Today is ONE of 365 days that we celebrate mothers — all kinds, all sizes, all species. To be a mom is a tough gig. Happy, sad, melancholy, sentimental, pissed off — all moms of all kinds have felt it all.
Being the creative sprite I am, I was trying to think of other ways to celebrate being a mother/grandmother/mother’s friend/auntie/great grandma.
That’s big shoes to fill.
I thought I might try “bad” (see the quotes?) mothers, but people might get the wrong idea. (There’s actually websites like 13 Worst Celebrity Mothers Alive on This Planet and Bad Women in the Bible!)
So this year, how about — Famous Mother Female Rulers?
You go, mom!
Cleopatra VII Philopator (69 BC–10 August 30 BC) was Queen of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt from 51 to 30 BC, and its last active ruler. She was also a maritime pioneer, linguist, and healer. She studied math, logic, debating, and science, and spoke no less than nine languages. Cleopatra had four children.
Anna Eleanor Roosevelt (1884 – 1962) was an American political figure, diplomat, and activist. She served as the first lady of the United States from 1933 to 1945. She was an early advocate of civil rights, independent and outspoken on the rights of women and African-Americans. She pressed the United States to join and support the United Nations, and became its first delegate. She served as the first chair of the UN Commission on Human Rights, and oversaw the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. She had six children.
Hatshepsut (1507 BC–1458 BC) was the fifth pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt, the second historically confirmed female pharaoh. Hatshepsut was one of the most prolific builders in Ancient Egypt, commissioning hundreds of construction projects throughout both Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt. She also improved the country’s infrastructure. She had one daughter and one adopted son.
Rani Lakshmibai, (1828 – 1858) famously known as ‘Jhansi Ki Rani’, was one of the leading warriors in India’s First War of Independence. Also known as the Rani of Jhansi, she died fighting British colonial rulers near Gwalior in a place known as Kotah-ki-Serai. She was one of the first women freedom fighters of India who revolted against the British in 1857. She had two children.
Catherine II, most commonly known as Catherine the Great (1728 – 1796), was the last reigning Empress of Russia and the country’s longest-ruling female leader. She was a patron of the arts, literature, and education. Under her long reign, she led her country into full participation in the political and cultural life of Europe. She championed the arts and reorganized the Russian law code. She also significantly expanded Russian territory. She had two children.
Empress Wu Zetian (624 CE – 705 CE) was the only female emperor of Imperial China. She reigned during the Tang Dynasty and was one of the most effective and controversial monarchs in China’s history. She broadened the system of civil service exams, elevated the status of Buddhism in Chinese society, and waged a series of wars that saw China’s empire expand further West than ever before. She had four children.
Queen Victoria (1819-1901) was queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland for 63 years. Her “Victorian era” saw the United Kingdom evolve scientifically, politically, culturally, and industrially. She expanded the British Empire to include territories all across Asia and Africa, and democratized the country, including the establishment of the secret ballot, easing of voting requirements, and enacting of wage increases for the working class. She had nine children.
Empress Suiko is known as the first reigning empress of Japan in recorded history (rather than an empress consort), reigning for 35 years. She established Buddhism as the main religion in Japan, and initiated steps to centralize the state under imperial rule. The most famous of her accomplishments was the Seventeen-article Constitution, Japan’s first constitution focused on the morals and virtues of government officials. She had seven children.