Hatshepsut was the young woman who became the first female pharaoh of Egypt, and many consider her the greatest woman in Egypt's history. Before her time, no woman had ever ruled Egypt. She was born in 1504 BCE and lived during the years known as the New Kingdom. She was the elder daughter of the 18th-dynasty king Thutmose I and his consort Ahmose. With the support of the major nobles and the priests, Thutmose I had his daughter crowned queen.
Hatshepsut was a strong woman who married her half-brother, Thutmose II. When Thutmose I died after a thirty -year rule, his son, Thutmose II, took over as pharoah, but it was actually Hatshepsut, who was of a far stronger character than her co-ruler, who ruled over the land. When Thutmose II died before the age of 35, and on his death proclaimed herself Pharaoh, denying the old king's son, her nephew, his inheritance. Hatshepsut never actually deposed the young Tuthmosis III. She simply portrayed herself as the senior of the two rulers. And, because by custom the pharaoh was male, Hatshepsut would dress in men's clothes and attach a ceremonial beard.
She remained in power for twenty years and during this time, she accomplished many things. Although many queens had ruled before her, never had a female ruler taken on the title of pharaoh. During her rule, the Egyptian economy flourished, and it was a time of peace, prosperity, and innovation, as is especially evident in her building activity. She expanded trading relations and initiated a number of impressive building projects including her three-tiered funeral temple in the Valley of the Kings across the Nile from Thebes. Hatshepsut sent trading expeditions and sponsored artists and architects, ushering in a period of artistic creativity.
Eventually, Tuthmosis III grew into a man and took his rightful place as pharaoh. Hatshepsut's reign came to an end, and nothing is known of her fate, as to whether she died in that year or retired into a private life. Some have speculated that Tuthmosis III had her assassinated when he became old enough to rule on his own. All that is known for sure is that this powerful and admirable woman mysteriously disappeared, and her name and images were forever lost when obliterated by Thutmose III.