Warrior Women in History


Hua Mulan (China)

There can’t be a discussion of warrior women in history without mentioning Mulan. I mean, she’s the only one with a Disney movie. The first mention of Mulan is in a poem titled The Ballad of Mulan where the character in question is based on a lady named Fu Hao. Fu Hao, like the movie poem tells, was worried about her father being asked to join the upcoming war, so she took his place, faking her gender to join the army. She turned out to be an extremely skilled soldier and went on to serve for 12 years. When she finally returned home and revealed her identity she wasn’t met with negativity, but instead with marriage proposals. Proposals which she turned down, just as she turned down any accolade offered to her for her service. I guess you could say she just…got down to business.


Joan of Arc (France)

It would also be hard to not mention Joan of Arc in any discussion of women warriors. Motivated by the voice of God she lead her country to battle during the 100 Years War, she is a woman warrior in the most literal sense. She fought alongside the men of her country, sword in hand, in the name of all she thought to be right. Despite constant dismissal from the higher ups in the cavalry, she persisted against all adversity. Her eventual capture by the English and slapped with charges of heresy and (would you believe) crossdressing led her to her eventual death. She was eventually canonised by the same organisation that condemned her, the church (a little too late if you ask me), and to this day remains one of the most famous saints and a role model to religious ladies everywhere.


Artemesia (Caria…somewhere in Turkey)

Artemisia was not only a queen of Cariam but a military strategist and a wartime commander. She was an ally to Xerxes (the big bald dude in 300 with the nose piercing, yeah that guy), and was never shy about telling him off. In the Battle of Salamis he laughed at her battle plans, and that battle ended in defeat for him, even when she did her part and led the troops into the fray. It’s said that Herodotus noted that after that battle that Xerxes payed more attention to her ideas.


Tomoe Gozen (Japan)

The most legendary of lady samurai, Tomoe Gozen fought along side her fellow countrymen in the Genpei War. It was here that she was deemed invaluable to the Japanese army for her unparalleled swordsmanship, her skill with a bow and arrow, and even her horse-back riding skills. It is said that she could ride unbroken horses down cliff sides. Now I don’t know why anyone would need to do that, but the fact that she could is cool.


Rani Lakshmibai (India)

Like Joan of Arc, Rani came from the depths of poverty and fought the English (no one likes the English apparently). After the British East India Company annexed her land and threw money at her for it, which she had no time for, they decided to use a bit of force. What they didn’t count on was Rani being completely informed on the sharpness of an axe and how it hurts when they hit you. She also knew that swords had a similar effect. That paired with a horse just made her an unstoppable force, one the Indian people could easily get behind against the British.