Hatshepsut is distinguished in history for being one of the most successful pharaohs of Ancient Egypt. She was also a woman and is generally regarded as one of the first female historical figures whose exploits are known to modern historians. Hatshepsut was the fifth pharaoh of the 18th dynasty during the New Kingdom. The dates of her reign are debated by historians, but she is thought to have ruled Egypt for 22 years from 1470 to 1458 BC.
During her reign Hatshepsut was successful in re-establishing trade relationships that had been disrupted by a foreign occupation of Egypt by the Hyksos people. It is this success in economic matters that led to her being regarded as such a successful ruler. The most famous of these trading relationships was with the land of Punt (placed by historians in central Africa), an accomplishment immortalized in the reliefs of her mortuary temple on the West Bank of the Nile at Luxor (ancient Thebes). As a result of Hatshepsut’s efforts, Egypt enjoyed a period of economic prosperity during and immediately following her rule.
Hatshepsut was also a prolific builder. The number of building projects undertaken and the elevation of architectural style during her rule is evidence of the economic prosperity that Egypt enjoyed during her reign, as well as her desire to immortalize her influence as the ruler of Egypt. She built hundreds of buildings throughout the Nile Valley and there was a huge amount of statuary produced with her likeness. By far the most famous building attributed to Hatshepsut is her mortuary temple, known as Deir Al-Bahiri or Hatshepsut Temple. The unique collonaded design of this temple is still admired by art historians as unrivaled until the rise of Classical Greece.