Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff
  • Gertrude Bell was born in England in 1868. She was the first European woman to travel in remote parts of the Middle East. She traveled, often alone, and wrote about her journeys and the excavations she saw. Because of her knowledge of the territory, the British government made her a diplomat in Baghdad in 1915.
  • The first woman to cross Niagara Falls on a high wire was Maria Spelternia in 1876.
  • The first European woman to travel to the forbidden city of Tibet was Alexandra David-Neel of England in 1924.
  • Krystyna Choynowski-Liskiewicz of Poland was the first woman to sail around the world solo. She accomplished this feat on March 28, 1976.
  • In 1979 Sylvia Earle became the first person in the world to dive to a depth of 1,250 feet. She led an all-woman team of scientists in an experiment in undersea living, staying for two weeks in a submerged capsule in the Caribbean Sea.
  • In 1983 Sally Ride became the first American woman in space.
  • In 1984 Soviet cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya became the first woman to walk in space.
  • Tania Aebi was the first American woman and the youngest person ever to sail alone around the world. In 1985, at the age of 19, she undertook the 27,000-mile adventure on her 26-foot sloop the Varuna. She returned to New York in 1987.
  • In 1986 Ann Bancroft, a teacher from Minneapolis, Minnesota, became the first woman in the world to ski to the North Pole. In 1993, she became the first woman to reach the South Pole on foot, and in 2001 she became the first woman to cross Antarctica on foot.
  • In 1999 Sarah Gerhardt, a University of California graduate student and amateur surfer, became the first woman to surf Mavericks, legendary in California for its big-wave surfing.
  • In 2003, 26-year-old French rower, Maud Fontenoy completed a 117 day journey from Canada to Spain, and became the first woman to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean from west to east.
  • In 2012, Felicity Aston became the first female to cross Antarctica solo, traveling with her own supplies by two sleds. The trip took 59 days.

Sources +