Hatshepsut: Meet The Brave Female Pharaoh Who Shaped Egypt

Hatshepsut[a] (c. 1507–1458 BC) was the fifth pharaoh of Egypt’s Eighteenth Dynasty and the Great Royal Wife of Pharaoh Thutmose II. She ruled from around 1479 BC to approximately 1458 BC as queen regnant (Low Chronology). She succeeded Sobekneferu/Nefrusobek in the Twelfth Dynasty as Egypt’s second undisputed monarch.

The Great Royal Wife Ahmose and Thutmose I’s sister, Hatshepsut, were their parents. She first governed as regent to her stepson Thutmose III, who succeeded to the throne at the age of two, after the passing of her husband and half-brother Thutmose II. Hatshepsut became co-ruler with Thutmose III after assuming the role of pharaoh and adopting the full royal titulary several years into her reign.

In order to establish herself in the Egyptian patriarchy, she took on traditionally male roles and was depicted as a male pharaoh, with physically masculine traits and traditionally male garb. Hatshepsut’s reign was a period of great prosperity and general peace.

One of the most prolific builders in Ancient Egypt, she oversaw large-scale construction projects such as the Karnak Temple Complex, the Red Chapel, the Speos Artemidos and most famously, the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el-Bahari.

Most likely around Year 22 of Thutmose III, Hatshepsut passed away. A move was made to omit her from the official narratives of Egyptian historiography around the conclusion of Thutmose III’s rule and into his son Amenhotep II’s.

Queen Hatshepsut – Queen Hatshepsut Definition – Queen Hatshepsut Facts

Many of her accomplishments were attributed to other pharaohs, and her statues and monuments were vandalized. Instead of personal hatred as was traditionally believed, many contemporary historians explain this to ritual and theological grounds.

Upon the death of Thutmose II, the underage Thutmose III became the pharaoh of Egypt. Hatshepsut was thought of by early modern scholars to have only served as regent alongside him. However, modern scholars agree that, while Hatshepsut initially served as regent for young Thutmose III from his accession in c. 1479 BC, she eventually assumed the position of pharaoh alongside him, by Year 7 of his reign, c. 1472 BC; becoming queen regnant, Hatshepsut shared Thutmose III’s existing regnal count, effectively back-dating her accession as pharaoh to Year 1, when she had been merely regent. Although queens Sobekneferu and possibly Nitocris may have previously assumed the role of pharaoh, Hatshepsut was the only female ruler to do so in a time of prosperity, and arguably had more powers than her female predecessors.

Hatshepsut’s Major accomplishments

Hatshepsut re-established a number of trade networks that had been disrupted during the Hyksos occupation of Egypt during the Second Intermediate Period. She oversaw the preparations and funding for a mission to the Land of Punt.

Hatshepsut’s delegation returned from Punt bearing 31 live myrrh trees and other luxuries such as frankincense. Hatshepsut would grind the charred frankincense into kohl eyeliner. This is the first recorded use of the resin.

Hatshepsut had the expedition commemorated in relief at Deir el-Bahari, which is also famous for its realistic depiction of Queen Ati of the Land of Punt.

Hatshepsut also sent raiding expeditions to Byblos and the Sinai Peninsula shortly after the Punt expedition. Very little is known about these expeditions. Although many Egyptologists have claimed that her foreign policy was mainly peaceful, it is possible that she led military campaigns against Nubia and Canaan.