History's first great woman ruler, although not Egypt's first woman head of state, was the widow of Pharaoh Thutmose II. She ruled for over twenty years and built a magnificent temple near Thebes.
Queen Hatshepsut: Deir al-Bahri, Egypt, 1493 BC
Right here, my master builder,
you shall erect a colonnade
to honor my brave sailors
for the voyage they have made.
For did they not at my command
sail off to Punt, that distant land?
And did they not return with trees
whose incense Egypt's gods will please?
And being pleased by scent of myrrh,
will not the gods my death defer?
Show these men with trees in hand
so those to come will understand
men faced the terrors of the sea,
to please the gods . . .
and so please me.
Excerpted from Trailblazers by Bobbi Katz Copyright © 2007 by Bobbi Katz. Excerpted by permission.
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