1473 - 1458 BC


 18th Dynasty

The chief queen of Tuthmosis II, who declared herself King of Egypt.

Before he died, the King and husband of Hatshepsut, Tuthmosis II chose his son Tuthmosis as his heir (the son of an harem wife). However when Tuthmosis II died, the new king Tuthmosis III was still quite young and so the Queen Hatshepsut stood as regent - during this period she still used the same titles as she used when the wife of Tuthmosis II (King's Daughter, King's Sister, God's Wife and King's Great Wife).

Year 2 and the change of power.

Tuthmosis III and his regent Hatshepsut ruled jointly for only a short time - in Year 2 of Tuthmosis III's reign, Hatshepsut declared herself Pharaoh. In order to justify her new position, she assumed the titles and clothes of a male king. Hatshepsut could not have made this leap for power without help, she had the backing of key members of her court - including Hapseneb - as well as the High Priests of Amun. An inscription at the time details this change in power:

'Came forth the king of the gods, Amun-Re, from his temple, saying: "Welcome, my sweet daughter, my favourite, the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Maatkare, Hatshepsut. Thou art the king, taking possession of the Two Lands".

Hatshepsut still needed to support her claim to rule as King - on the walls of her funerary temple at Deir el-Bahri scenes show her divine birth, her father being the King of gods, Amun-Re (identified as Tuthmosis I). These scenes show Amun-Re on his way to see Ahmose (mother of Hatshepsut):

'He made his form like the majesty of this husband, the king Aakheperure [Tuthmosis I]. He found her [Ahmose] as she slept, in the beauty of the palace. She waked at the fragrance of the god, which she smelled in the presence of his majesty. He went to her immediately...'

Hatshepsut also claimed to have been crowned king of Egypt while her father, Tuthmosis I, was still alive - showing that she was his chosen heir. To confirm her kingship, Hatshepsut would also be depicted as a man, or wearing a King's headress with a woman's body - sometimes she would be referred to as 'he', or the feminine ending to the word for 'majesty' would be added.

Foreign policy

Although through the successes of Ahmose I, Amenhotep I and Tuthmosis I had increased Egypt's power and wealth dramatically, Hatshepsut chose not to pursue a military policy (there is one reference to a minor raid in Nubia during her reign), instead she concentrated on the internal affairs of Egypt and trading expeditions. These trading expeditions included : Byblos for timber, Sinai for turquoise and to the mysterious land of Punt for incense (the expedition to Punt was documented on her mortuary temple at Deir el-Bahri).

Building projects of Hatshepsut.

Hatshepsut had an active building programme, she also restored the sanctuaries of Middle Egypt which had fallen into dis-repair since the Hyksos Period. At Karnak she built to honour Amun-Re ('Her Majesty did this because she loved her father Amun so much, more than all other gods.... I have done this from a loving heart for my father Amun'), here she raised 2 obelisks (one collaspsed in antiquity, both were ornamented in fine gold) and begun the Temple of Mut, (But her greatest building project was her Mortuary temple at Deir el-Bahri).


Inscriptions from the surviving obelisk of Hatshepsut:

Officials of Hatshepsut:

Senenmut - the Royal Steward
Hapuseneb (related to the royal family by his mother Ahhotep), he was the High Priest of Amun at Thebes, and supervised many royal building projects.
Nehsy, Chancellor (led the expedition to Punt in Year 9).
Inebni, Viceroy of Kush
Thuthmose, Treasurer (TT110)
Amenhotep, Chief Steward (TT73)
Useramun, vizier from Year 5 onwards.
Djehuty, overseer of the Treasury, nomarch in Herwer (middle Egypt), overseer of Priests of Thoth in Hermopolis (inscriptions in his tomb at Dra Abu el-Naga tell of the numerous building works he supervised on behalf of Hatshepsut).
Puyemra, second priest of Amun

The end of Hatshepsut
Towards the end of her reign, the Asiatic peoples staged a revolt centered on the city of Kadesh, Tuthmosis III himself led the Egyptian to quash this uprising and Hatshepsut disappeared. Tuthmosis III was finally able to claim his rightful place as King of Egypt, now came vengeance - all images of Hatshepsut were attacked; statues, reliefs and shrines all were defaced.

Scene from the temple of Amun at Thebes, showing the hacked-out image of Hatshepsut

What happened to Hatshepsut's mummy?
The location of her tomb is known (KV20), and her sarcophagus (as well as that of Tuthmosis I) found inside, her mummy has never been positively identified, there have been some possibilities found:

1. The 'elder woman' found in the cache of Amenhotep II has been identified by some as belonging to Hatshepsut.

2. An unidentified mummy found in the tomb of Hatshepsut's nurse - Sitre In (KV60). This tomb was discovered by Howard Carter in 1903, inside there were two female mummies found inside; one was in a coffin inscribed for Sitre In (taken to the Egyptian Museum in 1906), the second mummy (in which the left arm of the mummy crosses the breast and the right lies along the side in a possible 'royal position' could be that of Hatshepsut (removed in late 1980's).

3. An unidentified mummy as part of the cache of mummies found in TT320. Hatshepsut's canopic chest was discovered in the cache (inside the canopic chest were remains of her liver), it is possible that one of the two unidentified female mummies (which had been stripped of all wrappings and without a coffin or sarcophagus) may be that of Hatshepsut.

Hatshepsut's original tomb from when she was Queen of Tuthmosis II was discovered by Howard Carter in 1916, her original sarcophagus was found there - CLICK HERE for more details