Women rulers

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by Camille24
Last updated 6 years ago

Discipline:
Social Studies
Subject:
European history

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Women rulers

Isabella I of CastileQueen of Spain, 1451-1504When Isabella married Ferdinand of Aragon in 1469, both she and her husband became joint rulers of the whole of Spain. They governed independently, however, and Isabella initiated a program of reform which reduced the power of her rebellious nobles, streamlined her government, and encouraged scholarship. Intensely religious, she helped establish the Inquisition in Andalusia, which led to the expulsion from Spain of over 170,000 Jews. With Ferdinand, she conquered Granada, the remaining territory of the Moors. Eventually, they too were expelled from Spain.

CleopatraQueen of Egypt, 69-30 B.CCleopatra was the last Pharaoh of Egypt, and the last of the Ptolemy dynasty of Egyptian rulers. As she tried to keep power for her dynasty, she made famous (or infamous) connections with Roman rulers Julius Caesar and Marc Antony.

NefertitiQueen of Egypt, 14th Century B.C.Nefertiti was the powerful wife of Akhenaton, who worshiped a new religion honoring only one God, Aten. She later rejected this religion, backing her half-brother who re-established the old worship of the sun-god Amon. Her beauty was immortalized in exquisite sculptures made at the time.

Women rulers

Joan of ArcLeader of the French Army, 1412-1431Born into a peasant family, Joan became a French heroine by leading the army of Charles VII against the English and raising their siege of Orleans. Captured by the Burgundians, and ransomed by the English, she was put on trial on charges of witchcraft and fraud. She eventually was convicted only of wearing male clothes, an offense against the Church, and was burned at the stake. Her legend grew and she became canonized in 1920.

Elizabeth IQueen of England, 1533-1603With a childhood full of political intrigue, it was assumed that Elizabeth would never become queen. But she did, and as queen managed for a time to quiet her Catholic population with acts of tolerance, promote government reforms, strengthen the currency, and forward the growth of a capitalist economy. Highly educated, she also turned her court into a great center of learning. Elizabeth's foreign relations were uneasy. Always pressured to marry to form political alliances, she diplomatically seemed to consider it, but in the end always refused. Her greatest success was the defeat of the invading Spanish Armada in 1588 in the waters off England's west coast. Her greatest failures were the suppression of uprisings in Ireland and her long wars. During Elizabeth's colorful 45 year reign, England became a strong European power, a vibrant commercial force, and an place of intellectual accomplishment. The "Elizabethan age" rightly was one of England's most fascinating eras.

VictoriaQueen of England, 1819-1901Queen Victoria's reign was the longest in English history. Called the Victorian age, it was a time when Britain was at the height of its colonial power. Victoria became a symbol of British expansionist foreign policy. She insisted on taking an active part in the decisions of the government, and forcefully backed those ministers she liked. She herself was most proud of her role as wife and mother - she had nine children. After the death of her beloved husband Prince Albert, she went into a period of deep depression, dropping out of public view for three years. Her popularity increased in her late years, particularly during time of national celebrations, like the Jubilees of 1887 and 1897.

Catherine the GreatEmpress of Russia. 1729-1796Ambitious and intelligent, Catherine arrived in Russia from Germany in 1744 to marry the 16 year old Grand Duke Peter. His unpopularity allowed her to depose him, orchestrate his death, and proclaim herself sole ruler of Russia. Considering herself a ruler in line with enlightenment ideas, she supported progressive ideas, such as reforms in law, education, and provincial and municipal administration. But she ruled as an autocrat and suppressed Polish nationalists, which led to Poland's partition, and took the Crimea and parts of the Black Sea coast from Turkey.


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