Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-reigning queen regnant in history, has reigned over 32 independent countries, with her realms being in Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceania and the Americas.
This is a list of current and former female monarchs, including Queens regnant, Empresses regnant, Pharaohs and monarchs by other titles (Grand Duchess, Princess etc.). If the Queen ruled as a regent, this is indicated by "(regent)" following the name. Where a queen had no powers but only the title, "(titular)" is added instead.
A queen consort being styled a queen by virtue of marrying a monarch are not included.
The following is an incomplete list of queens who are well known from popular writings, although many ancient and poorly documented ruling queens (such as those from Africa and Oceania) are omitted. Section 1 lists Queens regnant: Queens who ruled in their own right. Section 2 lists Queens regent: Queens who have ruled on behalf of a monarch who was a minor, absent or incapacitated. Section 3 includes Legendary Queens. Section 4 lists Titular Queens: Queens who ruled in their own right, but had no constitutional standing or regal powers while in power. Section 5 lists various female leaders who were referred to as "Chieftainess."
Cleopatra Selene II (ruled 34–30 BC) - also known as Cleopatra VIII. In 75 BC, Cyrene became part of a Roman province, but it was restored to the Ptolemies by Mark Antony in 37 BC. In 34 BC Cleopatra VII and Antony's daughter, Cleopatra Selene II, was made Queen of Cyrene, but the city returned to Rome following Augustus' conquest of Egypt in 30 BC
Wu Zetian (Chinese: 武則天) - Empress regnant of China, ruling from 690 to 705. She was the only orthodox reigning empress in the history of China.
Although Wu Zetian is the only undisputed empress regnant recognized in orthodox Chinese historiography, there are two other documented cases of a woman holding the title of "Empress regnant" in Chinese history:
Qudsia Begum (ruled 1819–1837) - in 1819, 18-year-old Qudsia Begum (also known as Gohar Begum) took over the reins after the assassination of her husband, Nawab Muiz Muhammad Khan Bahadur. She was the first female ruler of Bhopal. She declared that her 2-year-old daughter Sikander would follow her as the ruler; none of the male family members dared to challenge her decision. She ruled till 1837, when she died having adequately prepared her daughter for ruling the state.
Begum Sultan Shah Jehan (ruled 1844–1860 and 1868–1901) - Shahjahan was the only surviving child of Sikandar Begum, sometime Nawab of Bhopal by correct title, and her husband Jahangir Mohammed Khan. She was recognised as ruler of Bhopal in 1844 at the age of six; her mother wielded power as regent during her minority. However, in 1860, her mother Sikandar Begum was recognised by the British as ruler of Bhopal in her own right, and Shahjahan was set aside.
Damahaar (ruled before 990) - Damahaar, a Ranin (Queen) of the Aadeetta (Sun) Dynasty, is mentioned by al-Idrisi as having reigned over the Maldives at some time before the semi-legendary King Koimala; there are several other mentions by foreign travelers, mainly Arabs, of queens ruling over the Maldives at various times; these are not always named and their reigns cannot be precisely dated
Khadijah (ruled 1347–1363, 1364–1374 and 1376–1380)
Jayadevi (ruled 681–713) - during her rule, she was faulted in leadership which led The Chenla kingdom to break into two individual states, but then it record the period to be female-dominated dynasty with the wide range of female successors, totally driving the entire kingdom
Ang Mey (ruled 1834–1840) - also known as Ngọc Vân Quận chúa (Lady Ngọc Vân - Vietnamese) or Ksat Trey, she was proclaimed on the death of her father by the Vietnamese faction at court with the title of Mỹ Lâm Quận chúa (Lady Mỹ Lâm - Vietnamese). She was famous as a Vietnamese puppet queen
Nang Keo Phimpha (ruled 1438) - after her nephew Lan Kham Deng died, she seized control of Lan Xang and the next four kings were under her control. She only reigned for a few months in 1438 at the age of 95; she was then deposed and killed.
Queen Trưng Trắc (ruled 40–43) - the Trưng sisters (Vietnamese: Hai Bà Trưng; literally: two ladies Trưng) were leaders who rebelled against Chinese rule for three years, and are regarded as national heroines of Vietnam. Her name is Trưng Trắc.
Anzaze (ruled about 82/81 to 75 BC, following dates on the coins), she appears on coins together with king Kamnaskires III; they perhaps ruled together as on the coins she is called βασιλίσσης (the Genitive case of queen, βασίλισσα - basílissa)
Ulfan (ruled 2nd century) - she co-ruled with her husband Orodes III
Asma bint Shihab (ruled 1047–1087) - she was the co-ruler of Yemen in co-regency with her cousin and spouse, Ali al-Sulayhi, and later her son, Ahmad al-Mukkaram, and daughter-in-law, Arwa al-Sulayhi. Though there were many female monarchs in the Muslim world, Asma bint Shihab and Arwa al-Sulayhi were the only female monarchs in the Arab world to have had the khutba proclaimed in their name in the mosques as sovereigns.
Arwa al-Sulayhi (ruled 1067–1138) - she ruled Yemen firstly with her first two husbands and her mother-in-law and then as sole ruler. She was the greatest of the rulers of the Sulayhid Dynasty and was also the first woman to be accorded the prestigious title of hujja in Isma'ili branch of Shi'a Islam, signifying her as the closest living image of God's will in her lifetime.
Maria Theresa (Archduchess) (ruled 1740–1780) - she was the only female ruler of the Habsburg dominions and the last of the House of Habsburg. She was the sovereign of Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Bohemia, Mantua, Milan, Lodomeria and Galicia, the Austrian Netherlands and Parma. In some of the Habsburg dominions (such as Hungary, Croatia, Bohemia and Lodomeria and Galicia), she held the title of queen. By marriage, she was also Duchess of Lorraine, Grand Duchess of Tuscany and Holy Roman Empress (all as consort).
Margaret I (ruled 1387–1412) - she was founder of the Kalmar Union, which united the Scandinavian countries for over a century. Margaret is known in Denmark as "Margrethe I" to distinguish her from the current queen. Denmark did not have a tradition of allowing women to rule, so when her son died, she was titled "All-powerful Lady and Mistress (Regent) of the Kingdom of Denmark". She only styled herself Queen of Denmark in 1375, usually referring to herself as "Margaret, by the grace of God, daughter of Valdemar King of Denmark" and "Denmark's rightful heir" when referring to her position in Denmark. Others simply referred to her as the "Lady Queen", without specifying what she was queen of, but not so Pope Boniface IX, who in his letters styled her "our beloved daughter in Christ, Margaret, most excellent queen of Denmark, Sweden and Norway"
Dynamis (ruled in 47 BC, 44–17 BC and 16–14 BC) - she co-ruled with her first husband Asander in 47 BC and from 44 BC until 17 BC; then she co-ruled with her second husband Polemon I from 16 BC until her death
Urraca of León and Castile (ruled 1109–1126) - also styled as Empress of all the Spains (totius Hispaniae imperatrix). Her use of the imperial styling was limited, much more so than that of her predecessor and successor (it is possible that the imperial style had connotations too strongly masculine). Urraca did employ instead the title Queen of Spain on several occasions from the very beginning of her reign until the end
Sancha of León (ruled de jure 1230) - she ruled jointly with her sister Dulce. After the death of Sancha's brother, Alfonso IX named his second son, Ferdinand, his heir, bestowing on him the title infante. In 1217, Ferdinand's mother, Berengaria, inherited the Kingdom of Castile, but ceded it to her son. With his heir out of the kingdom and ruling in another place, Alfonso attempted to make his eldest daughters his joint heirs. In the Treaty of Boronal concluded with Portugal in 1219, Alfonso expressly states that if he should die, Portugal should respect the agreement with his daughters. Alfonso also attempted to secure his eldest daughter's rights by marrying Sancha to John of Brienne, the former King of Jerusalem, but his wife Berengaria blocked this action in order to advance her son. After this fiasco, Alfonso declared Sancha and Dulce his heirs, but upon his death on 24 September 1230, the people of León, who had pledged for Ferdinand in 1206, refused to recognise his daughters, and they in turn ceded their rights to his kingdom to their half-brother
Dulce of León (ruled de jure 1230) - she ruled jointly with her sister Sancha
Isabella I of Castilethe Catholic (ruled 1474–1504) - After a struggle to claim her right to the throne, she reorganised the governmental system, brought the crime rate to the lowest it had been in years, and unburdened the kingdom of the enormous debt her brother had left behind. Her marriage with Ferdinand II of Aragon brought stability to the kingdoms that became the basis for the political unification of Spain. Her reforms and those she made with her husband had an influence that extended well beyond the borders of their united kingdoms. Isabella and Ferdinand are known for completing the Reconquista, ordering conversion or exile of their Muslim and Jewish subjects in the Spanish Inquisition, and for supporting and financing Christopher Columbus's 1492 voyage that led to the opening of the New World.
Joanna of Castile and Aragonthe Mad (ruled 1504–1555) - successor of the previous. After her husband's death she was deemed mentally ill and was confined to a nunnery. Her father, Ferdinand II of Aragon, was regent until his death, when she inherited his kingdom as well and began her nominal co-reign with her son Charles I of Spain, but she had no actual power and her confinement lasted until her death.
Toda Aznárez (ruled 950s-970s) - was the queen consort of Pamplona through her marriage to Sancho I, who reigned from 905 to 925, and was regent of Pamplona for her son García Sánchez I from 931 to 934. Later in life, she ruled a subkingdom created for her
Cartimandua (ruled c. 43–69), queen of the Brigantes, a Celtic people in what is now Northern England - she came to power around the time of the Roman conquest of Britain, and formed a large tribal agglomeration that became loyal to Rome; she is known exclusively from the work of a single Roman historian, Tacitus, though she appears to have been widely influential in early Roman Britain
Boudica (ruled c. 60–61), queen of the Brythonic Celtic Iceni, people of Norfolk, in Eastern Britain - in 61 AD, led a major uprising of the tribes against the occupying forces of the Roman Empire
Matilda (ruled 1141) - she was England's first de facto female ruler, holding the title of Lady of the English (she planned to assume the title of queen upon her coronation). She was declared heir presumptive by her father, Henry I, and acknowledged as such by the barons; however, upon the death of her father in 1135, Matilda's rival and cousin Stephen of Blois usurped the throne. The Anarchy followed, with Matilda's being a de facto ruler for a few months in 1141, but she was never crowned and failed to consolidate her rule (legally and politically)
Jane (ruled 1553, disputed) - her cousin Edward VI of England nominated Jane as successor to the Crown in his will and excluded his half sisters, Mary and Elizabeth. However, this was disputed following Edward's death, since parliament had not ratified his action and Jane was ‘queen’ for only nine days (10–19 July) before Edward's half-sister, Mary, was proclaimed Queen. Jane is nicknamed The Nine Days' Queen
Margaret, Maid of Norway (ruled 1286–1290) She was daughter of Eric II of Norway and Margaret of Scotland and was named "domina and right heir" of the Kingdom of Scotland by her grandfather, Alexander III. Her death, at the age of seven, while en route to Scotland sparked off the disputed succession which led to the Wars of Scottish Independence. As Margaret was never crowned or otherwise inaugurated, and never set foot on what was then Scottish soil during her lifetime, there is some doubt about whether she should be regarded as a Queen of Scots; this could ultimately be a matter of interpretation. Most lists of the monarchs of Scotland do include her, but a few do not.
Mary I (ruled 1542–1567) - she was executed in England in 1587
Liliʻuokalani (ruled 1891–1893 and claimed status as queen until her death in 1917) - was one of many queens of Hawaii; however, she was the only queen regnant of the modern Kingdom of Hawaii established by Kamehameha I in the late eighteenth century
Merneith of the First Dynasty - was a consort and a regent of Ancient Egypt during the First Dynasty during the early part of the reign of her son Den. She may have been a ruler of Egypt in her own right (hence being included in the list of queens regnant as well). The possibility is based on several official records. Her rule occurred the 30th century B.C., for an undetermined period
Julia Maesa (regent) 218 - 224, The Severan dynasty was dominated by powerful women, one of which was Maesa. Politically able and ruthless, she contended for political power after her sister's suicide and Afterwards she held power until she died in Rome.
Julia Soaemias (regent) 218 - 222, After his son came to power, he came to power with his mother and She attended meetings of the senate, and even held a "Women's Senate" deciding on matters of fashion and protocol. She was honored with various titles, including 'Augusta, mater Augusti' (Augusta, mother of Augustus) and 'Mater castorum et senatus et totius domus divinae' (Mother of camp and the senate and the divine house).
Julia Avita Mamaea (regent) 222 - 235, She was the mother of Roman Emperor Alexander Severus and served as regent of Rome during his minority, de facto during his reign. also Alexander confirmed his esteem for his mother and named her consors imperii (imperial consort).
Ulpia Severina (regent) 275 - there is considerable numismatic evidence for Ulpia Severina ruling in her own right between the death of Aurelian and the election of Marcus Claudius Tacitus. Sources mention an interregnum between Aurelian and Tacitus, and some of Ulpia's coins appear to have been minted after Aurelian's death. As such she may have been the only woman to rule over the whole Roman Empire in her own power.