Known as “the first great woman in history of whom we are informed,” Hatshepsut reigned as Pharaoh of Egypt during the 15th century BC. While she isn’t the first name that comes to people’s minds when they think of Egyptian rulers, Hatshepsut’s legacy is impossible to ignore, and she was extremely important in Egyptian history. Here are 42 majestic facts about Hatshepsut.
1. But Was She the Queen of Sheba?
Translated into English, Hatshepsut’s name means “Foremost of Noble Ladies.” Given that she was the Pharaoh of Egypt, we can’t argue with that kind of claim!
2. Long Before Christ
Hatshepsut is believed to have been born in 1507 BC. Of course, we can’t be 100% about the date, and we don’t know where she was born. If only papyrus birth certificates weren’t so biodegradable…
3. Born This Way
Reflecting the fact that Hatshepsut took on a position which was traditionally male, most of the statues or artistic depictions of this female monarch usually depict her as being in drag. She wears a false beard and is even given a more masculine frame. Historians suspect that she may likely have worn traditionally male garb when she was ruling as a Pharaoh.
4. 18th Time’s the Charm
Hatshepsut belonged to the Eighteenth Dynasty of Pharaohs in Egyptian history. This dynasty was the first to belong to the era known as the New Kingdom of Egypt, where ancient Egyptian power was at its high watermark. The dynasty lasted from the 16th century BC to the beginning of the 13th century BC, over a time period of more than 250 years.
Among the famous rulers who belonged to this dynasty (including Hatshepsut), the most well-known would undoubtedly be Tutankhamun, or King Tut.
5. High Five, Sister!
Speaking of the Eighteenth Dynasty, it was the second-longest-lived dynasty of Pharaohs behind the Ptolemaic dynasty. Not only that, it is renowned in Egypt for having not just one, but two different Pharaohs who were women. One was Hatshepsut, and the other was a woman best known today as Nefertiti.
6. Setting Trends
Hatshepsut’s parents were Thutmose I and his wife Ahmose. Thutmose I was well known for his military conquests expanding the Egyptian empire further than it had ever gone before him. He was also the first confirmed Pharaoh to have a tomb set up for himself in the renowned Valley of the Kings.
7. Back when the Targaryens Were Considered Normal
This being the royal family of ancient Egypt, Hatshepsut was married to her half-brother, who was also named Thutmose. She was only 12 years old at the time.
8. Assuming the Mantle
Around the time of her marriage to her half-brother, when she was still a child, Hatshepsut’s father died. As a result, Thutmose II became the new Pharaoh. It’s been indicated by a few historical records that Thutmose II ruled for 13 years before he too died, leaving his heir too young to rule. The boy’s stepmother, Hatshepsut, became the regent.
9. Hurray! We Won!
Overall, Hatshepsut’s reign was said to be far more peaceful than other pharaohs’ time on the throne of Egypt. However, artwork in one of Hatshepsut’s temples does indicate to an early military campaign into her reign as Pharaoh. If this war did occur, it was reportedly fought between Egypt and Nubia, and it resulted in a decisive victory for Egypt.
10. Over Shadowed
Aside from her half-brother, Thutmose, Hatshepsut also had a younger sister. Sadly, that’s about all we know of Hatshepsut’s little sister. There aren’t even records of her name.
11. I Like Power, I’ll Take It Now
Hatshepsut ruled as a conventional regent for the young Thutmose III for seven years. After these seven years, she assumed the “full royal titulary” of Pharaoh.
12. No Hard Feelings?
Although she began her rule as the regent for her nephew and stepson, and took the role of Pharaoh for herself, Hatshepsut never once took an effort to kill or disinherit Thutmose III. In fact, he held command of all her armies during her reign as Pharaoh. But that may have all changed after Hatshepsut died…
13. Long May She Reign
Hatshepsut’s reign has been determined to have lasted more than 20 years. That makes her the longest-reigning female ruler in the entire history of Ancient Egypt. Given the incredible longevity of said history, that’s no small feat!
14. It’s a Girl!
According to the knowledge we have of the period, Hatshepsut had one child with her husband, Thutmose II. She was a daughter, and her name was Neferure. Reportedly, Hatshepsut was unable to bear more children after Neferure.
15. My Lost Child
Sadly, we know very little about the life of Hatshepsut’s daughter. Conflicting records indicate that she might have predeceased her mother, or that she lived long enough to marry Hatshepsut’s successor, Thutmose III. Until we invent time machines, however, we will never know the truth.
16. Find Them in Your Local Library
Because of her reputation in history, Hatshepsut has become a fictional character in several novels over the years. Examples of these include Child of the Morning by Pauline Gedge, King and Goddess by Judith Tarr, and Zipporah: Wife of Moses by Marek Halter.
17. Did It Sell as Well as Lord of the Rings?
In addition to the aforementioned examples, Hatshepsut was the subject of her own trilogy of books written by Patricia L. O’Neil. Her Majesty the King, The Horus Throne, and The Eye of Re have been well received, and the first book won the 2008 Genre Fiction Award.
18. Mysterious Timeline
Although historians can place Hatshepsut’s rule in the late 16th and early 15th centuries BC, and can determine the approximate length of time that she ruled, it’s harder to get the exact dates. The problem is that it’s unknown how long her father and half-brother ruled before their deaths. As a result, Hatshepsut could have begun her reign anywhere between 1512 and 1479 BC.
19. An Architect’s Dream
One of the most significant aspects of Hatshepsut’s reign was an emphasis on reconstruction and ambitious new building projects. Many of these building projects took place in the Egyptian city of Thebes.
20. She Brings Experience to the Workplace
One theory why Hatshepsut faced no opposition to her assumption of her own royal title was her experience within the rule of Egypt. During the reign of Thutmose II, Hatshepsut was very active within the administration of Egypt. Given this familiarity and experience with ruling, Hatshepsut’s ascension to the title of monarch must have made sense to her subjects.
21. And Featuring…
Some of you might be aware of the children’s book series titled Horrible Histories. In 2009, a British sketch comedy series was adapted from said books, lasting five seasons. Hatshepsut made an appearance in one of the episodes of this TV series, portrayed by actress Sarah Hadland.
22. The Power of Spiritual Vouching
For her part, Hatshepsut was quick to use the religion of ancient Egypt in her favor to become Pharaoh. She allegedly claimed that her own father had named her his heir. Moreover, it was reportedly declared by the Oracle of Amun, who was one of the primary gods in ancient Egyptian theology. It’s hard to argue with a god, after all!