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Women Rulers of the Early Modern Period

Queens, Empresses, Other Women Rulers 1600 - 1750


Maria Anna of Austria

1683 - 1754

Daughter of Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor, she married John V of Portugal. When he suffered a stroke, she ruled for him for eight years until his death and succession by their son, Joseph I. She was sister of Emperors Joseph I and Charles VI and of Maria Elisabeth of Austria, governor of the Netherlands.

Maria Anna of Austria

1718 - 1744

Archduchess of Austria and sister of Maria Theresa of Austria, she and her husband were appointed governors of the Netherlands. She died with her first child in 1744. She was sister of Emperors Joseph I and Charles VI and of Maria Anna of Portugal, who ruled as regent of Portugal after her husband's stroke.

Maria Elisabeth of Austria

1680 - 1741

She was the daughter of Hapsburg Emperor Leopold I, and was appointed governor of the Netherlands. She never married. She's known for her cultural and artistic patronage.

Maria Francisca of Savoy

1646 - 1683

She married first Afonso VI of Portugal, who has physical and mental disabilities. She and the king's younger brother led a revolt that forced Afonso to give up his power. She then married the brother, who succeeded as Peter II when Afonso died. Though Maria Francisca became queen a second time, she died that same year.

Maria Theresa

1717 - 1780

For forty years she ruled a substantial part of Europe, bearing 16 children, reforming and centralizing the government, and strengthening the army.

Marie de Medici

1473 - 1642

Marie de Medici, widow of Henry IV of France, was regent for her son, Louis XII

Mary II Stuart

1662 - 1694

Mary II was the daughter of James II of England and Scotland, and his first wife, Anne Hyde. She and her husband, William of Orange, became co-rulers, displacing her father when it was feared he'd restore Roman Catholicism. She ruled in her husband's absences but deferred to him when he was present.

Mary of Modena

1658 - 1718

Second wife of James II of Great Britain, her Roman Catholicism was not acceptable to the Whigs, who saw that James II was deposed and replaced by Mary II, his daughter by his first wife.

Nur Jahan of India

1577 - 1645

Bon Mehr un-Nissa, she was given the title Nur Jahan when she married the Mughal Emperor Jahangir. His opium and alcohol habits meant that she was de facto ruler. He even rescued her husband from rebels who captured and held him.

Raja Ratu Hijau, Raja Ratu Biru, Raja Ratu Ungu

Three sisters who ruled Thailand successively in the late 16th and early 17th century.

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