Power, they say, is intoxicating. Throughout history we’ve learned of powerful men from Adolf Hitler to Barack Obama. Women have had to fight a bit more for the positions they attain, and this makes these women as powerful and, for some, even more powerful than the men of their era, class, and position. Women have always triumphed, from politics to science to art.
Here are some of the most powerful and influential women of all time.
Cleopatra’s influence is always talked about due to her attaining the throne as a young lady in a city predominantly dominated by men. Cleopatra was said to be extremely beautiful and intelligent. She spoke multiple languages and was well versed in politics. She reigned as Pharaoh of Egypt for 21 years. She was responsible for aliasing Egypt with then global power, Rome. Her relationships Romans Julius Caesar and Mark Anthony remain infamous. Cleopatra is credited for bringing the teachings of a solar cycle calendar to Rome and the rest of the world.
Joan of Arc
Joan’s story is particularly peculiar. At the age of 18, Joan of Arc was a warrior who led the French army to victory over the English in 1430. To fit in, she cut her hair short and wore men’s clothes. Although she wore androgynous clothing and hairstyle, she didn’t hide her gender. True to ancient form, after her victory she was charged with heresy—her crimes included dressing like a man—and was burned at the stake in front of onlookers.
Eleanor Roosevelt was married to the 32nd president of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt. Eleanor Roosevelt altered the role of a f First Lady in America. She stepped out of the sidelines and carried as much political knowledge and power as her husband. Eleanor was proactive. She worked for the League of Women Voters, stood against racial discrimination and dedicated her time to America’s poverty issues. She was a delegate for the U.N. and helped to write the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Catherine de’ Medici
Catherine was the Queen of France. She became a leading politician following the death of her husband and son. Although her nine-year-old son was next-in-line, Catherine took the responsibilities of being a king although he held the title. She was the Queen Mother and was the voice behind all her son’s policies.. She became one of the most influential rulers in the French monarchy.
Queen Elizabeth I
Elizabeth’s chances of become the ruler of England was small. She was born to Anne Boleyn, who Henry VIII beheaded. Her mother’s legitimacy was always questioned. Also, she was a protestant in a catholic empire and at a time where protestants were seen as heretics. The Queen established England as a Protestant country and gave herself the title of head of the church. During her time, she went to war with Spain, then a powerful monarch, and won. She returned England to world power and rebuilt her economy. Her reign was so significant that this period in history is referred to as the Elizabethan era.