15. Bronze Age China’s Fascinating Warrior Queen
Bronze Age China’s warrior queen Fu Hao (died circa 1200 BC) was one of history’s most fascinating and extraordinary women. She was one of the Shang emperor’s numerous wives, but she was so remarkable that she not only became the imperial favorite, but also the most prominent figure in court and throughout China during her lifetime. In addition to being a wife and mother, Fu Hao was also a formidable general who led armies into battle, as well as a priestess and a capable politician.
It was traditional for Shang emperors to marry a wife from each nearby tribe to cement their allegiance, and that is how Fu Hao came to be one of emperor Wu Ding’s 64 wives. Once at court, she exhibited remarkable intelligence, as well as military aptitude, and rose rapidly, becoming the emperor’s favorite wife and his most trusted confidant. She also rose to command the Shang armies, and led them into battle where she defeated and subdued restive tribes, and brought them into the Chinese fold.