3. Queen Ranavalona the First of Madagascar
Ranavalona I, also known as Ramavo and Ranavalo-Manjaka I, was sovereign of the Kingdom of Madagascar from 1828 to 1861. After positioning herself as queen following the death of her young husband and second cousin, Radama I, Ranavalona pursued a policy of isolationism and self-sufficiency, reducing economic and political ties with European powers, repelling a French attack on the coastal town of Foulpointe, and taking vigorous measures to eradicate the small but growing Malagasy Christian movement initiated under Radama I by members of the London Missionary Society.
She is best known for being defiant against European colonialism but is also said to have ruled as a dictator, often persecuting those who opposed her regime.
Her 33-year reign mainly consisted of conserving the political and cultural autonomy of Madagascar in the face of European colonialism while building and creating a self-sufficient state for the welfare of her people. This led to her being viewed as a great sovereign and patriotic leader at heart, while colonists viewed her as a dictator and a tyrant.