Queen Hatshepsut may not be as famous as other pharaohs, but it’s undeniable that she played a huge role in Ancient Egyptian history. Experts calculate that she was the longest-reigning female pharaoh, and her reign was considered to be the one of the most successful in history. To learn more about Hatshepsut, check out these interesting facts.
1. Her Full Name Was Hatshepsut Ma’At-Ka-Ra
Hatshepsute means “’Foremost of Noble Women”. The “Ma’at” in Ma’at-ka-Ra means “truth”, “order”, or “balance”, while “ka-Ra” means “the spirit of Ra”. (Ra is the sun god of Ancient Egypt).
2. She Married Her Half-Brother.
Hatshepsut had several siblings (including brothers), but they all died in their childhood. Because of this, her father Thutmose I decided to appoint Hatshepsut’s step-brother Thutmose II as his heir. When she was 12 years old, Hatshepsut was married to Thutmose II to maintain the pureness of the royal bloodline.
Thutmose II, unfortunately, was sickly, and he eventually died only after several years of being a pharaoh. He and Hatshepsut did not have a male heir (though they did have a daughter), so it was decided that Thutmose II’s son from a concubine would become the ruler. However, Thutmose III was too young to rule on his own, so Hatshepsut became his regent.
3. She Created a Masculine Public Image.
Hatshepsut ruled as a regent for a few years, but she eventually made herself Pharaoh. She had herself depicted as a male pharaoh in paintings and statues, complete with a beard, a large muscular body, and the traditional king’s kilt and crown. In real life, she started to dress like a king and even wore a false beard.
She changed her name, removing the “t” in “Hatshepsut” (which was considered to be feminine) and adopting the more masculine name “Hatshepsu”. She even dropped her royal titles that referred to her as a woman and stuck to titles that only the Pharaoh could hold.
Experts analyzed that Hatshepsut did all of these not to make the people think that she was male. Rather, it was due to the fact that the Ancient Egyptian society did not have any words or symbols that referred to a woman in the highest royal position. Because of this, Hatshepsut had to do all she could to assert her authority as the kingdom’s principal ruler.
4. She Led Egypt To Economic Prosperity.
Hatshepsut stands out from other pharaohs because Egypt prospered during her reign. Instead of focusing on conquering other areas and expanding the kingdom, she concentrated on improving the economy of her land. She established trade networks with neighboring places and organized a trading expedition to Punt, which brought back gold, ivory, ebony, spices, myrrh, frankincense, leopard skins, and other items that were valuable to the Ancient Egyptians.
5. She Reportedly Had Bone Cancer.
Recent studies show that Hatshepsut had a chronic skin condition and that she tried to treat it with a certain salve or lotion. Unfortunately, the product was made with a carcinogenic material, which most likely caused her to develop bone cancer.
Queen Hatshepsut showed everyone that women are capable of anything, including ruling a large kingdom. In her, people can find inspiration and be reminded that they can do anything as long as they put their mind to it.