In ancient Egyptian times, men had most of the power. And even though it was part of the Royal Wife’s duty to produce as many heirs as possible, sometimes she achieved co-regency and ruled the land. Many people can name Nefertiti and Cleopatra as ruling queens of Egypt from the past, but in fact, there are several more that deserve mention along the Queens of Egypt timeline.
Scholars are divided as to whether or not Queen MerNeith ruled over Egypt during the First Dynasty of Egypt around 2920 BC. Even though her name is not present in a seal impression as other kings of the first dynasty and there is no mention of her on king’s list, she is believed to have risen to power after the death of her husband, King Djet.
At the time, her son, Den, was too young to rule Egypt and so Queen MerNeith (meaning “beloved by Neith”) became the very first female ruler of ancient Egypt. Some historians, however, believe she was simply co-regent with her son.