Hatshepsut was the fifth Pharaoh of the eighteenth dynasty in Egypt and arguably the one of the most successful Pharaohs. In the history of ancient Egypt, it was incredibly rare for a woman to become Pharaoh; only 3 or 4 other women were thought to serve in the position. Hatshepsut served as Pharaoh for 22 years, longer than any other female ruler of Egypt. According to Egyptologist James Breasted, she is "the first great woman in history of whom we are informed." She re-established the trade networks that had been disrupted during the Hyksos occupation of Egypt, which brought great wealth to Egypt. She lead successful military campaigns in the early part of her reign, but also brought much peace and prosperity to her people during the majority of her reign.
The Temple of Hatshepsut
She also ordered the construction of hundreds of projects throughout Upper and Lower Egypt, including the Temple of Pakhet and structures at the Temple of Karnak. After her death, it is thought that her nephew Thutmose III destroyed many of her images, cartouches, and statues. Some historians believe this was done not because he disliked her, but simply because she was a woman. Joyce Tyldesley suggests Thutmose III feared that the example of a successful female Pharaoh could demonstrate that a woman was as capable of ruling Egypt as a traditional male Pharaoh, which could persuade "future generations of potentially strong female kings" to not "remain content with their traditional lot as wife, sister, and eventual mother of a king.".
Queen Nefertari was one of the Great Royal Wives of Ramesses the Great. She is depicted as participating in many important religious ceremonies next to her husband. She was a prominent figure in court and is documented as being in correspondence with other kings and queens of the time. She is also depicted in another scene leading the royal children. Nefertari herself had 6 children (possibly an additional 3 that have not been substantiated). She has a statue at the great temple and the small temple in Abu Simbel is dedicated entirely to her and the goddess Hathor, who is the goddess of joy, feminine love, and motherhood. Her deliberate linking to the goddess Hathor is possibly an indication that she was celebrated as a wife and a mother as well as a queen.
Queen Nefertiti was the Great Royal Wife of Pharaoh Akhenaten. Nefertiti and her husband are credited for a religious revolution in Ancient Egypt where they began worshiping only one god, Aten, instead of the many gods previously worshiped. She is depicted in many scenes throughout Ancient Egypt as fulfilling the roles of both queen (standing behind her husband supporting him during worship) and king (smiting her enemies in battle). There is evidence that she may have served as co-regent with her husband, allowing them equal ruling status. Some historians believe that she ruled briefly between the death of her husband and the reign of Tutankhamun, although this is the subject of much debate.