Free reading on the most influential women in world history: Honoring Women of Achievement Month

Queen Elizabeth 1

Queen Elizabeth 1

In honor of September’s Women of Achievement Month, we at Questia, the premier online research and paper-writing tool for students, have released a list of the top five most researched women throughout history. To celebrate the occasion, we’ve opened up our library to make reference works on each influential woman free for a whole month. Enjoy!

  1. Queen Elizabeth 1, Queen of England: Queen Elizabeth 1 is notably one of the most intriguing and influential women of her time. She was so influential, in fact, that it is the “Elizabethan Age that bears her name and was best noted for achievements in the arts and exploration of new lands” (Gilberd ix). Queen Elizabeth took the throne in a very vulnerable time in Britain’s history. It was on the verge of bankruptcy and was surrounded by two very powerful countries, France and Spain. “In her nearly forty-five year reign Elizabeth created and directed one of the most dynamic political and cultural transitions in the history of the world,” (Gilberd xiv). [Higgins, Shaun O'L., and Pamela Gilberd. Leadership Secrets of Elizabeth I. Cambridge, MA: Perseus, 2000. Questia.]
  1. Queen Victoria, Queen of Great Britain:  Queen Victoria was the Queen of Great Britain for more than 63 years, the longest of any British monarch. She was crowned on Thursday, June 28 in 1838 in Westminster Abbey amid thousands of spectators. Queen Victoria fell in love with her cousin Prince Albert and married him on November 23, 1839. “She appeared before them in a simple dress and wearing a miniature of Prince Albert in a bracelet on her wrist,” (Hibbert 111). Her time on the throne is commonly known as the Victorian Era. [Hibbert, Christopher. Queen Victoria: A Personal History. New York: Basic, 2000. Questia.]
  1. Rosa Parks:  Rosa Parks was one of the most poignant figures in the American civil rights movement. Her resistance to giving up her seat was what led to the Montgomery Bus Boycott and was an integral part in the battle against segregation. “Parks emphasizes that at the time she never considered that she might provide the NAACP with a test case to challenge legal segregation practiced by the local transit company,” (Franklin 59). [Collier-Thomas, Bettye, and V. P. Franklin, eds. Sisters in the Struggle: African American Women in the Civil Rights-Black Power Movement. New York: New York UP, 2001.Questia.]
  1. Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt: Cleopatra is one of the most well known figures in history. Her life and mysterious death have been played out on the silver screen by some of Hollywood’s most well-known celebrities. “Cleopatra likely became in death even more than she was in life. She was immediately mythologized in a series of literary and historical vignettes that highlighted what were seen as her foremost qualities,” (Kleiner 8).  She is also well-known for her beauty and illustrious relationships that she had with Romans like Antony and Julius Caesar. [Kleiner, Diana E. E. Cleopatra and Rome. Cambridge, MA: Belknap, 2005. Questia.]
  1. Joan of Arc: Joan of Arc’s trial and execution is one the most documented trials of its time. She is most known for her experience with the divine that instructed her to fight for the French which eventually led the way to the coronation of Charles VII of France. Although she was successful in leading the charge, she was captured and tried by the English. On “May 30, Joan of Arc was condemned as a relapsed heretic and burned at the stake in the Old Market Square of Rouen,” (Hobbins 5).  At the culmination of her trial, the English soon began to falter and Paris was then returned to French control. After Charles VII took the throne Joan of Arc was turned into a saint. “The king simply wanted to clear the air and put the civil war behind him. Joan of Arc’s family went away empty-handed. But in the eyes of many, she had been vindicated,” (Hobbins 7). [Hobbins, Daniel, trans. The Trial of Joan of Arc. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 2005. Questia.]

For more information and quality research, check out our Women’s Studies topic page on Questia.

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