoptive father and led a group of women warriors in the Battle of Aizu, part of the Boshin War. Her personal army was later referred to as the Women’s Army, so of course she made this list. But Takeko stands out for a very interesting fast: when shot fatally, she did not want the disgrace of the enemy taking her head for a trophy. Instead, she had her sister sever it from her body, and take it to Hōkai Temple, where (supposedly) it was buried under a tree. So maybe we should thank her sister, Yūko, for bravely detaching and carrying her sister’s head.

Queen Hemma of Altdorf:

Wife of Louis the German and mother of seven, she was the queen of Bavaria from 817-843. Sources are hard to track down for this time period, but it undisputed that she went to battle many times in her life as a general and leader. Her most famous and well-known military exploit is when she led a full-scale war against Adelchis of Benevento, who was revolting against her husband. In case you were wondering, she was one of the warrior women who won.



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