Historical figures are usually men. There are however a lot of women who played a significant role in world events, governments or scientific discoveries. How many of these famous women can you name? Keep reading for a list of top 10 famous women in history.
10. Lady Diana
Diana Frances commonly known as Lady Diana was the first wife of Prince Charles, son of Queen Elizabeth II. She was born in England in 1961. She was a kind hearted women who achieved recognition for her charity work. She died in a tragic accident in 1997 leaving two sons behind, Price Harry and Price William. The entire world mourned over her unfortunate death. She has cemented her place in history as one of the most famous and beloved women of all time.
9. Eleanor Roosevelt
Eleanor Roosevelt had an important role in American history. She was elected to the Senate in 1911, at a time where it was very uncommon to have women senators. As a First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt actively helped her husband. She held press conferences and convinced her husband to pass important laws on issues such as equal rights for women and minorities, child welfare and housing reforms at a time where social justice was not deeply ingrained in American politics.
8. Harriet Tubman
Harriet Tubman was born in Maryland in 1921. She was born a slave and eventually escaped in 1849. She escaped thanks to the Underground Railroad and would become an important figure among abolitionists. It is estimated that she helped 300 slaves escape thanks to the Underground Railroad. She also helped them find safe homes in the Northern states. She was a nurse, a scout and even a spy during the Civil War. She continued her fight for civil rights after the right and even played an important role in the suffrage movement just before her death in 1913.
7. Marie Curie
Marie Curie had a dream; she wanted to become a physicist, which was a very unusual occupation for a Polish women during the 19th century. She achieved her dream and married a French chemistry instructor, Pierre Curie. Together they made many astounding discoveries in the field of chemistry. She became the first women to ever win a Novel Prize in science in 1903 and won a second prize in 1911, thus becoming the first person to win two prizes.
6. Indira Gandhi
Indira Gandhi was a significant Prime Minister in the history of India. She was not related to the spiritual leader of the same name and some of her actions were widely criticized. However, she played an important part in modernizing the country. She ruled India for almost twenty years before being assassinated. She also played an important role during the war with Pakistan in 1971, which made her one of the few women leaders to oversee a military conflict.
5. Queen Victoria
Queen Victoria reigned over the British Empire for 63 years. Her vast Empire included the Americas, India, some parts of Africa and of the Far East. It is said that the sun never set on Queen Victoria’s empire. Victoria strove to maintain peace in her empire and doubled its size during her reign. She died in 1901 and her reign became known as the Victorian Age. She played a major role in funding the British Liberal and Conservative parties and in broadening suffrage.
Cleopatra has become a real legend over the centuries. This woman leader is mostly remembered for her love affairs with Julias Caesar and Mark Antony but she also ruled over an Empire that included most of North Africa. Even though she did not live very long, her aggressive politics and desire for expansion turned Egypt into a major world power at the time. Historians know very little about Cleopatra other than she was a tough and ambitious leader rather than the love-struck woman often represented in popular culture.
3. Mother Teresa
Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu is one of the most famous women of the 20th century. You have probably never heard this name but you are surely familiar with the name of Mother Theresa. She was originally born in Macedonia and was sent in India as a missionary. She funded the Missionaries of Charity in 1950, an organization that would play an important role in helping India’s poorest populations. This organization now has charity centers, orphanages and AIDS hospices in many different countries. She received a Nobel Prize for Peace in 1979 and her name is still a synonym for charity and goodness.
2. Wu Zetian
Wu Zetian reigned over China from 690 to 705. The Empress gained the respect of her political advisers and subjects thanks to her intelligence and remarkable leadership skills. She modernized the country and established Buddhism as a main religion in China. She is mostly remember for converting most of China’s population to Buddhism even though she accomplished many remarkable feats as one of China’s most powerful women.
1. Queen Boudica
Queen Boudica is first on our list of 10 famous women in history because she is the only women the Romans feared. Queen Boudica found herself ruling over Inceni people in Norfolk after her husband died. The Roman empire did not recognize her as a leader since power could only be inherited from father to son in the Roman empire. The Romans annexed the Iceni people and Queen Boudica led an uprising against the Romans. Her army completely destroyed the city of Camulodunum, which would correspond to Colchester today. Queen Boudica is often considered as the mother of the British Empire in the history of Great Britain.
This list of 10 famous women in history is nowhere near complete. The list could be much longer but these 10 women give you a good overview of a few significant figures. You should do more research about famous women if you want to learn more about the women who helped shape the world in which we live today. You will find that a lot of famous women have been overlooked by most history books even though they played an important role in a significant historical event.