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Hatshepsut i one of only three Queens to rule Egypt and take on the trapping of pharaoh -- an elite group that includes Nitocris and Cleopatra. Like the others, Hatshepsut is characterized as a strong, ambitious worman (in most older history books, with a definite sneer associated with it, like being an ambitious woman is somehow a bad thing).
Hatshepsut was the daughter of Thutmose I and the wife of his son (her half-brother), Thutmose II. When Thutmose II died, his very young son Thutmose III took the throne. Because Thutmose III was so young, she was initially his co-regent. But, in the second year of his reign it appears that Hatshepsut took control of the government. She ruled as more than a regent, as she actually took on the full royal titulary of Pharaoh and styled herself as a "female pharaoh". She ruled for the next twenty years, until her death. She was a successful pharaoh, which means that she had the full support of the officials in the government, including the High Priest of Amun, Hapuseneb.
She justified her claim to the throne by inventing the story of a divine birth from the god Amun, and that her father (Thutmose I) had instructed her to assume the royal titles. To support the role, Hatshepsut is sometime shown in masculine clothing, since there are not words for pharaoh that are feminine. Her statuary is an odd collection - -some masculine, some feminine.
Militarily, Hatshepsut did support several campaigns, including small forays into Nubia.
Hatshepsut is perhaps best known for her stunning mortuary temple built at Deir el Bahari, a multi-terraced temple within the curve of the cliffs on the west bank of the Nile. The temple is called Deir el-Bahari, or "Djeser Djeseru" - "Splendor of Splendors". Thousands of visitors walk up the long ramp to the see the scenes that Hatshepsut commissioned for her temple -- scenes showing her purported divine birth and her fabled expedition to Punt.
In the courtyard are the stumps of 3500-year old trees and the remains of a line of sphinxes that lined the avenue, exactly lined up with the Temple of karnak on the east bank of the Nile. This temple is considered one of the masterpieces of Egyptian architecture and contains some of the most interesting New Kingdom reliefs.
There is even a bit of bathroom humor -- in a cave just north of the temple is a drawing showing a man buggering another man in women's underwear. The hike up to the cave is steep, but it's an interesting comment on Egyptian humor.
The was also a prolific builder in Thebes. Her architect, Senenmut, added major pieces to the Temple of Amun at Karnak.
After her death, Hatshepsut was thoroughly and completely reviled by her step-son Thutmose III -- he erased her name, destroyed her statues, assumed her tombs and monuments and had her name erased from the king lists wherever he could manage it. It wasn't completely successful, though (one of the sites I researched called these actions damnatiae memoria, which I thought a neat term). Manetho mentioned Hatshepsut as Amenses, which allowed us to discover her rule.
Her tomb (or the tomb that is most often associated with her) is Valley of the Kings Tomb 20 (KV 20). It is unusually steep, with a series of curving corridors cut into the cliffs to the west of her temple. The tomb was probably started by Thutmose I and his architect Ineni, but it was taken over by his daughter and she finished the burial chambers and decorations.
The tomb is designed so that the burial chamber is as far under the back of her temple at Deir el-Bahari as possible -- almost 700 feet -- it is possible she intended to "burrow" to the Valley of the Kings via the Sanctuary of Amun in the temple. Inside the burial chamber are two sarcophagi, one for Hatshepsut and one for her father, Thutmose I, but neither pharaoh is actually buried there.
There is another tomb that is associated with Hatshepsut, in a cliff south of the Valley of the Kings, which may have been started for her before she assumed the throne.
Another interesting note is that the Alabaster Sphinx in Memphis may belong to her. The sphinx is not inscribed, and may belong to either Hatshepsut, or to Amenhotep II or Amenhotep III, based on the facial features.