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Female Pharaohs

Updated on May 1, 2010

When people think of Ancient Egypt the think of the pyramids, the love stories, and the epic battles that occurred there. Buried beneath the sands of time though are the women who once ruled in this great civilization.


The Queen who would be King
The Queen who would be King

Hatshepsut, "Foremost of noble ladies", this name translation is quite literal. Hatshepsut is one of the most successful, well known and longest reigning pharaohs in Egypt's history.She reigned for 21 years.

Hatshepsut reestablished and formed new trading partners making Egypt much wealthier than it had been previously. She erected magnificent monuments at the Temple of Karnak, and she is responsible for the tallest ancient obelisk still standing.


Sobeknefuru is the first confirmed female queen of Egypt, she was however the last ruler of the middle kingdom. After the death of Sobeknefuru Egypt split into Upper and Lower Egypt not reunite again for centuries.

Sobeknefuru ruled Egypt during the 12th dynasty. Her name translates to 'The Beauty of Sobek', Sobek being the Ancient Egyptian crocodile god whom she erected a temple for.

While her burial tomb was complete at her time of death, no one is buried in it and her resting place has not yet been identified.

Cleopatra VII

The legendary Cleopatra was the last Pharaoh of Egypt. Her story is obviously fascinating countless works of art, films, and stories have been written about her.

Cleopatra was born in 69BC to Ptolemy XII Auletes and Cleopatra V of Egypt. Her father had been a very poor leader, and when Cleopatra accompanied her father to Rome her sister Tryphaena seized the throne, though she was poisoned by their sister Bernice who also wanted the throne. Bernice was beheaded upon Ptolemy's return.

When Cleopatra's father died she ruled briefly alongside her brother but they had a massive falling out. Cleopatra was exiled from court.

This clearly did not stop Cleopatra though. When Caesar arrived in Alexandria Cleopatra saw an opportunity to seize power and had her self delivered to the Roman dictator wrapped in a carpet. Her brother was executed and her younger sister Arsenoe was sent to a temple far away where she was later assassinated while Cleopatra and Marc Antony ruled.

After Caesar's death, Cleopatra took Marc Antony as her lover and the ruled Egypt together. Octavius however deeply disliked this and Rome attacked. Marc Antony died in battle and Cleopatra committed suicide allowing herself to be bitten by an asp.

Ahhotep I

Ahhotep I is considered the warrior queen of Egypt. She was buried with numerous military honors.

Ahhotep led the Egyptians against the Hyskos, She is described as having pacified Upper Egypt, expelling all enemies.

Ahhotep's tomb was discovered relatively unscathed in 1859. She died at age 39.


Nimaethap was queen of lower Egypt and the mother of two pharaohs.

Nimaethap became pharoah after her husband Khasekhemwy died in 2686BC.

Very little is known about the life of Nimaethap other than she was the mother of Djoser, Hetephernebti, and Initkawes. She is also featured in Metjen's mastaba (image to the right).


The last true Egyptian Queen
The last true Egyptian Queen

Twosret was the last female pharaoh who was of Egyptian descent., she was also the final pharaoh of the 19th dynasty.

Twosret assumed the role of Pharaoh after both her husband and his official heir died. Twosret's reign ended rather quickly in a civil war and how she died is still somewhat if a mystery.

Her tomb was not entirely finished at the time of her death and her sarcophagus was reused by Ramses III's son Amenherkhepshef .


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    • Dense profile image

      Dense 7 years ago from somewhere in a concrete jungle, hugging a green plastic tree, and wondering what happened

      Hey! Where's Nefertiti?. Though debatable, she's also more interesting and mysterious. :)

      I also counted 6 pharaohs here. :)