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Seven of the Toughest Women in History

Seven of the Toughest Women in History

Generally, men get most of the credit for being the tough ones out there fighting wars, conquering uncharted wilderness and other testosterone driven stuff. (Mostly we do it to impress women.) However, nobody's denying that women aren't tough as well. Certainly, most guys would probably cry like babies and complain to no end if they had to go through child birth. Here are seven women who gave men a run for their money and went down in history as well, badasses. Which is pretty hot.

7. Anne Bonny

The sea ferrying criminal trade of piracy hasn't always been exclusive to men with eye patches or Somalis wearing flip flops and "Spring Break '96" t-shirts. Anne Bonny was what you might consider a bit of a delinquent. She supposedly stabbed a servant girl in the stomach with a knife at age 13 and soon began having flings with sailors and male pirates before becoming a swashbuckler herself. Between roughly 1714-1720 she reigned terror in the Caribbean with the best of sea dogs before being captured and pleading for the mercy of her unborn child to avoid hanging.

6. Belle Starr

Some people are bound to go against the grain of society no matter how they're raised. Belle Starr was one of those girls. Belle (born as Myra) went for the bad boys and hung out with the infamous Jesse James before marrying her second criminal husband, a horse thief and bootlegger by the name of Sam Starr. An ace with a pistol, the two love birds turned to a life of crime, but got busted and were sentenced to nine months in a Detroit prison. Belle was murdered two days before her 41st birthday in 1889 in Oklahoma. The murder was never solved, but her husband and both children were questioned as suspects.

5. Tomoe Gozen

One of the few and quite possibly the most famous of Japan's female samurai warriors, Tomoe Gozen fought alongside her husband in the Genpei War in 1180 A.D. Historians describe Tomoe as being incredibly beautiful and equally as deadly. A renowned swordswoman and archer, she was also a skilled rider in battle against the rival Taira samurai clan and their leader Minamoto no Yoritomo. Records of Tomoe's death aren't exactly clear, but she reportedly took the head of an enemy at the Battle of Awazu before giving up the sword to live a peaceful less bloody life. Regardless, probably not a girl you wanted to piss off.

4. Joan of Arc

I've got a feeling that if Joan of Arc had grown up in the 20th century she probably wouldn't have been a cheerleader, but would have been challenging any guy on her school's wrestling team instead. A peasant girl from France, Joan believed she was chosen by God to recover her homeland from English power during the Hundred Years War (1337-1453). While most 16-yr old peasant girls were probably milking cows and fawning over whatever of the equivalent of Twilight was in the Middle Ages, Joan was petitioning the royal court. Definitely not an underachiever, she led the French army to several victories before being captured and burned at the stake by the English at 19 years old.

3. Kate Marsden

Women are nurturers and Kate Marsden took this to the extreme. A nurse who cared for the injured on the battlefield during the war between Russia and Turkey in the late 1800s, she was determined to help the suffering Russian lepers. Ever the go-getter, Kate packed up her sled and rode on horseback across 2,000 miles of Siberian wilderness in search of medicine. Taking only, a whip, pistol and food items she risked bear attacks, malaria and robbers. Sort of like an extreme real version of the computer game "Oregon Trail." Only when you get typhoid you can't just hit reset and start over.

2. Boudica

Queen of a Celtic tribe, Boudica didn't exactly lie down quietly and sit on her bum after her husband died and Roman soldiers had their way with her and her daughters. Probably the earliest inspiration for those Lifetime movies where the woman goes all vigilante ass-kicker, Boudica and her tribe destroyed several Roman settlements and temples. As her forces grew, she went on to destroy three cities and kill nearly 80,000 people; sparing nobody. With all that pillaging and razing it's no surprise that Boudica's name means "victory."

1. Annie Oakley

Somebody once told Annie Oakley that if she got a Red Ryder BB gun she'd shoot her eye out... she shot their eye out instead. Okay, not really, but Annie could hold her own in the firearms department. She could supposedly split a playing card edge and put six holes in it before it touched the ground with a .22 rifle from 90 feet away. Born into poverty in Ohio, Annie began hunting at age six to support her siblings and widowed mother before rising to fame as a sharp shooter with "Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show" in 1885. During her career she performed for Presidents, Queens and taught upwards of 15,000 women how to use a gun. Because of this skill she also NEVER lost any argument with her husband.

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