Hatshepsut was an ancient Egyptian pharaoh, who was one of the few females to rule as the king in Egypt. Her name means “foremost of noblewomen.” Daughter of Thutmose I and wife of her half-brother Thutmose II, she became the de facto ruler after the early death of her husband. She is recognized as the fifth pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt (1549 BCE to 1292 BCE). Her rule from 1479 BCE to 1458 BCE was a time of peace and prosperity for Egypt due to which Hatshepsut is regarded as one of the most successful pharaohs. Know all about Hatshepsut through her biography, most interesting facts about her and her major accomplishments.
Hatshepsut was the daughter of pharaoh Thutmose I and his wife Ahmose. She had a sister named Nefrubity. Thutmose I had a son from a secondary wife who would become Thutmose II. After the death of her father, Hatshepsut became queen when she married her half-brother, Thutmose II, around the age of 12. The only known child of the couple was a daughter named Neferure. Thutmose II died young and the throne again went to a son from a secondary wife. This son would become Thutmose III, one of the great warrior kings of Egypt. However, at the time of his father’s death around 1479 BCE, he was too young to rule and thus, as per tradition, Hatshepsut became the regent.
By the seventh year of her regency, Hatshepsut would become the de facto ruler of ancient Egypt. The reason for this is debated with modern scholars believing that it was most probably a political crisis that led her to take this step. Hatshepsut, officially a co-ruler with Thutmose III, remained the de facto pharaoh of Egypt from 1479 BCE to her death on January 16, 1458 BCE. Her reign of 20 years is the most by a female pharaoh from an indigenous dynasty of ancient Egypt.
Hatshepsut was the fifth pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt. She is regarded as one of the most successful pharaohs as she oversaw a period of peace and prosperity; re-established trade relations; and oversaw the completion of some of the finest construction projects in the history of ancient Egypt. Due to her achievements, she has been called “the first great woman in history of whom we are informed.”
After her death, Hatshepsut was succeeded by her step-son and co-ruler Thutmose III. During the later half of his reign, Thutmose III systematically removed her image from monuments, reliefs, statues, cartouches and the official list of Egyptian rulers. According to modern scholars, the reason for this might have been that he wanted to maintain the line of royal succession from Thutmose II to himself. Hatshepsut remained in obscurity till she was rediscovered in 1822 through hieroglyphics at Deir el Bahri. Since then, she has remained one of the most famous pharaohs of ancient Egypt.
B. Wilson, Elizabeth. (2006). “The Queen Who Would Be King“. Smithsonian Magazine.
Jarus, Owen. (2018). “Hatshepsut: Powerful Female Pharaoh“. Live Science.
#1 The theory that she usurped the throne is now mostly rejected.
#2 She was not the first female pharaoh. The first confirmed female pharaoh was Queen Sobeknefru (c. 1807-1802 BCE), the last monarch of the 12th Dynasty of Egypt.
#3 Hatshepsut is depicted in statues as a male with a beard. This might have been a way to reemphasize her right to rule as a pharaoh.
#4 She was perhaps the world’s first arborist as she led a successful attempt at transplanting foreign fauna.
#5 The theory that her close advisor Senenmut was her lover is now mostly rejected.
#6 After her death, Thutmose III, and then his son Amenhotep II, attempted to erase her reign from Egyptian history.
#7 The reason for this is debated. It is likely that Thutmose III wanted to “prevent the possibility of another powerful female ever inserting herself into the long line of Egyptian male kings.”
#8 Her reign was rediscovered in 1822 through hieroglyphics at Deir el Bahri.
#9 Her mummy was found in 2007 with the help of a tooth.
#10 Recent evidence suggests that Hatshepsut might have suffered from a skin disease. The lotion she used to get relief from it contained a carcinogenic substance that probably led to her death.
#1 Hatshepsut was one of the very few female pharaohs. According to Egyptologist Ian Shaw: “In the history of Egypt during the dynastic period (3000 to 332 B.C.) there were only two or three women who managed to rule as pharaohs”.
#2 Hatshepsut was the longest reigning female pharaoh of an indigenous dynasty of ancient Egypt, ruling for 20 years.
#3 She oversaw the most famous Egyptian expedition to the Land of Punt.
#4 Hatshepsut was one of the great builder pharaohs. The construction projects of Hatshepsut were arguably more numerous and grander than her Middle Kingdom predecessors.
#5 The Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut is widely regarded as one of the architectural wonders of the ancient world.