Hatshepsut was the longest reigning female pharaoh in Egypt, ruling for 20 years in the 15th century B.C. Considered one of Egypt's most successful pharaohs, she was the only woman to assume full powers of a pharaoh.
Although it was uncommon for Egypt to be ruled by a woman, the situation was not unprecedented. What made Hatshepsut unique was her insistence on being portrayed as male, including traditional pharaonic false beard. She used this as a way of asserting power and garnering respect.
Her long rule was a time of peace and prosperity, filled with magnificent art and a number of ambitious building projects. But her incredible legacy was nearly erased after her death, most believe by her step-son, Thutmose III. Statues and monuments Hatshepsut built during her reign were decimated in an attempt to remove her name and memory from history…and erase her example as a powerful female ruler.
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