Women Warriors of the 16th Century
Women Warriors of the 15th Century << . . . . >> Women Warriors of the 17th Century

A group of 350 girls constructed and defended fortifications for the Protestant Garrison in Guienne, France in 1518

Ameliane du Puget, the governor's daughter, led a troop of women who broke a siege at Marseilles in 1524 during a war between the King of France and the Constable de Bourbon. They dug a mined trench known as the Tranchee des Dames which became the modern day Boulevard des Dames.

Hernan Cortés' army in Mexico in 1521 included Spanish and Mayan women some of whom fought with the army.
Beatriz de Pardes was a nurse, but on occasion fought in the place of her husband, Pedro de Escoto.
María de Estrada was noted for her valor at the battle of the bridges on the noche triste.
(info provided by Jennifer and Tim, from their page on La Conquistadoras)

Francisco de Orellana encountered women leading South American native warbands and taking part in attacks during an expedition down the Amazon River in 1541-2.
(source Orellana and the Amazons - Athena Review, Vol. 1, No.3)

Lilliard led the Scots at the Battle of Ancrum in 1545 She killed the English commander but was killed herself later in the battle.

Graine Ni Mhaille (1550-1600) was an Irish princess and pirate (also known as Grace O'Malley) . She commanded a large fleet of ships. She petitioned Queen Elizabeth I of England regarding her various territorial claims, and the two met in 1593. Despite her own officers' reports that Grace was attacking English navy, shipping and coastal towns, the Queen accepted Grace's claims.

In 1568, two sisters, Amaron and Kenau Hasselaar, led a battalion of 300 women who fought on the walls and outside the gates to defend the Dutch city of Haarlem against a Spanish invasion.

Marguerite Delaye lost an arm fighting in the battle which lifted the siege of Montelimar in 1569.

In 1584 a group of Dutch and English volunteers recaptured the city of Ghent from the Spanish. One of the volunteers was Captain Mary Ambree.

Tomoe Gozen captured the city of Kyoto in Japan in 1584 after winning the Battle of Kurikawa. She was described as being a strong archer and excellent swordswoman.
(source Famous Women of Japanese History. Info given by Elizabeth etweb@senet.com.au)

Dona Catalina de Erauso of San Sebastian left a nunnery in 1596 and travelled to Peru where she became a soldier of fortune. She used sword, knife, and pistol, and fought in battles and in duels. She died around 1650.
(information given by Wajdi - wajdi@home.com)

The naginata is a Japanese curved spear. Since the 15th Century it has been the traditional weapon of ladies of the bushi class.

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These pages are provided by Nicky Saunders of Lothene Experimental Archaeology