Women have been in war from ancient times. They have played important roles in the history of ancient warfare. There have been several fearsome female warriors in history with amazing skills. These female warriors are mentally and physically strong through training. These female warriors were powerful, beautiful and intelligent. Who were the most fearsome female warriors in history?
Here is the list of 10 of the most fearsome female warriors in history with badass skills:
10. Zenobia, the Queen of Palmyra, Syria
Zenobia was a third-century queen from the Palmyrene Empire in Syria. The queen is famous for her rebel against the Romans. After this, Zenobia is a standard icon for “strong woman” for centuries. Apart from her courage and strength she was one of the most beautiful ancient queens in history. In history of ancient warfare, Zenobia is an iconic warrior queen and clever ruler. During her reign she had some of the most intelligent people around her. With such great philosophers and intelligent people around, she was able to rule cleverly. Apart from her ruling skills, she opposed the Romans and conquered Egypt with her fearsome tactics.
9. Rani Lakshmibai, India
Rani Lakshmibai was known as Rani of Jhansi who was the queen of the princely state of Jhansi. She was a leading figure and fearsome warrior of the Indian Rebellion of 1857 resisting the British Raj. Rani Lakshmibai is also one of the most famous queens in history. She was a leader of the Indian Mutiny of 1857–58. During her childhood she received training in martial combat, sword fighting and riding horse. She is often portrayed riding a horse with her son tied behind her and a dangerous sword on her hand. Rani Lakshmibai successfully led an assault on the city-fortress of Gwalior. After taking control of Gwalior, she marched east to Morar to counterattack British forces led by Gen. Hugh Rose. She disguised as a man went to fight a fearsome battle against the British and was martyred.
8. Rusla and Stikla, Norway
The Vikings were extraordinary and cruel fighters who pillaged Europe 1,000 years ago. Among the Vikings were two female pirates – the Rusla and Stikla sisters who are known as one of the most cruel and fearsome Viking pirates in history. They were Norwegian skjaldmö warriors from 10th Century who took a Viking fleet to attack Danish ships to avenge the affront to Rusla’s brother. Stikla is often cited as Rusla’s sister and her deputy in all rides. Together, the duo went on a rampage attacking Iceland, Denmark and the British Isles. Stikla didn’t marry and became a fearsome pirate. Rusla became history’s most cruel of all warrior Norse women.
7. Triệu Thị Trinh, Vietnam
Lady Triệu is what this monstrous and fearsome Vietnamese female warrior is called. The 3rd Century warrior was purportedly nine feet tall and extremely strong. She is famous for resisting the Chinese state of Eastern Wu during its occupation of Vietnam. In Vietnam she is known as Vietnamese Joan of Arc. According to some accounts, she was beautiful and had a voice of a temple bell. After killing her sister, she went to the forest and gathered a small army of followers to rebel against the Chinese. She is highly celebrated as a war hero in Vietnam. There are several streets and cities with her name.
6. St Joan of Arc, France
St. Joan of Arc with the nickname “The Maid of Orléans” was a fearsome warrior and military leader who led the French army to victory over the English during the Hundred Years’ War. She was a martyr who came from a peasant family and rose to prominence when she was still a teenager. She was one of the most beautiful queens in history. Today, St Joan of Arc is a symbol of brave and active woman. The national heroine of France after winning the English was captured a year later. The English and their French collaborators burnt her at the stake as a heretic.
5. Fu Hao, China
Fu Hao was a serious badass from the history of China. She was the first female general in the history of China. Very little information regarding her has been found till date which was found by archaeologists in the caves near Anyang. There have been nearly 200 references to Fu Hao in the inscription on a single cave. She was one among the wives of the great King Wu Ding, highly regarded monarchs of Shang Dynasty. After marrying the king, she rose to power slowly and became the first female general of China, leading an army of 13,000 soldiers. The king had utmost faith on Fu Hao who showed amazing warrior skills by defending the borders of the kingdom. She launched several assaults on the enemy tribes to defend the borders.
4. Tomoe Gozen, Japan
Tomoe Gozen is one of the most fearsome female samurais in history. She was not only fearsome but one of the most famous warriors in Japan. Warfare in feudal Japan was only a male affair, but Tomoe Gozen was an exception. Female warriors were generally deployed to defend their homes and villages, but Tomoe Gozen was deployed as an offensive. This set Tomoe Gozen apart from other female warriors. The 12th Century warrior was trained in marital arts, use of sword, bow and arrow. Her famous and strong appearance happens during the Genpei War and Battle of Awazu. During the Battle of Awazu, Tomoe Gozen is known to have defeated some of the most famous and powerful samurais in history – Uchida Ieyoshi and Hatakeyama Shigetada.
3. Nakano Takeko, Japan
Nakano Takeko was a brave female warrior of the Aizu domain. She fought fearlessly and died against the Imperial Army in the Boshin War. She was a trained martial artist from her childhood. Nakano Takeko can be called as the last female samurai in Japan. The fearsome woman was in the final stages of samurai era that ended in a tragic and bloody battle.
In 1868, the civil war between the Japanese shogunate and Meji government backed by the Western government became fierce and deadly. Many shogunate surrendered but Nakano Takeko was one of the female warriors to have not surrendered. Aizu retainers did not allow women to fight. This led her to form her own small unit of female warriors to fight. They all fought with a naginata, a Japanese polearm. Nakano Takeko led a fearless attack and killed several enemy soldiers herself, but was badly injured by bullet and later died in the battle.
2. Ana Nzinga, Angola
Ana Nzinga or Njinga of Angola was the queen of Ndongo and Matamba Kingdoms. She is often praised as one of the most fearless and brave female warriors of Africa. Ana Nzinga was a ruthless and powerful 17th century queen who fought against the Portuguese who were colonizing Luanda (today the capital of Angola). She fought for the freedom and stature of the people of her kingdoms.
In 1617, the governor of Luanda began an aggressive campaign against the kingdom of Ndongo to flee the king and the people from the region. Thousands of people were taken prisoners. The Portuguese troops invaded deep inside the capital. The king sent Nzinga to form a peace treaty in 1621. It was a success. The Portuguese violated the treaty and began an even powerful offensive against the kingdom. The king is alleged to have committed suicide due to growing Portuguese pressure. Nzinga took control. She was unable to contain the Portuguese. Nzinga was baptised as Ana de Sousa Nzinga Mbande for peace. Even this didn’t last long. In 1626, she was forced to flee. She captured the nearby kingdom – kingdom of Matamba.
To become powerful again in the new kingdom, she offered sanctuary to runaway slaves and soldiers who we were trained by the Portuguese army. She then formed an alliance with the Dutch. Nzinga, by now had troops of Dutch and her own massive army. She went to fight in the lost Ndongo kingdom against the Portuguese and forced them out from the kingdom. Before Nzinga’s death in 1661, she was equal in power to the Portuguese colony. Queen Nzinga was respected by the Portuguese for her cleverness and amazing military tactics.
1. Boudica, the Queen of the Iceni, Great Britain
Boudica, the queen of the Iceni was a fearsome warrior and rebel. When the Romans were occupying the British lands, Boudica rose as a rebel and leader. At one stage, the Romans were seriously considering on giving up the British lands due to Boudica. During her rebellion, nearly 70,000–80,000 Romans and British were killed.
Nothing much is known about the mysterious warrior like her nativity, cause of death and place of death. She rose to power when the king of ancient British tribe of the Iceni died. Romans took some wrong decisions and assumptions against the British kingdom. They thought that a woman isn’t going to hurt them. When she rose to power, she was extremely fearless, fearsome and brutal. She led a force of 100,000 Iceni, Trinovantes, and others to fight the Romans. She burned London to ashes and died after her failures. The beautiful leader of British Celtic Iceni tribe is considered as a folk hero today.