Did you know these facts about powerful women?
- In prehistoric times, women were worshiped as supernatural beings because they could create life. The supreme creator was female—the Great Goddess, who reigned from 7000 B.C. to the closing of the last Goddess temples in 500 A.D.
- In the tenth and eleventh centuries a succession of 17 women known as the Habe Queens ruled Daura. Daura is in what is now northern Nigeria. Their names were:
- Iroquois, Navajo, and Hopi women played a special role in their tribes. The older and wiser women chose the sachem, or chief, who ruled the tribe. Though they themselves did not govern, the women were in control even after a chief had been chosen because the women had the power to initiate proceedings to depose the chief if he failed to perform his duties. The women also ran the treasury, which consisted of resources such as corn, furs, fresh and dried smoked meats, and strings and belts of wampum.
There are six reigning queens in Europe today. They are the royalty in those countries, but the governments are separate.
- Queen Elizabeth II—Great Britain
- Queen Sofia—Spain
- Queen Beatrix—The Netherlands
- Queen Margrethe II—Denmark
- Queen Silvia—Sweden
- Queen Fabiola—Belgium
Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain has had the longest reign of any queen ruling today. She became queen in 1952.
There have been many talented rulers:
- Queen Margrethe II of Denmark is a well-known illustrator. Her work appears in a recent edition of The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien.
- Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands is an accomplished sculptor.
- Queen Liliuokalani of Hawaii wrote the famous song “Aloha Oe.”
- Burmese women have enjoyed equality with men throughout history. Inscriptions in ancient temples refer to female writers, scholars, musicians, and chiefs.
First Women Firsts
- Siramavo Bandaranaike of Sri Lanka became the first woman to head up a modern nation.
- Isabelita Perón was the first woman ruler in South America.
- Vigdis Finnbogadóttir was the first woman to be elected president in Iceland.
- Mary Eugenia Charles, the granddaughter of former slaves, was the first female elected prime minister in Dominica.
- Lenora Fulani was the first woman and first black presidential candidate to get on the ballot in all 50 U.S. states.
- Violeta Barrios de Chamorro was the first woman to be elected president in Nicaragua.
- Sharon Sayles Belton became the first woman and the first African American to serve as mayor of Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Fact Monster/Information Please® Database, © 2005 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.