Awesome People in History: The Trung Sisters’ Army and the Unsinkable Molly Brown

So, I went back through my old articles recently and realized that all of my “Awesome People in History” so far have been men! Ack! So here’s a few Awesome WOMEN in History to make up for this inequity.

First, let me tell you about the Vietnamese rebel generals Trung Trac and Trun Nhi.

Yes, they are riding elephants into battle. I'll get to that in a moment.

They were sisters living in Vietnam around the time Jesus was preaching in far-off Judea. Their father was a general, and they grew up in a military family where everyone, male and female, learned martial arts. How good at martial arts were the Trung sisters? One legend says they killed a tiger.

At this time, Vietnam was a part of the Han Chinese empire. Trung Trac was married to a guy who wasn’t exactly happy with this situation. Her husband, a local lord, conspired with others to rebel against the Chinese and establish Vietnam as an independent nation. The local military governor found out about the plot, and had the would-be rebel leader killed. The assassin then raped Trung Trac.

It turns out this was not the brightest move. Trung Trac partnered with her sister to raise an army of 30,000 soldiers and march on the provincial capital with elephants.

Told you!

Through cunning, bravery, strength, and the fact THEY HAD FREAKING ELEPHANTS they quickly overwhelmed the local Chinese forces and captured 65 forts. Did I mention all 36 of their generals were women, too? And that one gave birth mid-battle and then kept fighting?

You don't mess with Vietnamese women.

Eventually, the Chinese got their act together and defeated the rebels. The Trung sisters decided to commit suicide by drowning themselves in the river instead of be captured. To this day, they are revered in Vietnam as national heroes.

But my other Awesome Woman in History was best-known for NOT drowning. Her name was Margaret Brown, but after she died she became known as “The Unsinkable Molly Brown”.

"Drowning yourself after Labor Day? Totally bad taste."

The Missouri-born daughter of Irish immigrants, she became wealthy when her husband’s investment in the mining industry paid off. She became a socialite, and got involved in political issues and causes like women’s suffrage, education for the poor, and feeding the homeless. She ran for Senate twice, before women could vote, and campaigned for the establishment of juvenile courts.

Her claim to fame, though, came on a cold winter night in 1912. That’s right, she was on board the Titanic.

Margaret Brown was a hero that night. She volunteered to help people onto the lifeboats, and only got on the last lifeboat herself after much goading. As they rowed away from the sinking ship, Brown got into an argument with the ship’s Quartermaster, who had been put in charge. Brown wanted to go back and pick up more survivors; the Quartermaster feared that doing so would endanger the people already on board and only find corpses. Brown eventually threatened to throw the Quartermaster overboard. At that, he acquiesced and went to look for more survivors.

After the rescue, she collected the names of survivors, and contacted her rich friends to help raise funds for the families of those who died. By the time her rescue ship reached New York Harbor, she had already raised $10,000 (in 1912 dollars!). in the media buzz about her heroism that followed, she quipped that she survived because of the luck of her family… “We’re unsinkable!” she said. Hence, her posthumous nickname.

The heroism she showed that night cemented her status as a celebrity, which she used during World War I to promote charities trying to help wounded veterans and rebuild France, an act that earned her the Legion of Honor. She even tried her hand as an actress before dying of a brain tumor in 1932.

There! That should be enough Awesome Women for now! Sorry about that, ladies!

Information from Brittanica Online, InfoBarrel, New World Encyclopedia and Wikipedia. Thanks, mom, for the New World Encyclopedia link!

4 Responses to Awesome People in History: The Trung Sisters’ Army and the Unsinkable Molly Brown

  1. Aaron Bevan says:

    Thanks for the killer info. Women are still under represented and under served. The balance is shifting though. Keep sending me your diverse blogs. Diversity is the key to intelligence & wisdom. Ab

  2. Pingback: Behind the Headline: Why is Asia in an Uproar Over Some Rocks? « Cat Flag

  3. Pingback: Awesome People In History: Fred Rogers | Cat Flag

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