National Geographic : 2019 Nov
CYNTHIA GORNEY, BASED ON PAMELA TOLER’S WOMEN WARRIORS: AN UNEXPECTED HISTORY. MONICA SERRANO, NGM STAFF. KELSEY NOWAKOWSKI. SOURCES: ADRIENNE MAYOR; LINDA HEYWOOD; BETH ANDERSON; WARWICK BALL; HEATHER HENNES; LINDA DEMERTZIS-BOUBOULIS; VERONICA TILLER; SARAH NELSON; PETER ALESHIRE 1582-1663 NJINGA WEST AFRICAN QUEEN Njinga used both guerrilla warfare and diplomacy as she defended her kingdoms, Ndongo and Matamba, against the Portuguese. Nearly 75 when she last led forces into battle, she would prepare soldiers decades younger by leading them in a rigorous arrows-and-spears war dance exercise. 1771-1825 LASKARINA BOUBOULINA GREEK WAR COMMANDER Ship owner and Greek nationalist Bouboulina secretly commissioned a battleship, assembled a fleet, and then commanded it in the war for independence from the Ottoman Empire. Credited with a successful naval attack on a key Ottoman port, she was nicknamed by her troops Kapetanisa, Lady Captain. 1780-1862 JUANA AZURDUY DE PADILLA SOUTH AMERICAN REBEL Azurduy joined her husband, Manuel Padilla, as an early 19th-century opponent of Spanish domination. They raised a rebel army and fought together in what’s now Bolivia and Argentina; she commanded male soldiers, earned a repu- tation for battlefield daring, and continued in action after her husband died. 1847-1868 NAKANO TAKEKO JAPANESE SAMURAI Takeko led 30 samurai women against imperial soldiers during a 19th-century battle in northern Japan. She and her forces used naginata pole weapons and swords to kill sol- diers armed with guns. Dying from a bullet wound, she asked that her head be removed and buried so no enemy could make a trophy of it. CA 1840-1889 LOZEN APACHE WARRIOR Described as “a shield to her people” by her older brother, the Chiricahua Apache war leader Victorio, Lozen regu- larly joined late 19th-century war and raiding parties in the American Southwest. She is said to have excelled at bat- tle strategy, medicinal skills, and stealing enemy horses during raids. 1892-1973 MILUNKA SAVIĆ SERBIAN WAR HERO Recipient of multiple medals for combat bravery, Savić initially enlisted in the First Balkan War by disguising herself as a man. As was com- mon for women fighting in disguise, she was discovered when she was wounded—hit by a Bulgarian grenade. But she refused to leave combat and served in three wars.