QUEEN HATSHEPSUT (1500 B.C.)
About 1500 years before the birth of Christ, one finds the beginning of Hatshepsut’s reign as one of the brightest in Egyptian history, proving that a woman can be a strong and effective ruler. She was according to Egyptologist, James Henry Breasted, “The first great woman in history of whom we are informed.”
Her father, Thothmes I, was highly impressed with the efficiency of his daughter, and appointed her manager, and co-ruler of his kingdom.
Before the King died, he married Hatshepsut to her half-brother, Thothmes II. His reign lasted only thirteen years. After his death, Hatshepsut was to rule only in the name of Thothmes III, until he was old enough to rule alone.
Hatshepsut was not satisfied to rule in the name of Thothmes III.
Hatshepsut dressed herself in the most sacred of the Pharaoh’s clothing, mounted the throne, and proclaimed herself Pharaoh of Egypt. She ruled Egypt for twenty-one years. She also moved to strengthen the position of Egypt within Africa by making peace with the tribes of Kush (or Nubia) and sending missions to the nations along the East African coast, as far south as Punt (present day Somalia). One of Hatshepsut’s crowning achievements was dis- patching a mission to a kingdom in Asia (now India).
Hatshepsut died suddenly and mysteriously. Some historians say that Thothmes III, had her murdered.
After her death, Thothmes III, tried unsuccessfully to destroy all memory of Hatshepsut in Egypt. Her temple still remains in the Valley of the Kings, once the ancient city of Thebes, known today as Deir el Bahri, and Hatshepsut comes down to us as one of the most outstanding women of all time.
-Dr John Henrik Clark