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Dona Juliana Dias da Costa (1658-1733) was a woman of Portuguese descent
who became Harem-Queen to the Mughal emperor of India Bahadur Shah I.
Juliana Dias da Costa rode on a war elephant alongside her husband, Mughal
emperor of India Bahadur Shah I, in battles to defend his authority. She
managed to remain a devout Catholic in a Muslim state.
1718-1721: Mary Read (died 1721) was an English pirate. She is
chiefly remembered as one of only two women (her comrade, Anne Bonny,
was the other) known to have been convicted of piracy during the early
18th century, at the height of the Golden Age of Piracy. Read's ship was
taken by pirates, who forced her to join them. She took the King's
pardon c.1718-1719, and took a commission to privateer, until that ended
with her joining the crew in mutiny. In 1720 she joined pirate John
"Calico Jack" Rackham and his companion, the female pirate Anne Bonny.
Read remained dressed as a man at first. Nobody knew that Read was
female until Bonny began to take a liking to Read thinking she was a
handsome young fellow. That forced Read to reveal to Bonny that she was
a woman. Rackham, who was Bonny's lover, became jealous of the intimacy
between them and threatened to cut the throat of Bonny's new paramour.
To prevent Read's death, Rackham was also let in on the secret;
following, Rackham decided to break male seafaring tradition by allowing
both women to remain on the crew. Eventually, Read and Bonny would wear
men's clothes while attacking merchants in Jamaica, and women's clothes
at other times.
1700-1705: Tarabai (1675–1761) was a queen of the Maratha Empire in
India. The Marathas were continually at war with the Mughals, and in
1700 the Maratha capital Satara was besieged and surrendered to the
Mughals. At about the same time Rajaram, who was the king at that time,
died. Then Tarabai assumed control in the name of her son, Sambhaji II.
Tarabai was skilled in cavalry movement, and made strategic movements
herself during wars. She personally led the war and continued the
onslaught on the Mughals. A truce was offered to the Mughals in such way
that it was promptly rejected by the Mughal emperor, and Tarabai
continued the Maratha resistance. By 1705, Tarabai with her Marathas had
crossed the Narmada and entered Malwa, which was in Mughal possession.
There they defeated several Mughal garrisons. This aggressive Maratha
strategy brought ruin upon the Mughals. They were defeated and withdrew
from Maratha country...
Ulrika Eleonora Stålhammar (1688–1733) was a
Swedish female soldier in the Swedish army under Charles XII and
cross dresser during the Great Northern War. She enlisted in the army in
Kalmar as an artillerist in 1713, under the name of William Edstedt, and
remained in the army for thirteen years. In 1728, Ulrika went to Denmark and
wrote a letter of confession to the Swedish government and asked for its
Margareta Elisabeth Roos or Anna Stina Roos (1696–1772) was a
Swedish-Estonian woman and a cross dresser who served as a soldier in the
Swedish army under Charles XII of Sweden during the Great Northern War. Some
sources name her as Anna Stina Roos. She enlisted in the army in 1713
because she was in love with an officer. She served as a soldier in the
battle fields until the end of the war in 1721, during which time she was
noted for great courage and promoted to the rank of non-commissioned
officer. She was never discovered. She is said to have been so "masculine"
in her ways regarding alcohol usage and foul language that no-one suspected
her of being a woman, and she was also a tall as a man.
Margareta von Ascheberg (1671 - 1753), was a Swedish land owner, acting
regiment colonel and noble during the Great Northern War. As a widow of a
military officer, she had the obligation to perform his task of a colonel
regarding the organization of his regiment, when it was called to serve in
the Great Northern war in 1700. She equipped the regiment, appointed the
officers of the regiment and sat at the inspection office of the regiment
when it was sent to war from Kristianstad. She was called "Coloneless";
Maria Faxell, minister's wife who averted a Norwegian attack in Värmland
during the Great Northern War. When a Norwegian squad attacked the village
her husband's absence, and panic broke out in the district, Faxell gathered
men and women with old rifles and let the little alarm in the church lock
hands. The Norwegians frightened away in the belief that there were Swedish
1704-1705: Mai Bhago(Mata Bhag
Kaur) was a Sikh
woman who led Sikh soldiers against the Mughals. She was the sole survivor
of the battle of Khidrana, i.e. Battle of Muktsar in 1705. Forty (chali) men
along with Mai Bhago, waded headlong into the Muslim forces (around 10,000
soldiers) and inflicted so much damage that the Muslims were finally forced
to give up their attack and retreat as darkness fell to lick their wounds in
the nearby woods. She personally killed several enemy soldiers on the
1705: Because a Comanche raid covered hundreds of miles and lasted for
months, wives often accompanied war parties, where they served as snipers,
cooks, and torturers. Unmarried Comanche
women were also known to have ridden into combat, although this was
considered somewhat scandalous.
Ingela Gathenhielm operated the Swedish privateering fleet jointly with
her husband during the Great Northern War who in 1710 had received
permission from the king to attack and plunder ships from enemy nations on
the Baltic Sea (and also, as it was said, often attacked other ships as
When widowed in 1718 she continued piracy herself.
1715-1782: Anne Bonny (1702–c.1782) was a pirate who plied her trade in
the Caribbean. When Bonny was 13, she supposedly stabbed a servant girl in
the stomach with a table knife. Bonny did not disguise herself as a man in
order to join Rackham's crew aboard the Revenge as is often claimed. In
fact, she and Mary Read helped Rackham steal the sloop at anchor in Nassau
harbor and set off to sea, putting together a crew and taking several
prizes. She took part in combat alongside the men, and the accounts
describing her exploits present her as competent, effective in combat, and
someone who gained the respect of her fellow pirates. She and Rackham saw
several successes as pirates, capturing many ships and bringing in an
abundance of treasure. Although Bonny is one of the best-known pirates in
history, she never commanded a ship of her own. Her renown derives from the
fact that she was a rarity: a female pirate.
Olsdotter, Swedish hero who saved her
native city from Russians during the Great Northern War. In 1719, on the way
to Linköping, the Russian army met an old woman and apparently stopped to
ask her something. She improvised a story and told them that a courier had
arrived in Linköping with the message that the British fleet had come to
Sweden's rescue, and that a Swedish army of 20,000 soldiers was on its way.
This made the Russian army turn back and refrain from attacking the city. As
a result, the city of Linköping, which was in fact without any protection at
all, was saved from being burned.
Nanny of the Maroons, also known as Queen Nanny and Granny Nanny, a
National Hero of Jamaica, was a well-known leader of the Jamaican Maroons
She led rebel slaves in First Maroon War against the British.
Comtesse de Polignac and Marchioness de Nesle fought a duel over their
mutual lover, Duc de Richelieu. Madame de Nesle’s opening shot hit a tree branch above her,
which came loose and fell on her opponent. Madame de Polignac had better
aim: The ball from her gun stuck in Madame de Nesle’s corset, drawing a bit
of blood from the woman’s left breast. Though both were injured, the wounds
were slight and the women parted, neither worse for the wear.
Swiss Cesar de Saussure visiting England described two women
fighting with swords in a public arena
watched by a crowd of nobleman and gentlemen who wagered large sums of money
on the outcome of the combat. The spectators encouraged the fighters
throwing money to the arena after each dangerous lunge or cut. The women
fought in full strength and skillfully with three kinds of weapon; the
two-hand sword, the sword and dagger, and the sword and shield. "The first
wound was a serious cut to the forehead of one of the combatants who, after
being stitched up and taking a drink of spirits to strengthen her
resolve, rejoined the fray, only to be wounded again. This wound too
required stitches. Bravely, she picked up her sword again only to receive a
terrible wound across her neck and throat. So bad was this wound that she
was unable, not surprisingly, to continue fighting. Both women were covered
with sweat and the loser with blood as well".
Glory of the Morning, was a female chief
of the Ho-Chunk or Hocak (Winnebago) nation. As the French struggled with
the Fox over the fur trade, Glory of the Morning firmly allied herself with
her French husband and his people, precipitating seven years of war with
their neighbors. In the end, she was instrumental in bringing peace. Later
she allowed renewed warfare against the Illini, her braves falling upon the
Michigamea and the Cahokia. When war between France and England broke out in
1754, the Hocak warriors attacked the English settlements far to the east.
However, when the British overcame the French, Glory of the Morning
established friendly relations with them and refused to tread the war path
was a British female dragoon and sailor. In 1740,
she was serving as a common sailor on-board the Maidstone frigate; and,
in an action between that ship and a French enemy, she so greatly
distinguished herself, by personal prowess, as to be particularly
noticed by the whole crew. It is, by the circumstances of her portrait
being taken with a Frenchman's head in her hand, after the conquest cut
off the head of her defeated opponent, as a trophy of victory.
Hay,Countess of Erroll. She raised an
army of Buchan men for Prince Charles Edward Stuart. Making Slains Castle
the chief centre for landing Jacobite secret agents, she had an implied
understanding with the naval officer patrolling the coast of Buchan to let
her know when his ship was passing off Slains. Once landed at Slains, they
were hurried inland to another of her strongholds, Delgatie Castle, with its
hidey-holes and secret passage.
Anne Farquharson-MacKintosh (1723-1787) was a military commander during
the 1745 Jacobite Uprising. She was a
Jacobite of the Clan Farquharson and the wife of Angus, Chief of the Clan
MacKintosh. 22 year-old Anne dressed in male attire, rode around the glens
and, in a very short time, enlisted 97 of the 100 men required for the
captaincy. When Prince Charles Edward Stuart landed in Scotland in 1745,
Anne forcefully raised between 200 and 400 men for the Prince. A month later
the Prince was staying at Moy Hall, Lady Anne's home. She received a message
from her mother-in-law that 1,500 of Lord Loudon's men, including her
husband's company stationed 8-12 miles away at Inverness, were planning a
night raid on Moy Hall to snatch the Prince (and claim the £30,000 bounty).
Anne sent five of her staff out with guns to crash about and shout clan
battle cries to trick the Government forces into thinking they were about to
face the entire Jacobite army. The ploy worked and the Government force
fled. The event became known as The Rout of Moy. After the Battle of
Culloden, Lady Anne was arrested and turned over to the care of her
mother-in-law for a time. The Prince called her "Colonel Anne" and "La Belle
Rebelle" (the beautiful rebel).
Phoebe Hessel(1713-1821) known for
disguising herself as a man to serve in the British Army with her lover,
Samuel Golding. She served as a soldier in the West Indies and
Gibraltar. She fought and was wounded in the Battle of Fontenoy in 1745.
She was sometimes referred to as the 'Stepney Amazon'; Amazon Street and
Hessel Street (both named in her honour) still exist in Stepney (now
part of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets).
Maria van Antwerpen (1719–1781) was a Dutch soldier and cross dresser.
She is perhaps the most famous and well-documented example of a female cross
dresser enlisting in the army as a man. She also married twice to women. She
enlisted in the military as Jan van Ant in 1746 and married the sergeant
daughter Johanna Cramers in 1748. Recognized by a former employer in 1751,
she was put on trial for making a mockery of marriage and by entering an
illegal marriage, and sentenced to exile from all garrison cities.
1746-1750: Hannah Snell (1723–1792), was a
British woman who disguised herself as a man and became a a Royal Marine, In
August 1748, her unit was sent to an expedition to capture the French colony of
Pondicherry in India. Later, she fought in the battle in Devicotta in June 1749.
She was wounded eleven times to the legs and once to the groin. She either
managed to treat her groin wound without revealing her sex or she may have used
the services of a sympathetic Indian nurse. She has her military service
officially recognized and is granted a pension.
Nanye-hi ("One who goes about"), known in English as
Nancy Ward (1738–1822/1824) was a ghigau, or beloved woman of the
Cherokee nation, Nancy Ward fought side-by-side with her husband at the
Battle of Taliwa. When her husband was killed, she picked up his rifle and
led the Cherokee to victory. She believed in peaceful coexistence with white
1755-c.1802: English gentlemen had learned the fencing arts abroad until
1755, when Italian fencer Dominico Angelo Malevolti Tremamondo (1716-1802),
known as Angelo, came to London in the company of the celebrated beauty,
actress Peg Woffington, and stayed to establish a dynasty of fencing
opened Angelo's School of Arms in Soho; he and his descendants trained
generations of wealthy English youth in fencing and horsemanship. There were
aristocratic women among his students and performers including skillful
female fencers like Duchess of Queensbury, Mademoiselle d’Eon and Madame
Collie of Rome. In 1763 Angelo published L'Ecole d'Armes illustrated with
forty-seven copper-plates by famous English artists. The drawings depicted
fencing matches and duels including a few in which women participated. The
picture at right depicts Madame Collie having come from Rome to participate
in the fencing matches in 1816.
Louis Auguste André Timothée d’Éon de Beaumont
was born a female but lived the first half of her life as a man. D’Eon’s
autobiography states that she was raised as a boy because her father could
only inherit money from his in-laws if he had a son. As was usual for the
day, because her family were nobles without a title, they styled themselves
as “Chevalier” - meaning “Knight”. In 1756, d’Eon joined the spy service of
King Louis XV and traveled on a secret mission to Russia to meet the Empress
Elizabeth. In 1761, d’Éon returned to France. The next year she became a
captain of dragoons under the Marshal de Broglie and fought in the later
stages of the Seven Years’ War. She was wounded and received the Order of
Saint-Louis. She was eventually granted a pension and lived in political
exile in London. She lived out the rest of her life as a woman.
1759-1771: Mary Lacy (1740-1795), was a British woman who disguised
herself as a man and became a Royal Marine. At the age of 19, called herself
“William Chandler”, she became apprentice to a shipwright and went to sea
aboard the Sandwich. When she first came to the ship, she refused to dress
off and had to fight with a boy. The fight then developed into a wrestling
match and Mary managed to win the match (it took her a lot of trouble and
luck) having had prestige with the ship’s boys. When she was finally
disclosed, it was through betrayal by a false female friend, the men who
were informed about the “lady in disguise” did nothing. There were no
1764: María Josefa Gabriela Cariño Silang (1731–1763), was the
first Philippine woman to lead a revolt during the Spanish colonization
of the Philippines. An active member of the insurgent force of Diego
Silang, her husband, she led the group for four months after his death
before she was captured and executed.
1770: Princess Ekaterina Vorontsova-Dashkova (1743–1810) was the
closest female friend of Empress Catherine the Great and a major figure
of the Russian Enlightenment. In 1770, she visited London and met with
one of the most educated woman of her time, countess Foxton in the house
of Russian ambassador Pushkin. The two educated ladies talked in
presence of the ambassador’s wife, countess Pushkina. After a half and
hour of conversation between the ladies, a heated argument was in
progress. The debaters were equally skilled in dispute and the situation
soon went out of control. After an offensive remark by Foxton, Dashkova
got up slowly in silence, with a gesture inviting the opponent to rise.
Then Dashkova slapped her in the face; the English lady did the same
without hesitation. Countess Pushkina only came to her senses when the
competitors demanded swords. After unsuccessful attempts of calm the
women down, she gave them the weapon. The duelists fought in the garden;
Dashkova was wounded in her shoulder, the duels finished.
1770s: Nancy Morgan Hart (1735 – 1830) was a heroine of the American
Revolutionary War whose exploits against Loyalists in the Georgia
backcountry are the stuff of legend. A group of "Tory" soldiers (5 or 6)
came by her house and demanded that she cook them one of the turkeys in her
yard before they left. As they entered the cabin, they placed their guns by
the door and sat down at her table to eat. As they were drinking and eating,
she was pushing their guns through a hole in the wall of her log cabin.
After they had been drinking a sufficient time, she grabbed one of the
remaining guns and threatened the men not to move. One ignored her and she
killed him. Another made a move toward the weapons and was also killed by
Hart. The remaining Tories were held captive until her husband, Benjamin
Hart, and neighbors arrived. According to legend, her husband wanted to
shoot the soldiers, but she demanded they hang. They were hanged on a nearby
1773: Afro-European fencer Julius Soubise (originally named Mungo) was
the black servant and page of the eccentric Duchess of Queensbury. The Duchess sent him to Angelo's fencing
academy in London where he was trained and developed considerable skill
in swordsmanship and eventually became a fencing instructor in the
employ of Mr. Angelo. Soubise taught aristocratic women to fence. In
1773, a famous engraving showed depicted Soubise having a fencing match
with the Duchess of Queensbury at Angelo's Fencing School.
1774: Female Cossacks alone (the most of the men were out in a military
campaign) repulsed the assault of 8-thousand army of Crimean Khan on their
settlement Naur. Naur defense was the first case when Cossack women
accomplished a military mission. Since that time Cossack women were always
familiar with weapon and fighting. It was a stern necessity in the frontier
Circa 1775: Fanny Campbell,woman from
Lynn, Massachusetts was among the first captains to take private craft into
service against the British during the American Revolution. Fanny Campbell
signed on aboard the Constance with the idea of freeing her sweetheart,
William Lovell who was jailed in Cuba mistakenly charged with piracy. Her
ship was attacked by a British bark, the George. The engagement had an
unexpected conclusion: the George became a prize of the Constance, and they
sailed on to Cuba together. The rescue attempt was a success; not only
William Lovell but ten other jailed Americans were freed. Fanny Campbell had
a happy reunion with her sweetheart, but no one else was told that the
officer everyone called "Captain Channing" was not quite the man they
thought he was. Back at sea, the Constance and the George soon took another
prize, a British merchant ship that had interesting news: formal war had
begun between England and America. Therefore Campbell's ships had an
opportunity to escape the stigma of piracy by becoming legitimate privateers
in the American cause.
Sybil Ludington (1761-1839) was a young woman known for a night ride
to alert American colonial forces during the American Revolution. During
her famous raid, she used a stick to prod her horse and knock on doors.
She managed to defend herself against a highway man with her father's
musket. She is also known as the "female Paul Revere".
1778: Bibi Rajindar Kaur (1739-1791) or Rajindan, was a Patiala
Sikh princess known for her valorous qualities. In 1778, her first
cousin Raja Amar Singh of Patiala was defeated by Hari Singh of Sialba.
She led 3,000 soldiers to rescue him. She also defended the city of
Patiala against Maratha attacks.
1778: Molly Pitcher (1754-1832), a legendary woman having fought in the
American Revolutionary War. The deeds in the story of Molly Pitcher are
generally attributed to Mary Ludwig Hays McCauley, wife of William Hays. She
got the name Molly Pitcher when the soldiers said, "Molly, Pitcher" (Molly,
give a pitcher with water). During the
Battle of Monmouth in 1778,
Mrs. Hays took her husband's place at his cannon when he fell wounded. After
the battle, General George Washington issued her a warrant as a
non-commissioned officer, and she was thereafter known by the nickname
1778-1803: Indigenous women in Ecuador actively participated and led rebellions against the
Spanish. In 1778, Baltazara Chuiza led a rebellion in Ecuador against the
Spanish. In 1803 Lorenza Abimañay with Jacinta Juárez and Lorenza
Peña, leaded a indigenous rebellion of 10.000 indigenous (in Guamote and
Columbe, in Ecuador) against pay of taxes. The rebellion was suppressed and
Lorenza Abimañay was murder along with other indigenous leaders. Besides,
there were many brave female warriors such as Rosa Señapanta, Margarita
Ochoa and Margarita Pantoja.
1780: The Andean women in Peru and Bolivia played the main role in the
rebellion of the Inca Tupac Amaru and Tupac Katari. The Andean women fought
to rebuild the Quechua-Aymara nation and recover their ancestral rights that
were wrenched by the conquerors. Gregoria Apaza, Bartolina Sisa, Kurusa
Llave, Tomás Katari´s widow, Micaela Bastidas (partner of Tupac Amaru) are
the Andean heroines. Dressed like a man, Gregoria Apaza leaded the female
troops in several battles to support the Amaru´s army. She was partner of
Andres Tupak Amaru, who was son of the Inca Tupak Amaru. Kurusa Llave leaded
the Quiswas´s army of Chayanta and was defeated by the troops leaded by
Ignacio Flores that came to Spanish's aid. Bartolina Sisa, called Virreina,
fought with Tupac Katari in the historical siege of Chuquiago (La Paz),
where the indigenous made a "human wall". (See "The life of Bartolina Sisa).
Micaela Bastidas that had Quechua and African origin, fought in the amarista
and katarista rebellion. After the victory of Sangarará, when Tupac Amaru
hesitated to advance over Cuzco, Micaela incited him to march quickly over
the ancient capital of the Inca people.
1780: Ñusta Huillac was a Kolla leader who rebelled against the
Spanish in Chile in 1780. She was nicknamed La Tirana (Spanish for "The
Tyrant") because of her mistreatment of prisoners. She fell in love with
Vasco de Almeida, one of her prisoners, and pleaded with her people for
him. After her father's death, she became the leader of a group of Inca
who were brought to Chile to mine silver in Huantajaya.
1780: Manuela Beltrán (born 1850) was a Colombian woman who organized a
peasant revolt against excess taxation in 1780. She led the "Strike action"
which extended to over sixty cities and towns in the Andean Region of
Colombia and Los Llanos. The revolt eventually ended with a fake negotiation
offered by the Viceroy, followed by the capture and execution of most of the
revolt leaders including José Antonio Galán. Whether or not Manuela Beltran
was also executed remains unclear.
1781-1782: Bartolina Sisa (1750/1753-1782) was an Aymara woman and the
wife of Tupac Katari. Together with her husband, she led an indigenous
uprising against the Spanish in Bolivia at the head of an army of some
40,000 which laid siege to the city of La Paz in 1781. Katari and Sisa set
up court in El Alto and their army maintained the siege for 184 days, from
March to June and from August to October. Sisa was a commander of the siege,
and played the crucial rule following Katari's capture in April. The siege
was broken by colonial troops who advanced from Lima and Buenos Aires.
Sisa was captured and executed by the Spanish on September 5, 1782
1782: Deborah Sampson (1760-1827) was the first known American
woman to impersonate a man in order to join the Army. She gave her name
as Robert Shirtliffe, of Uxbridge, Massachusetts and successfully
convinced the Uxbridge Sergeant that she was a man in order to join the
Continental Army near the end of the American Revolution. She fought
against the Tories and British in New York. Being once involved in
wrestling and flung to the ground, she then did her best to avoid rough
soldiers’ games. After the war, Sampson married, and in 1838 her husband
became the first man to receive a pension from the United States
government for his wife’s military service.
1785: Toypurina (1761-1799) was a Tongva Native American woman
who led an unsuccessful rebellion against Spanish missionaries in
California. Toypurina rose to be a powerful spiritual leader, respected
for her bravery and wisdom. She was considered a great communicator,
speaking with and trading with the dozens of villages in the many
languages and dialects used from Catalina through San Bernardino.
1785: Thao Thep Kasattri and Thao Sri Sunthon or Chan and Mook were two
sisters who lived in Phuket, Siam in the late eighteenth century. According
to the popular belief, they repelled a five-week invasion of Phuket by Burma
in 1785 by dressing up as male soldiers and rallying the Siamese troops.
Chan and Mook were later honored by King Rama I with the names Thao Thep
Kasattri and Thao Sri Sunthon respectively..
1799-1807: Rani Sada Kaur (1762-1832) was the mother-in-law of Maharaja
Ranjit Singh and was the daughter of Dasaundha Singh Gill. After her
husband's death, she counseled Ranjit Singh. In 1799, the army led by Ranjit
Singh and Sada Kaur defeated Bhangi chiefs misruled the citizens of Lahore.
Lahore fell to the joint command of Sada and Rajit. In the following
campaigns of Amritsar, Chiniot, Kasur and Kangra as well as in his
expeditions against the turbulent Pathans of Hazara and Attock, Sada Kaur
led the armies side by side with Ranjit Singh. Riding a horse and holding a
sword, Sada personally led her army in the battle.
1787: A fencing match between Mademoiselle d’Eon and Monsieur de
Saint George took place in the elegant rooms of Carlton House, London,
before the Prince of Wales. It was the Prince who arranged this fencing
demonstration and it hardly mattered who won (and records vary as to the
facts) since it was to spectacle of the two individuals that brought the
audience to the match that day. Artist Victor Marie Picot depicted the event
named his artwork "The Assaut, or Fencing Match". Mademoiselle d’Eon trained
fencing in the famous Angelo's School of Arms in London.
1788-1790: Anna Maria Jansdotter Engsten (1762-after 1790) was a Sweden
war hero. During the
Battle of Svensksund,
she was evacuated with five sailors in a boat; they were shot at by the
Russian fleet, which killed a sheep and caused a leak. The sailors abandoned
the boat, but she stayed behind, determined to steer the boat to safety. She
did so singlehandedly, although the boat required at least two people to
steer, a mission she succeeded with. When the King was told about this, he
awarded her a medal in silver for Bravery in Battle at Sea as well as a sum
of 50 riksdaler. This was paid out in 15 March 1791.
1788-1790: Brita Christina Hagberg (Brita
alias Petter Hagberg, (1756-1825), In 1785 she
married Anders Peter Hagberg who was a soldier of the guard. Shortly after the marriage
he was called away to participate in the Russo-Swedish war (1788 – 1790). At
a loss without her husband, Brita dressed herself as a man and enlisted in
the army to find him. She participated in the Battle of Svensksund (pictured
above) and the Battle of Vyborg Bay as a marine. During her time there her
commanding officer called out the name “Hagberg” and both she and her
husband stepped forward – she found him at last. The two kept her sex a
secret. Later, at the battle of Björkö Sund, Brita was wounded and ordered
below deck to have her wounds taken care of. She went unwillingly and her
sex was revealed. After the war she was given a pension (unheard of at the
time) and was granted a license to trade (also unheard of for a married
woman). She was awarded a medal of bravery and given a military funeral – it
was before women were officially allowed into the military in the 20th
Theroigne de Mericourt (born Anne-Josèphe
Terwagne; 1762–1817), a French woman who was a striking figure in the French
Revolution. She led the storming of the Bastille in Paris at the beginning
of the French Revolution. She also leads female troops in 1792-1793. She
appeared in public dressed in a riding habit, a plume in her hat, a pistol
in her belt and a sword dangling at her side, and excited the mob by violent
harangues. Associated with the Girondists and the enemies of Robespierre,
she became in fact the Fury of the Gironde. She commanded in person the 3rd
corps of the so-called army of the faubourgs on the 20 June 1792, and again
won the gratitude of the people. She shares a heavy responsibility for her
connection with the riots of 10 August. On 10 August, just after she had
watched approvingly the massacre of certain of the national guard in the
Place Vendôme, Suleau was pointed out to her. She sprang at him, dragged him
among the infuriated mob, and he was stabbed to death in an instant. She
took no part in the massacres of September. At the end of May 1793, the
Jacobin women seized her, stripped her naked, and flogged her in the public
garden of the Tuileries. The following year she became insane, a fate not
surprising when one considers her career.
1790: Dorothea Maria Lösch (1730-1799), Swedish master mariner. She was
the first woman in Sweden to be given the rank of a sea captain. Dorothea
Maria Lösch took over and commanded the ship Armida to safety after its
officers had been killed or abandoned it during the Battle of Svensksund 9
July 1790. For this act, she was awarded with the rank of a master mariner
of the Swedish fleet, something unique for a woman of this period.
1792-1796: Mary Anne Talbot (1778–1808), was an Englishwoman who wore
male dress and became a sailor during the Napoleonic wars. In 1792 she
served as a drummer-boy in the battle for Valenciennes, where her lover,
captain Bowen, was killed. She was also wounded and treated the wound
herself. She decided to go on working as a male sailor. She deserted and
became a cabin boy for a French ship. Talbot was wounded the second time in
June 1794 during a battle against French fleet when grapeshot almost severed
her leg. She never recovered the full use of it but later rejoined the crew.
Later the French captured her and she spent the following 18 months in
Dunkirk dungeon. Talbot managed to return to London in 1796. Next year she
was seized by press-gang and was forced to reveal her gender. Next she went
to the Navy to get the money due to her because of her service and wounds
and finally found a sympathetic magistrate. At the same time her leg wound
got worse and she continued to wear male clothing.
1792: The first
recorded duel between English women. Lady Almeria
Braddock and Mrs. Elphinstone; so called "petticoat duel"; Lady
Almeria Braddock felt insulted by Mrs. Elphinstone and challenged her to a
duel in London's Hyde Park after their genteel conversation turned to the
subject of Lady Almeria's true age. The ladies first exchanged pistol shots
in which Lady Almeria's hat was damaged. They then continued with swords
until Mrs. Elphinstone received a wound to her arm and agreed to write Lady
Almeria an apology.
Lady Braddock declared her honor satisfied, and the two curtsied to each
other and left the field. Witnesses agreed that the ladies conducted
themselves with great courage and dignity.
1793: Renée Bordereau (1770-1824), nicknamed The Angevin, was a French
woman who disguised herself as a man and fought as a Royalist cavalier in
the troops of Charles Melchior Artus de Bonchamps during the Vendéan
insurrection against the French Revolution (in 1793).
1793-1801: Bibi Sahib Kaur (1771-1801), was a Sikh princess and elder
sister of Raja Sahib Singh of Patiala. She was a military leader and warrior
Her brother recalled her after her marriage and appointed her prime minister
in 1793. Along with her brother, she battled against Maratha force
of Fateh Singh, a rival chief. The joint force, numbering about 7,000 men,
met the enemy at Mardanpur near Ambala where a fierce engagement took place.
The Sikhs were severely outnumbered and would have retreated had not Sahib
Kaur, alighting from her rath, i.e. chariot, made a brave call with a drawn
sword in hand for them to stay firm in their ranks. In 1796, in response to
the request of the Raja of Nahan who had sought help from Raja Sahib Singh
of Patiala to quell a revolt in his state, Sahib Kaur proceeded to the hills
with a strong force and soon reduced the insurgents to submission. In the
summer of 1799, George Thomas, an English adventurer, who had become very
powerful and who ruled the country in the neighborhood of Hansi and Hissar,
turned his attention to the Sikh territories on his northern frontier and
marched upon Jind. Sahib Kaur led out a strong contingent to relieve the
besieged town and, assisted by the troops of other Sikh chiefs, she forced
George Thomas to withdraw.
1793-1836: Begum Sombre (c.1753- 1836), popularly known as Begum
Samru, (also known as Zebunissa, Farzana
and Joanna after baptism), was a political and military leader in India. The
ruler of Sardhana, a principality near Meerut, India. Later on, she played a
key role in the politics and power struggle in 18th and 19th century India.
She was the head of a professionally trained mercenary army, inherited from
her European mercenary husband, Walter Reinhardt. This mercenary army
consisted of Europeans and Indians. She is also regarded as the only
Catholic Ruler in India, as she ruled the Principality of Sardhana in 18th
and 19th century India.
of 18th Century: Cuhtahlatah was a Cherokee woman who lived during the
period of the American Revolutionary War. When her husband was killed in
battle, she grabbed his tomahawk and attacked the enemy, screaming "Kill!
Kill!" Her people had been in retreat, but her actions inspired them to
rally and they gained victory in the battle.
century: Kaipkire was a female warrior of the Herero people (lived in Namibia, Botswana and
Angola) in the 18th century. She led resistance forces against British slave
traders. Herero warrior women also fought German soldiers in the Herero
Century: Madam de Chateau-Gay of Murat, French woman, a skilled sword
fighter, having several duels with men. Her last duel was against a captain
who had a quarrel with her lover. Since the captain was familiar with her
reputation as a skilled fighter, he took the precaution of bringing two
experienced swordsmen with him. This dishonorable and despicable action
caused Madam de Chateau-Gay's lover to urge her to forget the duel. She
refused. The fight was on. Despite a spirited contest, she was killed by the
Century: Onake Obavva was a woman who fought the forces of Hyder Ali single-handedly in the small kingdom of
Chitradurga in Karnataka, India. Her husband was a guard of a watchtower in
the rocky fort of Chitradurga. Hyder Ali sent his soldiers through a crack
in the wall. Obavva noticed the soldiers emerging out of this crack but was
not perturbed. She used the Onake (a wooden long club meant for pounding
paddy grains) to kill and quietly moved the dead, so that hundreds of them
entered and fell, without raising the suspicions of the rest of the troops.
She is considered to be the epitome of Kannada women pride, with the same
standing as Kittur Chennamma and Keladi Chennamma.
Century: Ghaliyya al-Wahhabiyya was a commander who led a Saudi Arabian
military resistance movement to prevent foreign takeover of Mecca. She was
given the title Amira, which is the female version of the title Emir, in
recognition of her acts.
Maria de Jesus, Brazilian much-decorated infantry fighter. The Emperor
at Rio de Janiero granted her an ensign’s commission and the Order of the
Cross, which he himself fixed on her jacket.
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