Queen Hatshepsut (1473 - 1458 BC)
Queen Hatshepsut was the daughter of King Thutmose I. When the king died the throne was inherited by his son. In keeping with traditional Egyptian rule, the new king married his father's oldest daughter which meant that he married his half sister, Hatshepsut.
The new king did not live long and after he died his young son (Thutmose III) became Pharaoh but he was too young to rule so Hatshepsut helped rule the country. After 6 years she decided she had had enough of ruling on behalf of the child and declared herself to be pharaoh. This was a bold move for the female ruler.
Hatshepsut did not wear traditional female clothing but wore clothes that a male pharaoh would wear. Some artwork shows the female pharaoh wearing a fake beard. She called herself King of Egypt.
She traded with other countries and helped make Egypt a rich country. She had many temples built. One of these magnificent buildings was the temple at Deir el Bahari (see below).
She vanished mysteriously after 20 years on the throne. Legend had it that her nephew Thutmose III had her killed as he wanted to be Pharaoh.
Hatshepsut's mummy was not found until 2007 in an undecorated tomb in the Valley of the Kings. It was identified by matching a tooth with an empty toot socket of the mummy's skull. It took so long to find the mummy as Thutmose III wanted to hide all the information about her. After taking the throne he had Hatshepsut's name cut from the temple walls and tried to erase her name from history.
Thutmose III (1479 - 1425 BC)
The name Thutmose means ‘Thoth is born’. He was 7 when he became Pharaoh but he was too young to rule so his aunt, Hatshepsut made herself Pharaoh. Legend says Thutmose III was responsible for the mysterious disappearance of his aunt Hatshepsut, but he was still a great ruler.
After taking the throne from his aunt he had her name cut from the temple walls and tried to erase her name from history.
Thutmose was known as a warrior king and never lost a battle. Thutmose III was a national hero and he was respected throughout Egyptian history. He built many large buildings.
He built many obelisks (see below). These were later moved to different cities around the world including New York, Paris and London.
Known as Cleopatra’s’ Needle, London
Akhenaten was Pharaoh of Egypt from about 1350 to 1334 BC, and husband of Nefertiti who was known for her beauty.
Akhenaton was the last important ruler of the 18th dynasty.
He did not want Egyptians to worship many gods but one god called Aten. He fought with the priests to stop them worshipping other gods. He used his army to destroy the old religion of many gods. He spent too much time destroying the religion and did not look after the country well.
Akhenaton was originally called Amenhotep but changed his name Akhenaten meaning "Aten is satisfied". He moved his capital from Thebes to Akhenaten, a new city that was named after the god.
He ruled for 17 years and was forced to step down as Pharoah. He died soon afterwards.
King Menes (sometimes called Narmer) was the first Egyptian pharaoh. He united the two parts of Egypt lands which were called Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt. Menes ruled for 62 years.
Menes was also known as Hor-Aha meaning the Hawk King. His chief wife was Princess Neihotpe.
Menes also established the famous capital of Memphis. Egypt became a rich place when Menes was Pharaoh and he traded with many other countries.
The legend tells that when Menes was out hunting one day, his dogs began to attack him so he fled into the river Nile and rode on a crocodile to escape them. He then named a town Crocodilopolis.
He was killed by a hippopotamus.
Nefertiti meant "the beautiful woman has come". She was known as'The Most Beautiful Woman in the World.'
She was married to consort of Amenhotep who would become known as Akhenaten. She was queen for 14 years. She had six daughters. One of her daughters married Tutankhamun and the Pharaoh Ay.
Nefertiti invented her own kind of make up using the Galena Plant.
After Cleopatra, she is the most famous Egyptian woman.
Nefertiti had 4 different names - Nefertiti, Smenkhkara, Nefernefruaten, and Ankhkheprura Nefernefruaten
Nefertiti and her husband decided to abaondon all the gods and worshipped the god of Aten.
Birth: 1303 BC
Death: around 1213 BC (90 years old)
Reign: 66 years and 2 months
Ramses II was one of the most powerful pharaohs of Egypt. He is known as Ramses the Great.
King Ramses II took the throne of Egypt in his early twenties and ruled for 66 years until his death. He was one of the longest ruling pharaohs of ancient Egypt. It is said that Ramesses lived for over 80 years. The average person lived to about 40 so he must have seemed like a god. Ramses was well known as a builder and a warrior. He had over a dozen wives and more than 100 children. Some stories say he had 111 sons and 51 daughters.
Others recognize his name because he ordered the construction of the temple of Abu Simbel, the huge temple that is 180 feet long, 90 feet high, and decorated with four 60 foot high statues of Rameses II.
Seven Egyptian queens were known as Cleopatra, but the most famous was the last; Cleopatra VII. Cleopatra was also known as Cleopatra VII Thea Philopator. She was about 17 years old when she became queen. She was born in 69 BC and lived for 69 years.
Cleopatra and her family were not Egyptian, but from Greece, descended through a general of Alexander the Great. Cleopatra was the first ruler of her family who could speak the Egyptian language.
She had 3 husbands - Ptolemy XIII, Julius Caesar and Mark Antony.
In keeping with ancient Egyptian tradition, Queen Cleopatra of Egypt married her then 12 year old brother. She then went on to have one son with Julias Ceasar who reigned with her. When she married Mark Antony they had twins then a son.
She was queen for 51 years. She was the last Queen of Egypt and the last pharaoh. Following her death, and after the Ancient Egyptian civilisation had spanned over 3000 years, Egypt became a Roman province.
She was a clever, ambitious and determined woman who was also known for her beauty. The famous death of Cleopatra was from the snakebite of an asp.
King Khufu ordered the building of the Great Pyramid of Giza over the 26 years he was pharaoh. He was known as a cruel pharaoh as he worked the Egyptians hard to make the great pyramid. But he was a good leader as he could organise so many men.
He is known to have had at least three wives and 9 sons and 15 daughters.
The pyramid was built for his journey to the afterlife. His mummified corpse has never been found.
The pyramid took 23 years to build. Khufu managed to do what no other pharaoh could do and that is to build a temple and pyramid larger than any other in Egypt.
The pyramid lies just outside the city limits of Cairo. It is 145 metres high.