This International Women’s Day we’re celebrating the stories of courageous women of the world that took risks, blazed new trails and changed the world for those that followed.
Discover the stories of some of history’s great women and see where you could follow in their footsteps to learn more and be inspired.
Cleopatra in Turkey
Turkey’s ‘frozen waterfall’ in Pamukkale has hosted many incredible people throughout history; none more so, perhaps, than Cleopatra.
She would regularly visit Cleopatra’s Pool for its healing properties, much as we visit spas today. In her time it was covered by a typical Roman structure - the ruins of which are now scattered within the pool so that visitors can swim among the columns! Cleopatra was one of the most powerful world rulers in her day; even Julius Caesar and Mark Anthony sought alliances, and fell in love, with her because of her political power, wit and intellect.
Which trip? You can visit Pamukkale and Cleopatra’s Pool on our Turkey in Depth trip.
Frida Kahlo in Mexico
Frida Kahlo is as much an emblem of Mexico as she is an emblem for feminism, disability and the ability to flourish in the face of adversity. Following an accident at the age of 18, in which Kahlo fractured several bones including her spine, ribs and leg, she was in pain for the rest of her life. However, while being forced into bedrest to recover, she was handed a paint brush to occupy her – and so began the incredible works of Frida.
In the Coyoacan district of Mexico City you can visit the ‘Blue House’ where Kahlo grew up and remained as an adult. The house has now been turned into a museum dedicated to her life and work and gives you a real sense of her story.
Which trip? You can visit Frida Kahlo’s house in Mexico City on our Contrasts of Mexico trip.
Hatshepsut in Egypt
Hatshepsut was the longest reigning female Pharaoh in Egypt; she began ruling as regent for her infant stepson around 1473BC, then took on the full role of Pharaoh (even having herself depicted as a male Pharaoh) in order to protect the position from outside threats.
Hatshepsut was highly successful; her trading expeditions brought back gold and ebony from distant lands, thus enriching her economy and she ruled for around 20 years. One particular claim to fame is the Deir el-Bahri, which she had built as part of the complex at Karnak, and where she was buried; it remains one of the most recognisable landmarks in the Valley of the Kings.
Which trip? Visit Deir el-Bahri and Hatshepsut’s masterpiece on our Classic Egypt with Nile Cruise tour.
Yaa Asantewaa in Ghana
In the Ashanti Kingdom, around Kumasi in Ghana, the ‘War of the Golden Stool’ was fought between the Ashanti and British. The war was so-named for the stool that was the ceremonial seat of power, which only a king could touch and was protected by Yaa Asantewaa, as the sister of the King. However, when the British tried to take it Yaa led an army of 5,000 in their fight for independence.
As the warrior queen who ensured that the stool never fell out of Ashanti hands, she is looked up to as the person who preserved their nation. It is still used in throne ceremonies, and was last used 20 years ago for the current King Ashanti. Festivals are being held in April 2019 that will mark his 20th Anniversary, and other Ashanti celebrations, in the largest festivities seen there since 1995.
Which trip? Discover Ghana’s Ashanti culture that Yaa Asantewaa fought so hard to preserve, on our Kingdom of the Ashanti trip.
Eva Peron (Evita) in Argentina
Inspiring musicals, films and art, Eva Peron’s story has struck a global chord. From poor beginnings in a small town in Argentina, she worked hard to become an actress and made her way to Buenos Aires. At 20 Eva showed entrepreneurial spirit when she set up her own company producing radio programs; however, it was her work as the First Lady of Argentina that left its mark.
She fought for women’s suffrage and to improve the lives of poor people of Argentina, earning her the affectionate nickname ‘Evita’. When she died young, at 33, from cervical cancer she was given a state funeral and buried in Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires.
Which trip? Visit Evita’s grave in the fascinating Recoleta Cemetery on our Adventures in Patagonia trip.
Mother Teresa in India
Mother Teresa’s life is well-known in modern times. Her prolific charitable work, principally in Kolkata’s slums, and then around the world gained her world recognition; she received the Nobel Peace prize in 1979 and following her death, was canonised in 2016.
When Mother Teresa first arrived in Kolkata, she began working in St. Mary’s High School for Girls - her home for 17 years - until she was allowed to work with those living in the local slums, for whom she set up open-air schools and medical facilities. Her kindness, generosity and charity have set an example for many around the world.
Which trip? Visit Mother Teresa’s home in the Order of Loreto nuns’ convent on our Kolkata to Amritsar tour.
Sacagawea in the USA
Some people may know Sacagawea from Night at the Museum, but her story is far more adventurous than many realise. In her mid-teens, Sacagawea accompanied Lewis and Clark on their mission to find a passage to the Pacific Coast. Her knowledge of the Rockies, the safe routes and the food, as well as her presence of mind in a crisis - all while looking after her two month old baby – ensured her place in history.
Without Sacagawea, the mission would likely have failed as her presence and language allowed Lewis and Clark safe passage past the Great Falls and over the Bozeman Pass, through Native American territories, relatively unscathed.
Which trip? You can follow part of Sacagawea’s journey on our Best of the Rockies and Yellowstone tour.
See where else in the world you could follow in the footsteps of great women.