Among the many rulers of ancient Egypt was the queen Hatshepsut who reigned with Thutmose III. Read on if you want to know more about her life.

Hatshepsut Biography

Born:1508 BC
Died: 1458  BC
Reign: Queen of Egypt 1479-1458
Nationality: Egyptian

Hatshepsut, the fifth pharaoh of 18th dynasty in ancient Egypt, was one of the few female rulers in Ancient Egypt. Born to king Thutmose I and queen Aahmes in 1503 BC, She was believed to be the most loved of the three children. When her brothers died, she was placed in the most unlikely position where she found herself in line to ascend the throne of Egypt. The only drawback was that it was something very unprecedented. Even though she did not get the throne immediately, she did ascend to it in 1479 BC and proved herself to be an adept ruler. Before she got the throne of Egypt, it went to her husband and half brother Thutmose II. When she did get the throne, she carried herself with all the grace and strength expected of a ruler. She was also a very astute ruler and managed to rule for longer than any other queen in Egypt. Her reign ended in 1458 BC with her death and she was succeeded by Thutmose III.

Hatshepsut was the daughter born, in 1503 BC, to king Thutmose I and queen Aahmes. She was the not the only child and had a sister, Akhbetneferu (Neferubity), also who is supposed to have died in infancy. It is believed that Hatshepsut was her father’s favorite and also favored by the temple of Karnak. She was also supposed to have four half brothers due to her father’s marriage to Mutnofret. One such half brother was Thutmose II who would later become the pharaoh. Two of her half brothers died when they were still young and it is believed that her father Thutmose I had named her as the next in line to ascend the throne before he died. 

Early Reign
Since a woman ruling over Egypt was not a common practice, Hatshepsut did not ascend to the throne after the death of her father. The throne instead went to Thutmose II, her half brother and husband. Instead of being named pharaoh, Hatshepsut became regent of Egypt. However, Thutmose’s reign did not last very long as he died soon after ascending the throne. Similarities in the policies and methods of governing between the reign of Thutmose II and Hatshepsut can be interpreted as Hatshepsut being able to influence her husband’s rule to a great extent. While she was married to Thutmose II, she gave birth to her daughter Neferure but failed to bear Thutmose II a son to succeed him to the throne.

Hatshepsut And Thutmose III
Even after the death of Thutmose II, Hatshepsut was not named pharaoh. It was a fact that she had not sired Thutmose II a son. However, Thutmose II had a son; one born off a commoner Isis. The boy's name was Thutmose III and he was next in line to the throne of Egypt. However, due to his young age Hatshepsut was allowed to reign as queen dowager. Even though she was ruling over Egypt, it was decided that Thutmose III and Hatshepsut would be the joint rulers of Egypt. Nonetheless, there were times when, being the pharaoh, Thutmose III was presented as a coregent, rather than the pharaoh of Egypt. There is also speculation that somewhere between the 16th and 20th year of her reign, she was dethroned for a short while, by Thutmose III as he assumed the throne for himself.  He was later replaced by Hatshepsut and she continued to reign till the year 1457 BC.

Hatshepsut’s Reign
Hatshepsut’s reign is generally considered to be a time of peace and prosperity with a reign that lasted about 22 years and 9 months. She is also regarded as one of the most successful pharaohs of the 18th dynasty. Since being ruled by a woman was not the general practice in Egypt, Hatshepsut agreed to dress like a man in the traditional shendyt kilt. She even wore the nemes headdress and the uraeus along with the khat head cloth. To top it all off, she even wore the fake beard that signified that she was the ruler of all of Egypt. In addition to all of this, she also took on the name of Maatkare when she began to rule. 

Being as clever as she was, she refused to let Thutmose III take the throne away from her. To achieve her goal, she relied on her favor with her father and the temple of Karnak to win the confidence of the people of Egypt. She is also known to have told the story of how the god Amon came to her mother in the form of Thutmose I and loved her. This got her the title of ‘God’s wife’, which she used to gain the favor of the priests. During her reign she was responsible for the construction of the temple ‘Deir el Bahri’ in Thebes. This temple shows how she believed herself to be of divine birth. She was also responsible for ordering the construction of the temple of ‘Pakhet’ at Beni Hasan in the Minya Governorate. She made sure that she took into her confidence adept advisors like the Vizier Hapuseneb, the second prophet of Amun Puyemre and Senenmut who was the "overseer of all Royal Works". While she ruled ,she helped Egypt progress by reopening trade routes that were closed as a result of the Hyksos occupation. She was also responsible for the launch of an expedition to the land of Punt which came back with live frankincense (myrrh) trees which were to be planted in Egypt. Hatshepsut also sent a separate expedition to Byblos and Sinai, which is believed to have been a raiding expedition. Though it is believed that her foreign policy was one of peace, some archeologists have found evidence that indicates that she might have led successful campaigns against Nubia, the Levant, and Syria.

As was tradition, Hatshepsut also had monuments constructed at the temple of Karnak. One such monument was the construction of two obelisks at the entrance of the temple. One obelisk still stands today and is known as the world’s tallest surviving ancient obelisk!

Hatshepsut died on January 16, 1458 BC; a date was recorded on a stela at Armant. She was laid to rest in the tomb KV20 in the ‘Valley of the Kings’. KV20 had actually been prepared for King Thutmose I, her father but was later extended by Hatshepsut to accommodate her interment alongside her father. Thutmose I was later moved to the tomb KV38 by Thutmose III. It is also believed that Hatshepsut herself might have been moved to the tomb KV60, which is believed to have belonged to her wet nurse. 

Being the longest ruling woman pharaoh of Egypt, Hatshepsut proved that women could rule just as well as any man. Archeologists have found evidence that after her death, Thutmose III tried to erase her from history by having her face chiseled off carvings on walls and tearing down monuments built by her. There was also an attempt made to wall up the obelisks she had constructed. There have been no reasons found for this attempt at the obliteration of Hatshepsut. The only thing that has been determined has been that it happened during the closing years of the reign of Thutmose III. She was also the first woman ruler of Egypt to assume the title of ‘King’. Even thought there had been other women rulers before her, none had assumed the title of ‘King’. Because of the amount of construction that was undertaken during her reign, she is also known as the most prolific builder of ancient Egypt.

Not many dates, events and timelines are known when it comes to queen Hatshepsut. This is a result of poor record keeping and, possibly, Thutmose III’s attempt to wipe her name from history. What is known is:

1508 BC: Hatshepsut is born to King Thutmose I and his queen Aahmes.
1472 BC: Took over the throne of Egypt as Pharaoh in the place of her stepson Thutmose III
1457 BC: Hatshepsut’s reign over Egypt comes to an end
1458 BC: Hatshepsut dies and in interred alongside her father Thutmose I.

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