Rani Abbakka Chowta was a small-time feudal queen in 16th century India, which is already kind of cool, but she became a folklore hero for her incredible success resisting Portuguese colonial domination. Abbakka led troops to battle herself and fought at their side, built up her small port kingdom into an increasingly valuable spice trade hot spot, and inspired people of various religions and castes to come together to stand up for Indian independence and nationalism. And she irritated the heck out of the Portuguese!
What comes to mind when you picture a Harem in the Ottoman Empire? Gyration? Debauchery? Grapes? We're here to tell you that the reality was a lot more complicated, a lot less sexy, and a lot more interesting. And things really got cool in the Harem during the 16th and 17th centuries when the women of the court had more power and influence than ever before, and played the political game with panache. It was the Sultanate of Women, and they were kicking ass and building infrastructure!