For more than a thousand years Egypt had been ruled by men.
Then came Hatshepsut.
She was the daughter of a king and wife of a king,
but that wasn't enough for Hatshepsut.
This is a story of incredible achievement, secret desire
and a burning ambition to be king.
This is the story of a woman who went for it all.
There's a mystery about Hatshepsut
that begins here at the temple of Deir el-Bahri.
It's across the river from Thebes,
the ancient religious capitol of Egypt.
One hundred and seventy years ago,
a young Frenchman, Champollion,
walked down this corridor.
He had just cracked the hieroglyphic code
and became the first man in two thousand years
to read Hatshepsut's name
When Champollion came here he uncovered a mystery.
There were two kings on the wall.
Now one of the kings he knew; Tuthmosis I I I.
He had seen his name up and down the Nile
and knew he was a great king.
But the second one he had never heard of. King Hatshepsut.
Now the thing that puzzled Champollion was that
wherever there were two kings together,
Hatshepsut was always taking the place of honor,
in front of the other king.
Then things got really weird.
This is his journal, this is Champollion's journal.
And over here, he recorded the inscriptions,
the cartouches, the names,
and he noted that wherever there was the bearded pharaoh,
the verbs and nouns were in the feminine.
She's wearing the beard of the pharaoh
and that's no miniskirt.
That's the kilt of a king of Egypt.
It was all confusing
and Champollion never figured it out.
It took Egyptologists another hundred years to do that.
Hatshepsut, the queen of Egypt had decided to wear men's clothins
and declare herself pharaoh.
Hatshepsut's father was buried in a tomb cut into the mountain.
This is where the treasures of Tutankahmen were discovered,
where Ramses the Great was laid to rest,
and it's all because of Hatshepsut's father,
the Pharaoh Tuthmosis I.
A thousand years before Hatshepsut was born,
the pharaohs were buried in pyramids in the desert.
But by the time Hatshepsut's father was king,
all the pyramids had been robbed.
Egypt had suffered periods of turmoil and lawlessness
and was just returning to stability.
Hatshepsut's father needed a place
where he and his treasures could be buried safely.
Tuthmosis decided on a secret burial
in a remote valley where nothing grew
and no one would ever want to live.
A site that would become known to the world
as The Valley of the Kings.
It was a bold venture but Hatshepsut's father was a bold man,
so the tomb was built and Tuthmosis became the first pharaoh of Egypt
to be buried in The Valley of the Kings.
Tuthmosis was a fearless military commander.
As soon as he became pharaoh,
he led an expedition south into Nubia,
now the Sudan, to quell a rebellion.
He had to pass four dangerous cataracts,
each of which could smash a ship to bits.
He led his troops deeper into Nubia than any pharaoh had ever gone
and defeated a confederation of Nubian tribes.
Hatshepsut's father was a tough man.
Tuthmosis and his queen had five children.
But Hatshepsut was the only one to survive her parents.
It was in Hatshepsut's veins alone that pure royal blood flowed.
But could a woman become king of Egypt?
Choosing a king was complicated,
often involving intrigue and power struggles.
It was the kind of issue decided
within the closed confines of a mud-brick palace.
This is a royal palace. It's a maze of tiny rooms.
You see, the king had several wives so he wanted plenty of space.
Here's the throne room.
It's where the king would've held audiences.
It's amazingly small, isn't it?
But the walls were mostly mud-brick,
so they couldn't hold up a really big ceiling.
But wait till you see the bathroom.
It's practically camping out,
but it was state of the art for ancient Egypt.
See this wall? It's stone, it's a luxury.
If you took too many baths in a mud-brick bathroom,
you wouldn't have any walls left.
There's no word in Ancient Egyptian for queen.
What the hieroglyphs really say is "King's Great Wife".
There was only one King's Great Wife at any one time,
but beneath her were minor wives and beneath them, concubines.
And all of them hoped that one day their sons would be king of Egypt.
Hatshepsut was a royal kid.
She would have grown up in a palace like this.
Lots of women, lots of children, lots of rooms, lots of intrigue.
She was undoubtedly bright
and she should have succeeded her father as king,
if she were a boy.
But the King's Great Wife didn't have any sons that lived,
so the line of succession wasn't clear.
This was the kind of time
when the son of a minor wife could become pharaoh of Egypt.
When Hatshepsut was twelve years old
her father died,
leaving the young girl as the only pure royal heir.
But Egypt needed a king.
So Hatshepsut was married to her half brother, Tuthmosis,
named after his father.
He was only half royal, the son of a minor wife,
so he needed Hatshepsut if he were to rule as king.
Tuthmosis I I was in his twenties when he married Hatshepsut,
and so the twelve year old girl became queen of Egypt.
There is little positive that can be said of Tuthmosis I I.
His mummy suggests he was far from the kind of man a woman dreams of.
Hatshepsut's husband was a unhealthy,
frail man with little musculature.
He was in his forties when he died.
Bald, his body dotted with scabs.
He'd built no great monuments, raised no obelisks to the heavens
and conquered no foreign lands.
He seems to have stayed at home when the army went on campaigns,
certainly not the kind of man Hatshepsut's father was.
The best that can be said of his reign is that it was uneventful.
This must have been quite a change for Hatshepsut,
raised in a palace where great deeds
and bold innovations were the norm.
She and Tuthmosis had only one child; a daughter, Nefrure.
By the time Tuthmosis died,
Hatshepsut had been married to him for twenty years.
It must've been a long twenty years.
But at least she was now free.
She was thirty-two years old, the mother of a young daughter,
queen of Egypt and in the prime of her life.
Now she would show Egypt
what the daughter of a great king could do.
She began the most incredible building program
any queen had ever undertaken.
Deir el-Bahri was Hatshepsut's mortuary temple
where she could be worshipped after her death.
No queen had ever built anything like this for herself
and Egypt must have been stunned.
Nestled in the mountains,
its clear, straight line allow it to stand out
against the rugged background.
I think it's the most beautiful temple ever built in Ancient Egypt.
For the previous century,
Egypt's pharaohs had been preoccupied with war,
fending off enemies.
This is the first major building project since the turmoil.
It's a beautiful work of art and a strong political statement.
Divine order will be restored.
The Queen of Egypt is capable of great things.
It was the beginning of a wonderful new life.
For twenty years, Hatshepsut had been the dutiful,
silent wife of Tuthmosis I I.
Now, the energy she had inherited
from her father was going to be expressed.
Deir el-Bahri was Hatshepsut's coming out announcement.
Once again, royal workshops began producing
official sculptures of the ruler of Egypt.
But Hatshepsut's portraits were different from
those of her male predecessors.
She was shown as slender with an aquiline nose and full cheeks.
A young woman, fresh and alive.
For the next thousand years, her statues would set the standard.
But wait until you see her obelisks,
one of the great engineering achievements of the ancient world.
Obelisks are one of the greatest achievements of the ancient world.
Hatshepsut was especially proud of the ones
she erected at Karnak Temple.
If you want to see just how big an obelisk is,
there's one lying unfinished in the quarry,
still attached to the granite.
Every Egyptian obelisk was cut from the same granite quarries in Aswan,
about a hundred and fifty miles south of Thebes.
Granite was the only stone strong enough for such a tall monument.
This baby weighs as much as three jumbo jets.