The First Female Pharaoh



Merneith was an ancient Egyptian whose reign is dated to around 2970 BCE. When her tomb was discovered in Abydos in 1900, the discoverers claimed that “it can hardly be doubted that Merneith was a king”, until the realisation that ‘he’ was a ‘she’ saw her status switched to ‘queen’. Merneith’s name nonetheless appeared on a list of Egypt’s earliest pharaohs which was discovered in 1986.

Wait but what about Sobekneferu?

You are right, these are the first two female pharaohs (that we know of). Merneith ruled during the Early Dynastic Period, Sobekneferu ruled during the Middle Kingdom.

Merneith ruled around 2950 BCE. Sobekneferu ruled from 1799 to 1795 BCE.

Two female pharaohs, the first and the second, separated by over a thousand years.