Women in power 500-750

Worldwide Guide to Women in Leadership


Female leaders
and women in other positions of political authority
of independent states and
self-governing understate entities


Early 500s-520s Khanum Regnant Bogharik of Sabir (Russia)
Head of the Hunnic normanic tribe that briefly established a powerful state north of the Caucasus. They may have been attested to as early as 124 BCE, in which case they are ultimately Sarmatian or Scythian in origin. They were allied with Sassanid Persia until c.550, when they were enticed to join a Byzantine-led coalition.


511-527 Lady Ix Yo K'in of Tikal (Guatemala)
Also known as Lady Kalomte', she succeeded her father Chak Tok Ich'aak II at age six. While she was considered the queen and nineteenth successor, she ruled the important Classic-Age Mayan city-state located in northwestern Guatemala with a coregent, Kalomte' B'alam a prominent warrior. Her name means Baby Jaguar, and she was succeeded by king K'inich Muwaan Jol.

515-20 and 525-28 Regent Dowager Queen Ling Tai Hu of Touba Wei (Northern China)
A member of the Ziongnu Dynasty in Northern China, she executed lovers, forced a rival into a convent and had her executed. I in 528 she executed her son, Yuan Xu (Emperor Xiao Mingdi (515-28), who ruled in a period with 9 pretenders and is described as a forceful leader with an exceptional energy. As regent, she carried on imperial sacrifices in place of her son, issued edicts, competed in archery contests with her officials, travelled around the country side to receive petitions, personally interviewed new candidates for office, and took frequent pleasure trips to sacred and scenic spots. She was removed from office but later reinstated. She was the last member or the Tabatch dynasty to display the ancient strength, but her extravagant spending in favour of Buddhism resulted in a revolt, she sought refuge in a Buddhist nunnery, but she and her son were thrown into the Yellow River and around 1.000 courtiers were murdered. In the following chaos the Northern Wei-Empire (Bei Wei) were divided among various warlords.

Empress Theodora 518-65 Co-Ruler Empress Theodora of The Byzantine Empire (Covering what is now Greece and Turkey)

Before becoming Empress, she was an actress. During this time in history the theatre was looked down upon and in fact banned by the church. She later became a devote Christian and married Emperor Justinian, who viewed her as an equal and accepted her many ideas. She was influential in changing the administrative and legislative sectors. She was an advocate of women’s rights. The Empress, along with her husband changed laws on guardianship to include women, and created a law that allowed women to own property. The two also rebuilt cities that were ruined during earthquakes, and built the church Hagia Sophia. In 532, mobs attempted to overthrow Justinian, causing the Emperor the desire to flee his city. But it was his wife who convinced him to stay.


520 Snake Lady Naah Ek' of Palenque (Mexico)
According to the historic texts, she was the first Snake Lady to arrive to the kingdom. Her name meant "House Star", and is specifically said to have been u nahtal ix kan ajaw, "the first Snake Queen" a position with geat significance and political power. She is also said to have been the wife of Tuun K'ab' Hiix (ruled circa 520-circa 550), one of the great early rulers of the Snake Kingdom, who on La Corona Stela 1 is associated with rites in 544 that may be part of the founding of the site.


528... Queen Regnant Boa of the Sabira Tribe (Caucasus)
A political ally of Emperor Justinian and Empress Theodora of the Byzantine Empire.


528 "Reigning Queen" of Northern Wei (China)
When her son Suzong was killed after having asked Er-zhu Rong, the Xiongnu leader in Shansi, to free him from her Chinese advisors, she she placed her infant grand-child on the throne, but it was a girl and this turned out to be unacceptable and the infant was  replaced by Gaozu’s two-year-old grandson by the Xiongnu and Xianbei leaders, who had brought their troops to the capital.

Princess Arnalasuntha 526-34 Regent Princess Amalasuentha of the Ostrotoths (Italy)
534-35 Joint Reigning Queen 
Daughter of King Theodoric and Audofleda, a sister of King Clovis. Exceptionally well educated, she studied both Greek and Latin and took a keen interest in art and literature. Married to Eutharic at the age of 17, she found herself Queen in 522, following the deaths of both her father and her husband. She served as regent for her 10-year-old son, Athalric. Like her father, she maintained a pro-Byzantine policy, which was not popular with the Ostrogothic nobles. She suppressed a rebellion and executed three of its leaders. She also purged her lands of dishonest office holders and limited the power of grasping landowners. After her son died, in 534, she shared the throne with her cousin, Theodahad who later led a palace revolution and caused her to be exiled to an island, where she was strangled in her bath as an act of vengeance by relatives of the nobles she had executed. 


529 Army Leader Princess Halima of the Ghassan Kingdom  (Arabia)
Leader of a battle against the Labmidians who had sacrificed her brother to their goddess. Daughter of King al-Harit (529-69).


554... Regent Queen Hind al-Hirah of Lakhm (Syria)
A Christian Princess of either Ghassan or Kindah origin who married Mundhir al Mundhir III, whose mother was Mariyah or Mawiya. He raided Byzantine Syria and challenged the kingdom of Ghassan. After his death, she was regent for their son, Amr ibn-Hind, and she ruled as an independent and resourceful Queen. 


556-78 Political Influential Lady Lu Lingxuan of Northern Qi (China)
Nurse of Emperor Gao Wei (556-78), the fifth and last ruler of Northern Qi. He was only 12 when his father died and his political survival in the years between his father’s death and the fall of the dynasty was in many ways due to her assistance and support. She was promoted to the post of Female Attendant of the Palace that gave her – a grade equivalent to that of a second class official in the outer bureaucracy. Her relatives were all given official positions. The emperor's confidence in her was almost absolute and she was careful not to damage the relationship by antagonizing the Empress Dowager who was afraid of her son. For a short while she was also promoted to the post of Empress of the Left but later stripped of the title. She died by her own hand when she heard that her son had defected to Northern Chou on the eve of Northern Qi’s defeat. Emperor Gao Wei (Houzhu) and Empress Mu were both executed by the Chou in 578; the Empress Dowager was captured and survived into the Sui era. She (d.578).


565-572 and 574-578 Co-ruler Empress Sophia of The Byzantine Empire (Covering what is now Greece and Turkey)
572-574 Sole Regent
The niece of Empress Theodora and married to emperor Iustinus II (565-578), and sole regent during her husband's mental illness. She nominated his two successors without marrying either, and continued exercise a high degree of influence on the government and is believed to have played a major role in various financial measures and took an active part in foreign politics, mainly in her dealings with Persia.


575-580 Queen Regnant Kambuja-raja-lakshmi of Chen-la
Maternal cousin of king Sresthavarman and the daughter of king Viravarman. She was married to king Bhavavarman I. It was through her that he inherited the royal lineage.

Queen Brunhildis 575-84 Regent Dowager Queen Brunhilde of Austrasia and Burgundy (France)
Also known as Brunhildis, the Visigoth Princess exerted great influence over political life in the Frankish kingdoms of Austrasia, Neustria, and Burgundy. She married King Sigebert of Austrasia in 567, while her sister Galswintha, married his brother Chilperic, king of Neustria. Rivalry between the brothers developed into open war when Chilperic had Galswintha murdered. When Sigebert was assassinated on the orders of Fredegunde - Chilperic's second wife - in 575, Chilperic claimed his lands. Brunhilde resisted this claim in the name of her son Childebert II. However, her nobles deserted her and she fled to Burgundy. Childebert remained in Austrasia and in 592 inherited Burgundy. When Childebert died in 595, Brunhilde attempted to assert her control as regent over Burgundy and Austrasia, which her grandsons Theodoric II and Theodebert II had inherited. In 612 Theodoric murdered his brother at her instigation. Theodoric himself died in 613. When Brunhilde tried to make her great-grandson Sigebert II king, the nobles rebelled and acknowledged Clotaire as king. In the autumn of 613, near Dijon, France, Clotaire had both Sigebert and Brunhilde executed.

Queen of Kuba Circa 575 Queen Regnant Gokadi of Kuba (Congo-Brazzaville)
Another version of her name is Ngokay. She was ruler in the legendary period where the Kuba people moved to its present location, and was succeeded by king Bonga Mashu Mashi. 

Unnamed Mayan Lady 583-605 Ruler Lady Yohl Ik'nal of B'aakal (Palenque) (Mexico)
Ascended to the throne after the deah of Kan B'alam I, who was probably her father, and remained in power for over 20 years, as one of the few women in the Classical Mayan period to carry full royal titles and enjoy a full term. She was succeeded by son, Aj Ne' ohl, as head of the Mayan Empire at Palenque in the Yucatan. Alternative versions of her name are Lady Kanal Ikal, Ix Yohl Ik'nal, Lady Olnal, Kan-Ik, Lady Ik, or K'anal-Ik'al. 

Queen Fredegundis 584-94 Regent Dowager Queen Fredegundis of France
Fredgunde or Fredegunda was a slave-girl at the court of Neustria when she came to the attention of Chilperic I, Merovingian King of Soissons (Neustria). She became his mistress and then eventually third wife. She persuaded Chilperic to repudiate his first wife Audovera and was said to be the driving force behind the murder in 568 of Chilperic's second wife Galswintha. Fredegunda also engineered the murders of Audovera's three sons and Sigibert of Austrasia, Chilperic's brother. Finally her husband was murdered or assassinated, shortly after the birth of their son Lothair in 584. Fredegunda seized her late husband's wealth and fled to Paris with her remaining son Lothair (Clotaire II), and persuaded the Neustrian nobles to recognize her son as the legitimate heir to the throne and she took over the regency and continued her longtime power struggle with Guntrum of Burgundy (d.593) and Brunhilda, Queen-Mother of Austrasia (d.614), whom she defeated around 597. Fredegunda (d. 598).

 Theodolina of the Longobards 590 Reigning Dowager Queen Theodelinda of the Lombards (Italy)
615-25 Regent of the Kingdom
Co-ruler with husbands, king Autharis (584-90) and Agilulf (591-615) and regent for son King Adololdo of the Lombards or Langobards, who was deposed by her son-in-law. She was instrumental in restoring Athanasian Christianity - the ancestor of modern Roman Catholicism - to a position of primacy in Italy against its rival, Arian Christianity. With a stable base in Italy thereafter, the Papacy could begin subduing those it regarded as heretics elsewhere.

Empress Suiko

592-628 Suiko Tennō of Japan

推古天皇 was the 33rd imperial ruler in succession to a brother, and even though ancient Chinese history records earlier reigning women, and in spite of the regency of Jingo-kogo (200-69), she was the first reigning Empress listed in Japanese history. She was a daughter of the Emperor Kinmei and after the death of her half-brother and husband, Emperor Bidatsu, she had some influence in politics. But after she ascended the throne she took little active part in affairs of state, which were handled by her nephew and son-in-law Prince Shotoku. During her reign, the total supremacy of the monarch was established, and she was one of the first Buddhist monarchs in Japan and had taken the vows of a nun shortly before becoming empress. She sent many embassies to China. The mother of 5 children, she was succeeded by Jomei, the grandson of her husband and brother of Emperor Bidatsu. Her posthumous name is Toyomike-Kashikiya-hime no Mikoto, and she lived (544-628).


Circa 600 Army Leader Kahula in Arabia

An army commander in the battle of Yermonks, she joined her forces with those of another female commander, Wafeira. Together they turned back the Greek army. 


606-47 Politically Influential Queen Rajyasri of Kanyakubja (India)

Regularly took a seat of honour beside her brother king Harsa, and shared in state deliberations.

Princess Zac-Kuk 612-15 Ruler Zac-Kuk of B'aakal or Palenque (Mayan Empire at Palenque in the Yucatan - Mexico)
The Princess was the great-granddaughter of Kanal-Ikal and succeeded father, Aj Ne'  ohe.  Zak means white and Kuk means quetzal. ak Kuk was a powerful woman. She manipulated facts to secure her son, Pakal's divine right to rule, thus restoring her family's reign following a devastating defeat from a neighbouring city. She resigned in his favour, and died in 640.

Unnamed Mayan Lady 618-34 Politically Influential Queen Mother Lady Batz' Ek' of Caracol (Mexico)
At the age of 18, she arrived in the centre of Oxwitza in 584, and married king Knot Ajaw of the Mayan kingdom of Caracol, who had already been in power for 31 years. Her prominence in the sources suggests that she took a very prominent and politically influential role during the reign of her son K'an II (618-58) until her own death. 


Circa 618-23 Military Leader Princess Pin-yang of China
Helped her father, the first Tang emperor, Li Yuan (618-26), overthrow the Sui by organizing the "Woman's Army". Her husband, Cai Shao was the leader of the palace guards protecting the Sui crown prince. She also made allies of other rebel forces in the region who began to join her when they heard of her father’s successes, and the rural people saw her forces as liberators rather than conquerors, offering them food and drink upon arrival. After her victories, her army would distribute food and win over the people in the captured territories. When her army grow to 70.000 troops, the Sui took her seriously and launched an attack but were defeated. When her father became emperor, she was made a marshal allowing her to have her own military aides and staff just like a prince would be entitled to. (circa600-623).


624 Opposition Leader Hind al-Hunnud in the Arab World
A member of the Quaish Tribe in the Kingdom of Kindah, she was one of the leaders of the opposition to Muhammed. She led a battle against him in 624, where her father and brother were killed and she then led a battle of vengeance against him, but in the end she submitted and became a Muslim convert.

Ahpo-Hel of Palenque 626-72 Co-Ruler Ahpo-Hel of Palenque (Mexico)
The primary wife of Hanab Pakal (603-15-83). Some archaeologists think that he made his her a co-ruler. This would be very unusual. They had no children for the first nine years of heir marriage, but in the end they had at least two sons. 


626-36 Politically Influential Empress Zhangsun of China
During the first years of their marriage her husband, Li Shimin, fought over the succession to the throne with his royal brothers, she repeatedly cleared him before Emperor Gaozu of the misdeeds with which he had been falsely framed. During the Xuanwumen Mutiny in which Emperor Gaozu's sons fought for the throne, she made a personal appearance in order to raise the army's morale, thus ultimately helping her husband get rid of his political enemies. She continued to assist in the handling of state affairs after her husband became Emperor under the name of Taizong, of the Tang Dynasty. She was of Xianbei origin (an ancient ethnic group in China) and grew up on the central plains and received a very good education there, having a particularly good command of literature and history. She lived (600-36).

Queen Purandokht

630-31 Queen Regnant Purandokht of Persia (Iran)
Also known as Buran or Poran, she was daughter of the King Khosrau II of Persia (590–628), and ascended to the throne after the murder of the general Shahrbaraz, who killed her brother Ardashir III, she brought stability to the empire by a peace treaty with the Byzantine Empire, the revitalization of the empire through the implementation of justice, reconstruction of the infrastructure, lowering of taxes, and minting coins. She was largely unsuccessful in her attempts to restore the power of the central authority which was weakened considerably by civil wars, and resigned or was murdered soon after. Ferdowsi refers to Purandokht in his epic poem the Shahnameh. She was committed to reviving the memory and prestige of her father, during whose reign the Sassanid Empire had grown to its largest territorial extent. Succeeded by sister Azarmidokht. 

Persian Queen 631-32 Queen Regnant Azarmedukht of Persia 
After the death of her sister Purandokht, Gushnasp Bandah ascended the throne, but he was deposed within a few weeks. The next person to ascend the throne was , a distant cousin of Khushrow Parvez, but he was dethroned within a few weeks. Azarmidokht, a young and very beautiful daughter of Khushrow Parvez succeeded him. Farrokh Hormazd, powerful but an aged commander made a bid for the throne. His plan was to occupy the royal palace by force, marry  her and establish his own dynasty, but she had him murdered before he could attack, but his son murder attacked the palace, captured the her and killed her after about 18 months on the throne.


631-56 Politically Influential 'A'ishah Bint Abi Bakr in the Arab World
Aishah was powerful force in the political turmoil that followed the death of her husband, the Prophet Muhammed. She became very important for her role in the civil war, but was defeated and captured in a battle in 656 and only released on promising to abandon political life. Her religious teachings became important for the the Muslim faith. She lived (613-78).

Queen Sondok Yo Ju 632-47 Queen Regnant Sondok Yo Ju of Silla (Korea)
Also known as Sondok Yowang, she succeeded father and she was generally known as a strong Queen who continued Silla's conflict with the two other Korean kingdoms of Koguryo and Paekche. She formed an alliance with China and chose general Kim Yusin to direct the military. She also encouraged students to go to China to study Buddhism and administration. Today, she is perhaps best known for the cultural impact of her reign, she finished the Buddhist temples at Punhwangsa and Yongmyosa, and the nine-tiered pagoda of Hwanguyongsa was built in her reign. One of the other lasting monuments from this era is the oldest observatory in Asia. Her tomb is part of the major gravesites in Silla. Succeeded by her cousin, Queen Jindeok.

Frankish Queen 639-42 Regent Dowager Queen Nanthildis of Neustrasia and Burgundy (France)
Nanthilde, Nanthechilde or Nantechildis was a former servant and married the Merovingian king Dagobert I (604-29-35) after he had divorced his childless consort, Gomatrud. After Dagobert's death her son, Chlodwig II was appointed king of Neutrasia and Burgundy and his older half-brother, Sigibert III king of Austrasia. She received 1/3 of the royal treasure. She acted as regent together with the Major Domus Aega. As he attacked the Burgund farons she protected them and 642 she reformed the office of Major Domus of Burgundy and appointed the Frankish Flaochad to the office. She lived (circa 610-642).


639-40 Rani Regnant of Sindh and Baluchistan (Pakistan)
Successor of her husband Shasri Rai II. The name Baluchistan came into existence with the arrival from Iran of the tribes called Baluch.  

Unnamed Byzantine Empress 641 Regent Dowager Empress Martina of The Byzantine Empire (Covering what is now Greece and Turkey)
After the death of her husband, Herakleios, she was first co-ruler with stepson, Constantinos III, whom she was accused of poisoning. She took power but was deposed together with son Heraklonas, who was still a minor. They were both mutilated and sent into exile.  


642-49 Member of Regency Council Dowager Empress Gregorina of The Byzantine Empire (Covering what is now Greece and Turkey)
Widow of Herakleios-Constantinos and her son, Constans, was chosen as Emperor after Martina and Heraklonas, and though the sources does not mention the members of the Regency Council it can be assumed that she was one of the members. She was a niece of Emperor Herakleios II.

Japanese lady 642-45 Kōgyoku Tennō of Japan (First reign)
655-61 Saimei Tennō (Second reign)
皇極天皇 or 斉明天皇 was granddaughter of Prince Shōtoku, who was regent in 593-621, she first married Yomei-Tennō (586-87) and then her uncle Jōmei-Tennō (629-41), whom she succeeded. Two ministers, who were killed on the instigation of her brother, Kotoku, influenced her and she abdicated the next morning in his favour. After his death 10 years later she re-ascended to the throne, and this time she did not allow herself to be influenced by the ministers. She subdued the Ebisu of Ezo, and in 661 she led a naval expedition to Paekche. She died on the way to rescue the Korean kingdoms of Koma and Kudara from Chinese attack. Born as Princess Takara her posthumous name is Ame Tokyo Takara Mige Fi Tarsi Hime, she had three children, and Lived (593-661).

Korean Queen 647-54 Queen Regnant Chindok Yo Ju of Silla (Korea)
Also known as Jindeok or Chindok Yowang, she succeeded her cousin Queen Sondok, and continued her alliance with the Chinese and emphasized the dress, organization, and literary cultures from the T'ang Dynasty. She started the use of a Chinese calendar and put down rebellions against her pro Chinese policy. While some criticized her closeness to the T'ang government, later historians have seen her reign as giving Silla a "breathing space" to grow strong against her enemies.


650/750 Queen Regnant of Waka (Guatemala)
In 2004 scientists have recovered her grave that shows all the trappings of a Maya ruler, but does not reveal her name. The artefacts indicate that she lived between 650 and 750.

Unnamed Champa Lady Until 653 Queen Regnant of the Champa Kingdom (Vietnam)
Her name has been lost, but her predecessor ruled from 645.The ancient kingdom of Champa was situated in the central coast of Viet Nam at one time stretched from the Ngang Pass (present Quang Binh province) to the upper basin of Dong Nai river. The Cham people are believed to be of the same Javanese stock as many of the creators of the Dong Son culture further to the north. As they were intrepid seafarers, and as their land was well placed not far from the sea route from India to China, the Chams were exposed very early to Indian culture and its Brahman religion. Today they are one of the 55 ethnic minorities; they are Muslims and live in the Mekong Delta.


After 655 Governor Princess Vijaya Bhattarika of a Province in Chauleskyas (Chalukya) (India)
Appointed to the post by King Vikramaditya I of Chalukya (655-681).

                  657-64/65 Regent Dowager Queen Bathildis of Neustrie, Bourgogne and Austrasie (France)
A 700th century Queen Also known as Bathilde or Baldechildis, she was born in England, and taken to Gaul as a slave and about 641, Erchinoald, mayor of the palace of Neustria, bought her. She married Clovis II in 648. The future Lothair III was born in 649, and she had two more sons, Theoderic and Childeric, who also eventually became rulers. Balthildis' influence during her husband's reign was considerable, since she controlled the court and the allocation of charity money, and had strong connections with Church leaders. After Clovis' death in 657 she took over the regency for her son Lothair III and embarked on a policy of unifying the Frankish territory by controlling Austrasia through imposing her son Childeric as Prince and absorbing Burgundy. She lost her political power when Lothair came of age and was forced to retire to the convent of Chelles, which she had founded and endowed with much of her personal wealth in 664. She died in 680 in Chelles, and was later declared a saint.


Wu Zetian 660-705 Regent Empress Consort Wu Zetian of China
690-705 Emperor of the Empire
Favourite concubine of Emperor Kao Tsung as she gave birth to his sons. Within five years of their marriage, her husband suffered a crippling stroke, and she took over the administrative duties of the court. She created a secret police force, and cruelly jailed or killed anyone who stood in her way - including the co-wife of her husband, Empress Wang. After her husband's death, she managed to outflank her eldest sons in favour of the youngest, who abdicated in 690 after which she was declared emperor of China. She was an able administrator: Reduced the army's size and stopped the influence of aristocratic military men on government by replacing them with scholars. Everyone had to compete for government positions by taking exams, thus setting the practice of government run by scholars. She also was fair to peasants, lowering oppressive taxes, raising agricultural production, and strengthening public works. In 705, she was pressured to give up the throne in favour of her third son. Wu Zetian died peacefully the same year, after having lived (625-705).


662 Regent Dowager Queen Himnechilde of Austrasia (France)
After the death of her husband, Sigebert III, she was joint regent for her son,  Childéric II together with the Major Domus (Major of the Palace) Wulfoald.

Saint Sexburga of Ely, Queen of Kent

664-66 Regent Dowager Queen Sexburga of Kent (United Kingdom)
Also known as Saint Seaxburh or Sexburga of Ely, she was the oldest daughter of King Anna of East Anglia and his second wife, Saewara. She married King Erconbert of Kent, and after he died of the "yellow plague", she reigned on behalf off her son, Egbert I. After he came of age, she became abbess of Minister-in-Sheppey and later of Ely, where her sister, St. Etheldreda of Ely had been Abbess. Another sister and both of her daughters; Ermengilda and Ercongota was Saint and the same was the case of her grandchildren; St. Werburga of Chester, St. Wulfade and St. Rufinus. She lived (circa 636-around 700).

664 Presiding over the Synod of Whitby Abbess Hilda of Whitby and Hartlepool in the United Kingdom
In 657 she had founded a double monastery of both monks and nuns at Whitby. She was a patroness of the arts and was a notable teacher, whose advice was sought by Kings and Abbots alike. At the Synod of Whitby it was decided that the Northombian Church it should follow the teachings of the Roman Church rather than those of Celtic Irish Iona. Hilda herself was, of course, sympathetic to the latter party, but she accepted the council's ruling. After her death, after a long and painful illness lasting some six years, miracles were soon reported at her tomb. She was venerated as a saint and her bones suitably enshrined.  St. Hilda was the daughter of Prince Hereric of Deira, and lived (614-680).


Circa 669-74 Regent Empress Aelia Sofia of The Byzantine Empire (Covering what is now Greece and Turkey)
Handled the affairs of state for her insane husband Justinos II (58-95 and 705-11), who was killed.


672-74 Queen Regnant Seaxburh of Wessex  (United Kingdom)
Successor of her husband, Cenwealh, who was king (642-72), and was followed by Centwine, son of former king Cynegils.


674-75 Queen Regnant Sima of Kaling (Keling or Kalingga) (Indonesia)
She was known as a just ruler. Chinese records from the period of the Chi'iu T'ang-Shu and Hsin T'ang-shu dynasties speak of her control of 28 smaller kingdoms and having a powerful army of women, but she is not known from local sources, and the first ruler mentioned in local sources is king Sanjaya.


674-710 Sovereign Princess Qabaq Hatun of Bahura (Bokhara) (Uzbekistan)
Also known as Qabagh Khatun, she ruled the khanate cantered around Bokhara, an ancient city about 200 miles west of Samarkand. The Khanate has led an unstable history, of times under vassalage to more powerful neighbours, but an important centre of Islamic civilization at times. The principality was under the Gök Turks from the 680's and was under the suzerainty of the Caliphate 710-867.


677 Snake Lady of Palenque (Mexico)
Arrived to the Kingdom on the very day of one of the greatest victories for the Kan Kingdom, when Calakmul's major rival for domination of the Maya lowlands, Tikal, was defeated in battle. This Snake Princess is said to have been the wife of the local ruler, K'inich Yook (ruled 667-circa 682), who in turn is said to have been the yajaw, or "vassal of," Yukno'm Ch'e'n II (636-686), the greatest king of Calakmul. The position of Snake Lady was both significant and politically influential.


677-circa 682 Regent Dowager Duchess Theuderata di Friuli of Benevento (Italy)
When her husband, Romuald I died, she was first regent for their oldst son, Grimoald and then for the second, Gisulf I from 680 - he died in 705.


Circa 680-713 Queen Regnant Jaya Devi of Chenla (Cambodia)
Succeeded king Jayavarman II in a period during which the kingdom was in a state of anarchy. In an inscription at Angkor Wat, Queen Jayadevi laments the bad times. The state is normally known by its Chinese name, Chenla - in Khmer it was called Kambuja - was a more direct ancestor of the Khmer Empire. Its history first appears in the Chinese Chronicles as a Funan's vassal state who gained its independence from Funan around the year 550 A.D. Later on Chenla was divided into northern and southern states, of which the Chinese Chronicles refers to as "Chenla of the Land" and "Chenla of the Sea", respectively.  The centre of the northern Chenla was at the Champassak province of today southern Laos, whereas that of the Southern Chenla occupied the former Funan's territory along the Mekong Delta and the coast. In 715, both Chenla states were further broken up into several smaller states.


After 681 Politically Influential Queen Vijaybhattarike of Chandraditya (India)
A well-known poet, she is mentioned as reigning for a time in the absence of her husband King Chandraditya who was the brother of Vikramaditya I (655-681).


681 Khanum Regnant Pisutu of Uighuristan (Central Asia)
The Uighur Khans governed portions of Central Asia in the centuries immediately following the Muslim expansion, and then fade from view. It is not entirely clear that the Turkic people called Uighurs who now dwell mostly in Western China are the same folk; the name is the same, but later-arriving tribes could have adopted it. The Got Turks invaded the country in 681.


After 681 Politically Influential Queen Vijaybhattarike of Chandraditya (India)
A well-known poet, she is mentioned as reigning for a time in the absence of her husband King Chandraditya who was the brother of Vikramaditya I (655-681).

Lady Six Sky 682-741 Lady Six Sky of Uac Cab'nal (Naranjo in Guatemala/Belize)
Alternative versions of her name were Lady Wac Chanil Ahau, Lady of Dos Pilas and Lady of Tikal. She arrived "here" in 682 as the daughter of King B'alaj Chan K'awiil of Dos Pilas. She was never invested as a Naranjo ruler, she assumed every other prerogative of kingship, portraying herself on monuments and performing key calendrical rituals. This even extended to military symbolism.  It is clear that she assumed the role of Queen regnant and effectively ruled, then perhaps co-ruled for a substantial period. She seems to have been the mother of king K'ak Tiliw Chan Chaak, but the sources never mention his father. She was the central figure, even after the formal enthronement of her son (at age five). She waged war in his name, and remained an important force to until her death at the age of 77. She lived (664-741).

Jitô Tenno 686-90 Regent Empress Jitō of Japan
690-97 Tennō Regnant
697-703 De-Facto Ruler
持統天皇, was daughter of Tenji Tennō, who was regent 661-68 and Emperor 668-71. Her husband and uncle, Temmu Tennō, had withdrawn to temple-life and left the throne to their son in 886 with her as regent and later successor. She made important administrative reforms, encouraged the development of agriculture and had the first silver coin stuck. Abdicated in favour of her nephew (and grandson) Mommu, In 697 she abdicated in Mommu's favour, but she continued to hold power as a cloistered ruler, which became a persistent trend in Japanese politics, and was the first to take the honorary title for past emperors - Dajo-Tennō. She lived She lived (645-703).


687 Politically Influential Queen Lady K'atun Ajaw of Piedras Begras (Mexico)
The sources indicate that she, as wife of King K'inich Yo'nal Akh II yielded considerable political power during his reign. She was born as Princess of Amana.


690-710 "Chief Administrator" Shangguan Wan'er in China
Had been Empress Wu Zetian's trusted aide prior to her enthronement, and for several decades the destiny of the Tang Empire was in the hands of these two exceptional women. Historical data show that they were instrumental in maintaining the stability, prosperity and development of the Tang Dynasty. Her grandfather was involved in a power struggle during Emperor Gaozong's reign and was, along with her father, executed by Wu Zetian. Wan'er learned reading and writing from female officials in the imperial palace, and was later given the responsibility of drafting edicts. Eventually all memorials submitted to Wu Zetian were first read by Wan'er for her opinion before being approved by the empress. By the age of 19, Wan'er was the second most powerful person in the imperial court, second only to Wu Zetian herself. Wan'er was appointed Zhaorong and responsible for the imperial harem. During the reign of Emperor Zhongzong, Wan'er proved an invaluable helpmeet. In one palace coup, she coolly and efficiently directed the guards to attack leaders of the rebellion, and so suppressed the uprising. Wan'er was also a positive influence on the Emperor, and encouraged him to build schools and so foster literary talent. After Wu Zetian's resignation Shangguan Wan'er sought the new Empress Wei's patronage. The empress enjoyed power for only a short time and was put to death when Li Longji, Prince of Linzi, stormed the palace. As a member of Empress Wei's clique, Shangguan Wan'er was also killed. Shangguan Wan'er lived (664-710).


Ca 690-701 Queen Regnant Dahlia al-Chain of the Moors (Berbian tribe in Tunisia)
Her name means the "priestess" or the "prophetess", and she assumed personal command of the Barbarian forces, and under her leadership, the Arabs were briefly forced to retreat, but since the Arabs were relentless, she ordered a scorched earth policy. After her defeat, Dahia al-Kahina took her own life, and sent her sons to the Arab camp with instructions that they adopt Islam and make common cause with the Arabs.  Ultimately, these men participated in invading Europe and the subjugation of Spain and Portugal.  

Queen Clothilde 692 Regent Queen Dowager Clothilde of Neustria and Bourgogne (France)
Reigned for a few months for son Childéric. She is also known as Rothilde, Chrothéchildis or Doda (d. 694/9).


685-99 Regent Dowager Princess Spram of Girdyaman (Azerbaijan)
Reigned in the name of Varaz-Tiridat I of the Mihranid Dynasty, which ruled (680-699). She was succeeded by Sheraye.

Nigerian Queen Circa 700 Queen Magajiya Kufuru (Kofana) (Nigeria)
The first of 15 successive Queens, she was followed on the throne by Gino (Gufano), Yakunya (Yfakaniya), Walzamu (Waizam), Yanbam Gizirigzit (Gadar-Gadar), Imagari (Anagiri), Dura, Gamata, Shata, Batatume, Sandamata, Jamata, Hamata, Zama and around 1000 Shawata.


704-05 De Facto Ruler Dowager Grand Queen Khri ma lod of Tibet
After her husband, Grand King 'Dus-srong (676-704), was killed in battle she quickly dethroned his son King Lha in favour of the infant Rgyal Gtsug ru. Revolts and initiated the executions of her opponents until Khri-Ide-btsug-brtan, came on the throne, and ruled Tibet 705-755. He retaliated with more raids. He married a Chinese Princess and, needing help against Arab invasions, made peace with China in 730.


705 Presiding over the Synod of River Nith Abbess Elfleda of Whitby in England
Successor of Abbess Hilda, who also presided over a Synod. Before that five Abbesses were present at the Council of Becanfield in 694, where they signed the decrees before the presbyters. Later Abbess also took titles from churches impropriated to her house, presented the secular vicars to serve the parochial churches, and had all the privileges of a landlord over the temporal estates attached to her abbey. The Abbess of Shaftsbury held of the king by an entire barony, and by right of this tenure had, for a period, the privilege of being summoned to Parliament.


705-10 Politically Influential Princess Anle of China
After the death of Empress Wu Zetian, the court of the reinstalled emperor Zhongzong was controlled by the clan of his wife, Empress We, her daughter Princess Anle and Wu Sansi, a relative of late Empress Wu Zetian. In 710 Empress Wei enthroned the minor Li Chongmao  (posthumous Tang Shaodi). Only the rebellion of Li Longji could re-establish the power of the house of Li, and the deposed emperor Ruizong was reinstalled. Princess Taiping was the last to challenge the ruling house, and in 712 Ruizong abdicated in favour of Li Longji.

Empress Genmei of Japan

707-15 Genmei Tennō of Japan
元明天皇, also known as Gemmyo, she was daughter of Tenji Tennō (622-673-686) and succeeded her son Mommu as the 43rd imperial ruler. She proved an unusually able ruler. She coined the first copper money and caused scribes to write down the ancient traditions lest they be lost, and in 708 she moved the capital city of Japan from Fujiwara to Heijo-Kyo, thus giving the Nara period of Japanese history its name. Married to her first cousin and nephew, Kusakabe no miko, the son of Emperor Temmu of Japan and Empress Jito of Japan, she abdicated in favour of her daughter, Empress Gensho-Tennō. She lived (661-722).

710 Regent Dowager Empress Wei Shi of China
Reigned in the name of Emperor Li Chan Mao of the Tang Dynasty. She tried to rule as hard as Empress Wu and to be named Emperor in her own right. She sold offices and Buddhist monk hoods, and she was behind other corruption at court, and in 712 she was ousted from power and killed.


710 Politically Influential Princess Taiping of China of China
Together with her nephew Xuanzong she conspired to put an end to Empress Wei's attempted usurpation of power. He killed Empress Wei, the wife of his recently dead uncle Emperor Zhongzong, in a palace coup that placed his own father, Emperor Ruizong, on the throne. Xuanzong himself succeeded the throne in 712.


Circa 710-34 Princess Regnant Libuše Vyšehrad of Bohemia
According to legend, Libuse inherited rule over the Czech tribes from her father, Krok. As ruler of the lands, she was also the highest 'court of appeal' for disputes among the people. Przemysl Ploughman (Premysl Orac in Czech) came to Vysehrad and married Libuse and took over the job of ruling the unruly Czechs and they founded the Przemyslid Dynasty, which ruled over the Czech lands till the 14th century 

714 Acting Major Domina Plectrudis von Ecternach of Neustraia, Austria, Aquitania and Burgundy (France)
Also known as Plectrud or Plectrude, she engaged in a power-struggle with her stepson, Charles Martel after the death of her husband, Pipin II d'Heristal. She favoured the succession of one of her grandsons to the office of Major Domus. Her forces were finally defeated in 719. She was daughter of Count Palatine Hugobert von Ecternach  (d. 697/698) and inherited "The Lands between the Rhine, Moselle and Meuse" after her mother Irmina, was Abbess of Oeren and was later declared a Saint. She lived (Before 665-circa725). 

Empress Gensho

715-24 Genshō Tennō of Japan
元正天皇 succeeded her mother, Gemmei Tennō, mainly for the purpose to hold the throne until her nephew Shōmu would be mature enough ascend to the throne. Fujiwara no Fuhito, who had been the most powerful courtier in her mothers court, remained so until his death in 720. After his death her cousin, Prince Nagaya, seized the power. Under her reign, the edition of Nihonshoki, the first Japanese history book was finished in 720. Organisation of the law system was being continued, and the taxation system, which had been introduced by Empress Jitō in the late 7th century, was reformed to promote agricultural production. She also encouraged the arts, letters and science, continuing the works of her mother. When her nephew reached the age of 25 she abdicated. Gensho was born as Princess Hidaka and also known as Yoro. She was unmarried and lived (679-748).


720-... De facto Joint Ruler Hababa of Bagdad (Iraq)
A slave singer of the 9th Ummayyad Caliph, Yarzid II Ibn 'Abd al-Malik who was hostage to her charm. She choked on a pomegranate seed and he died of grief a few weeks later. Later historians stigmatized him and held him in contempt for letting himself be infatuated by a slave.


720s-31 Princess Regnant Prisbit of the Khazars (Russia)
The Khazars were a Jewish semi-nomadic steppe-people that lived in southern Russia between the Volga and Don rivers, northwest of the Caspian Sea.


721 Snake Lady Ti' of Palenque (Mexico)
Came to Sak Nikte' in 721 and is described as the yatan, or "wife of," Yuknoom Took' K'awiil, the last great ruler of Calakmul (ruled circa 702-circa 731). The date of her arrival is most interesting as it falls 26 years after a major victory by Tikal over Calakmul, in which the power of the Snake Kingdom was overthrown and its influence in the Petén was seriously curtailed. In addition, this arrival occurred only a dozen years before another major clash between Tikal and Calakmul, in which the former again appears to have successful. This information, in combination with the iconography of the tablet, suggests that Lady Ti's arrival served to re-establish, after a lengthy absence, the presence of Calakmul in the Petén. In this light, we can begin to appreciate the pairing of the Creation and War palanquins, and the role of the Snake Queens at Sak Nikte'.


722 Army leader Queen Aethelburgh of the Saxons (United Kingdom) 
According to The Anglo Saxon Chronicles her forces destroyed the City of Taunton.


723 –732 Queen Tejakencana of Sunda (Indonesia)
Following the death of her father,  Crown Prince Tarusbawa, she was hailed as heiress. She married Rakeyan Jamri, a son of King Bratasenawa of Galuh Kingdom, who became the second king of Sunda.


Around 725 Queen Regnant Indrani of Sambhupura (Cambodia)
The heiress to the Kingdom, she was married to Puskarasha, son of Queen Regnant Jayadevi of Chenla, and he afterwards became King. They had at least two children, a son named Sambhuvarman, and a daughter, Nrpendradevi (also known in later inscriptions as Nrpatindradevi).


734-41 Khatun and Regent Mo-ki-lien of Mong (Mongolia)
Known as Khatun Mo-ki-lien, which was the name of her husband. His minister poisoned him, and she acted as regent for their son, Yu-jan, who was again succeeded by her minor brother, Tängri Khagan, who died in 741.

Japanese lady 748-58 Koken Tennō of Japan (First Reign)
764-70 Shōtoku Tennō (Second Reign)
孝謙天皇 or 称徳天皇 was the 46th imperial ruler of Japan. She was born as Abe-naishinno, as daughter of Shomu-Tennō, who abdicated in her favour and joined a convent. She was an ardent Buddhist, and assembled priests and exacted severe penalties for the killing of any living thing. More interested in religion than government, she was persuaded to abdicate in favour of kinsman, Junnin. She was influenced by the Buddhist priest, Dokyo, who took up arms against Junnin, who were banished to the island of Awaji, where he died one year later. Dokyo tried to persuade her to abdicate in her favour, but she refused. Shōtoku died of smallpox, after which she was succeeded by her first cousin twice removed, Emperor Kōnin. Her posthumous name is Takano Hime Abenno Nai Sin Wo, and she lived (717-770).


748-54 Regent Dowager Princess Hiltrude of Bavaria (Germany) 
After the death of her husband, Odilo I of Bavaria, she assumed the regency for their son, Tassilo. Daughter of Charles Martell, Mayor Domus in Austrasia (719-741), Duke of Franks (737-741). She (d. 754).

Last update 12.06.14



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