Women in warfare and the military in the 19th century

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Active warfare throughout history has mainly been a matter for men, but women have also played a role, often a leading one. While women rulers conducting warfare was common, women who participated in active warfare was rare. The following list of women in war and their exploits from about 1800 up to about 1899 can only indicate the involvement of women, some of them due to the circumstances of their birth or family connection, others by force of circumstance from humble origins.

Only women active in direct warfare, such as warriors, spies, and women who actively led armies are included in this list.

For entries pertaining specifically to the United States, please see: Timeline of women in war in the United States, Pre-1945

Timeline of women in warfare in the 19th century worldwide[edit]




  • 1821: Laskarina Bouboulina fights in the Greek War of Independence.
  • 1821: Manto Mavrogenous fights in the Greek War of Independence.
  • 1821: Rallou Karatza participates in the Greek war of Independence.
  • 1822: Angelique Brulon, a female soldier who had in defence of Corsica from 1792–1799, is promoted to lieutenant. She had originally fought while disguised as a man, but eventually fought openly as a woman. She retires the same year.
  • 1822: Maria Quitéria fights in the Brazilian war of independence.[8]
  • 1824: Queen Kittur Chennamma of the Kittur kingdom in India fights the British.


  • 1831: Countess Emilia Plater creates her own group to fight in the Polish November Uprising. She becomes commanding officer of a company of infantry in the rank of captain. She dies from illness contracted during a forced march in December 1832. Several other women served openly as soldiers during this Polish rebellion against Russia, although not many are named; Soltyk reported that a beautiful girl of eighteen fought at the Russian crossfier at the Vola trenches in Warsaw the 4th September 1831, and he added that "there where not one troop of our army, where not one or more of these heroines fought."
  • 1838-1839: Johanna Martens serve in the Dutch army dressed as a man to be near to her lover, a soldier. [9]
  • January 20, 1839: Sergeant Candelaria Perez fights in the Battle of Yungay.




  • 1863: Anna Henryka Pustowojtowna fights in the Polish uprising dressed as a man.
  • July 25, 1865: Retired military Inspector General, H.M. Army Hospitals, Doctor James Barry, dies. Upon inspection of the corpse, it is discovered that Barry was in fact, female-bodied.
  • October 1868: In Japan, Nakano Takeko and a group of other women take part in the Battle of Aizu.




See also[edit]


  1. ^ Heuvel, Geertruida Sara Catharina van den (1783-1838)
  2. ^ Turner, Karen (2008). "Bui Thi Xuan". The Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History. Oxford University Press. p. 265. ISBN 978-0-19-514890-9. 
  3. ^ Femmes d'Haiti : Marie-Jeanne
  4. ^ Lincoln P. Paine: Warships of the World To 1900
  5. ^ Gunningh Sloet, Francina (ca. 1792-na 1814)
  6. ^ Rudolf Dekker en Lotte van de Pol, Vrouwen in mannenkleren. De geschiedenis van een tegendraadse traditie. Europa 1500-1800 (Amsterdam 1989)
  7. ^ Isabelle Bauino,Jacques Carré,Cécile Révauger: The Invisible Woman: Aspects Of Women's Work In Eighteenth-century Britain
  8. ^ Brazilian biographical annual, Volume 2 By Joaquim Manoel de Macedo, p.493-496
  9. ^ Martens, Johanna (ca. 1818-na 1839)
  10. ^ Sarala, Srikrishna (1999). Indian revolutionaries: a comprehensive study, 1757–1961 I. Prabhat Prakashan. ISBN 978-81-87100-16-4. 
  11. ^ Women and War: A Historical Encyclopedia from Antiquity to the Present, By Bernard A. Cook, p.199
  12. ^ Johnson, Chris; Jolyon Leslie (2004). Afghanistan: the mirage of peace. Zed Books. p. 171. ISBN 1-84277-377-1. Retrieved 2010-08-22. 
  13. ^ Abdullah Qazi. "Afghan Women's History". Afghanistan Online. Retrieved 2010-09-12. 
  14. ^ "Women in the Canadian military". CBC News. May 30, 2006. 
  15. ^ Rethinking Islam and Liberal Democracy: Islamist Women in Turkish Politics By Yesim Arat, p.76
  16. ^ The History of Ethiopia, By Saheed A. Adejumobi p.166
  17. ^ Chronology of women's history
  18. ^ Language Arts for the Filipino Learners: An Integrated Language and Reading WorkText for Grade Four, p. 106

External links[edit]