Hatshepsut: Powerful female pharoah

Artwork by Lola, aged 9

Biography by Ava, aged 11

The Museum of Very Interesting People features Hatshepsut
Hatshepsut was a famous and powerful female pharaoh


Lived: around 1508 BCE – 1458 BCE

Claim to Fame: Egyptian Pharaoh

Hatshepsut was a famous and powerful woman Pharaoh. She reigned over Ancient Egypt for around twenty years, between 1478 BC to 1458 BC.

Hatshepsut’s dad was Thutmose I and her mum was named Ahmose. Hatshepsut married her half-brother Thutmose II and they became Pharaoh and queen of Egypt. After 15 years as Pharaoh Thutmose II died. Hatshepsut was left by herself with their only child, a daughter named Neferure. During this time in Ancient Egypt, power was passed from father to son. Thutmose II had a male child with a different wife, but he was still only a baby. After his father died he was given the royal name of Thutmose III. Because Thutmose III was a baby, Hatshepsut took on the role of regent. A regent is someone who helps someone else rule a country. After seven years as regent Hatshepsut made herself Pharaoh. The reason why she made herself Pharaoh is still a mystery, it might have been that there was a threat from another member of the royal family to the throne, or that she was ambitious and wanted to seize power.

Hatshepsut never took the crown from Thutmose III and eventually he ruled alongside Hatshepsut, although in a lesser position.

To prove that she had the right to become Pharaoh Hatshepsut started to emphasise her birth and that her father had proclaimed that she should be his successor. She also started wearing the traditional kilt and Pharaoh crown. Some statues of her even had fake beards and others had her with a man's body!

Hatshepsut must have been very smart to keep power for so long. Instead of conquering other places and kingdoms to gain more territory she worked on keeping peace and prosperity for her territory. She established many trading relations with other lands and also constructed and reconstructed monuments throughout Egypt.   The temple that she had constructed for her own burial can still be seen today. Her temple was so respected that other Pharaohs wanted to be buried nearby. So many burial chambers were put near her temple that the area was called the Valley of the Kings!

Hatshepsut died in early 1458 BCE, historians believe that she was in her late forties. After her death her stepson Thutmose III became Pharaoh. He reigned for 30 years and toward the end of his reign he had many of the images of Hatshepsut destroyed. It is unknown why he did this, maybe it was because he was resenting his stepmother because she took the power he might of had as a child or maybe because he and the other leaders of Egypt were afraid that another woman might come and seize the throne.

Whatever his reasons might have been, it didn't work. Hatshepsut is still known throughout the world as one of the most powerful woman leaders of history.