MerNeith and Sobekneferu, first female PharaohsPHAS/Universal Images Group/REX/Shutterstock
Around 2950 BC, MerNeith, the daughter of one pharaoh, wife of another, and mother of another, is believed to have ruled Egypt in her own right for some period of time. The first female pharaoh whose reign was confirmed by scientific evidence was Sobekneferu, who ruled Egypt between 1806 and 1802 BC, following the death of her brother, Amenemhat IV. Don’t miss these 20 quotes from impressive women in history.
Mary Tudor, first female to rule EnglandPHAS/Universal Images Group/REX/Shutterstock
Though Elizabeth I gets all the acclaim, it was her half-sister Mary Tudor, the only adult child of King Henry VIII and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, who was crowned the first Queen of England in 1553. This was after the death of Henry in 1547 and a short reign by Henry’s ill-fated teenage son, Edward (who was Henry’s child with his third wife, Jane Seymour). Known historically as “Bloody Mary” for her sometimes violent political acts, she was succeeded in death by Elizabeth in 1558.