Hatshepsut, born in approximately 1507 BC, became a powerful Egyptian pharaoh in 1479 BC. It was uncommon in the time period for women to be pharaoh, therefore her becoming Egypt’s ruler was quite surprising. Regardless of her gender, Hatshepsut came to be one of Egypt’s strongest rulers.
Hatshepsut was born to her father, king Thutmose I, and her mother, Ahmose (britannica.com). After her father died, she married Thutmose II, her half-brother. This may seem odd, however this was “a common practice meant to ensure the purity of the royal bloodline” (biography.com).
According to britannica.com, Thutmose II became king in approximately 1492 BCE. Together Hatshepsut and Thutmose II had one child, a daughter named Neferure. He passed away in roughly 1479 BCE, and since he and Hatshepsut had no son together, his heir was his child with Isis (his mistress).
When Thutmose II passed away, Thutmose III was only an infant and not old enough to take the throne alone. Therefore, Hatshepsut took on the role of being Thutmose III’s regent. A regent is a person who would rule on behalf of someone who was unable to. For years, she acted as a traditional co-ruler with her nephew/step-son. She eventually became the pharaoh of Egypt. Thutmose III was still technically a co-ruler with Hatshepsut, however she was considered the dominant ruler of the two.
According to Owen Jarus from livescience.com, “She took on a full throne name, and statues were created depicting her as a male king, right down to the beard.” In this time period, there was not a way in which women were displayed as pharaohs. Multiple sources stated there were only one or two women who were pharaohs prior to Hatshepsut. Therefore, she chose to present herself as a man with feminine features in her statutes, sphinx, and portraits. As stated on biography.com this was “a way of asserting her authority.”
Hatshepsut is considered to be the most successful woman to be pharaoh as Egypt prospered during her reign. She sought out economic prosperity for Egypt during her time as ruler, and also spent a large time focusing on building monuments. She spent a large amount of time building and restoring various monuments and temples, such as the Djeser-Djeseru (biography.com). This was considered a holy place which was a dedication to Amon, the national God (britannica.com). Another big success of Hatshepsut’s reign was the “voyage to Punt” which was also known as God’s land (livescience.com). “An ancient record of the voyage indicates that it was wildly successful…the record concludes that no Egyptian ruler had ever been so successful in Punt” (livescience.com).
Thutmose III began to take more of an active role as Hatshepsut’s reign was coming to a close. After her death in approximately 1457 BC-1458 BC, Thutmose III officially took over as ruler. Once he finally took control, Hatshepsut’s memory was disgraced. Monuments which she put up were destroyed, inscriptions were erased, and he tried to eradicate her entire rule. Many scholars initially thought that this could have been an act of revenge. However, as time has gone on people began to discover this may have been his way of “ensuring his succession would run from Thutmose I through Thutmose II to Thutmose III without female interruption” (britannica.com).
Due to Thutmose III doing this, Hatshepsut’s memory was brought down to insignificance until roughly 1822. It has been stated that this is when hieroglyphics were decoded which allowed for people to successfully read various inscriptions (britannica.com). In 2007, it was announced that her mummy was identified which also allowed for her to be brought back into prominence. Although Thutmose III attempted to erase her from history, she is still considered to be one of the most powerful and successful rulers of Egypt.