Now that Spain will be having a new monarchy in just a few days, we’re celebrating Princess Letizia’s upcoming coronation by listing the top 5 greatest Queens of history. These inspiring ladies managed to rule over their countries and defend them against foreign influences, gaining both the love and hatred of many, and fascinating us years after their disappearance.

Discover them!

 

Greatest Queen of history #5: Catherine the Great

Born as Sophia Augusta Frederica in Prussia, she married the Grand Duke Peter of Russia in 1745, and acquired the title of Empress of Russia in 1761. She was an avid reader, and was interested in the ideas of the French Enlightenment. She was also extremely ambitious, and when a riot against his unpopular husband rose, she forced him to abdicate, sent him to his death, and named herself sole ruler of Russia.

During her time as Empress, Catherine reviewed the laws of Russia in search of an impartial justice system, improved the educational system, supported the arts, and gave Russia years of peace.

 

Greatest Queen of history #4: Boadicea

An ancient queen, Boadicea, also known as Boudica, Boudicca or Boadacaea, was the ruler of the Iceni tribe of East England, alongside her husband Prasutagus. When the Romans invaded Britain, they allowed Prasutagus to continue his kingdom, yet, soon after his death, they decided to occupy the province. In the process, they humiliated the queen by flogging her and abusing her publicly.

In revenge, Boadicea reunited the leaders of other tribes which resented the Roman occupation, and guided them in a revolt against the foreigners. The queen and her large army managed to conquer some of the cities, but after her army began to weaken, she was finally defeated. It’s said that Boadicea killed herself with poison to avoid being captured by the Romans.   

 

Greatest Queen of history #3: Cleopatra VII

With only 17 years, Cleopatra was named co-ruler of Egypt with her brother after her father died. However, the intelligent and ambitious girl tried to name herself sole ruler of the nation, making her brother drive her to exile. Yet, she didn’t give up, and return to the country with an army of her own, while also gaining Roman support through Julius Caesar to regain the Egyptian throne.

After Caesar’s death, she also managed to conquer the Roman general Mark Antony’s affection, yet by then she was considered an enemy of Rome, and she was defeated by the Octavian army. Both Mark Antony and Cleopatra committed suicide, thus keeping her dignity even after her demise. She was beloved by her people despite her Greek origins, and she was considered one of the smartest women of her time. 

   

Greatest Queen of history #2: Victoria

One of the most well-known queens of all times, Victoria was the only heir of the crown after William IV’s death, and she took it when she was only 18. Alongside her beloved husband, Prince Albert, queen Victoria of England worked in favor of the poor and allowed many reforms to the law which gave more power to the people, thus reinforcing the constitutional monarchy.

Although she was very conservative, even standing against women’s right to vote, Victoria was a powerful female figure on her own, and under her long reign England progressed like never before, becoming a leading world power.

 

Greatest Queen of history #1: Elizabeth I

A controversial child, Elizabeth was the daughter of King Henry VII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn, with whom he had married against the will of the papacy. The King expected a son, yet against all forecasts, Elizabeth was another girl, and she was considered his illegitimate heir by the public, which favored his first child, Mary. An extremely well-educated girl, Elizabeth was named queen after a series of political intricacies and against the will of most members of the government.

Popular amongst her people, the arts flourished under her reign, and she managed to unite England after years of division amongst Catholicism and Protestantism. She favored religious tolerance and managed to greatly improve the country’s economy. Elizabeth I refused to marry, being known as “the Virgin Queen”, and dedicating her entire life to England.

 

 

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Sources:
About.com. Boudicca (Boadicea). http://womenshistory.about.com/od/boudicca/p/boudicca.htm
BBC. Cleopatra. http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/cleopatra.shtml
Encyclopedia of World Biography. Catherine the Great. http://www.notablebiographies.com/Ca-Ch/Catherine-the-Great.html
English History. Queen Elizabeth I. http://englishhistory.net/tudor/monarchs/eliz1.html
Elizabethi. Queen Elizabeth I. http://www.elizabethi.org/contents/biography/
The Royal Household. Victoria. http://www.royal.gov.uk/historyofthemonarchy/kingsandqueensoftheunitedkingdom/thehanoverians/victoria.aspx
Smithsonian.com. Who was Cleopatra? http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/who-was-cleopatra-151356013/?no-ist
Women in World History. Great women rulers. http://www.womeninworldhistory.com/rulers.html