Some legends led armies, while others hunted dangerous animals, while others dominated empires as pirates.
If you’d like to know a bit more about some of the most iconic hunters, explorers and soldiers of the past, here are five of the most badass people who ever lived.
1. Madame Ching, or Ching Shih, was a pirate who ruled the China Sea in the 19th century. Madame Ching started off as a prostitue, but later married a pirate. Madame Ching is also one of the very few pirates to ever retire from piracy.
The pirate Madame Ching married eventually died in a tsunami and she took over his role. She ravaged the Chinese seas and won almost all of her battles. She fought against countless empires including the Portuguese, British, and Qing dynasty.
Madame Ching’s fleet defeated many armies and empires. She even captured a famous officer named Richard Glasspoole along with seven sailors in 1809
She was granted amnesty in 1810, and died in 1844 at 69 years old. She is considered to be the most iconic female pirate in all of history and is considered one of the world’s most successful and powerful pirates of all time.
2. Léo Major is an iconic French Canadian soldier who battled in World War Two. He is the only Canadian in history to receive the Distinguished Conduct Medal two times in two different wars. The distinguished solider even lost an eye to a grenade during his years in the army and was often compared to a pirate.
In 1945, Major captured the the city of Zwolle from the German army and received his first medal. During a reconnaissance mission with Corporal Willie Arsenault, the two soldiers set out to capture the city. Willie was killed, but Major continued his mission. He ravaged through the city while firing his machine guns and even throwing grenades.
The German army thought the Canadian army was attacking the city, causing the Germans to retreat. Major captured over 100 soldiers that day, and killed even more. He earned his first Distinguished Conduct Medal for this astonishing victory.
Major earned his second Distinguished Conduct Medal during the Korean War for fighting in the First Battle of Maryang San, where he captured and held a key hill.
3. Jack Churchill, also known as “Mad Jack” Churchill, was a British army officer who was famous for fighting in World War Two with a Scottish broadsword, a longbow, arrows, and bagpipes.
Churchill is famous for his well known motto: “Any officer who goes into action without his sword is improperly dressed.” In 1943, Churchill led his soldiers out of Sicily with his sword dangling from his belt and his longbow and arrow wrapped around his neck, while he held his bagpipes in his arm.
He captured the town and took 42 prisoners, and even returned back to the town to take back his sword, which he had lost during the battle.
When World War Two ended in 1945, Churchill is said to have been extremely disappointed, and is often quoted as saying: “If it wasn’t for those Yanks, we could have kept the war going another 10 years.”
4. Jim Corbett was a famous hunter who captured countless tigers and leopards in India during the years of 1907 to 1938.
He is said to have tracked and killed 19 man-eating tigers and 14 leopards throughout his hunting career.
Corbett was also a colonel of the British Indian army. He was often called upon to kill tigers and leopards that preyed on and killed people.
Corbett also wrote several books about his hunting experiences. In his later life, he became a photographer and conservationist. He became a spokesman for the protection of India’s wildlife and even assisted in the development of a national reserve for the endangered Bengal tiger.
5. Hugh Glass was a famous American fur trapper, explorer, and hunter and was even the inspiration for the fictionalized account of his travels in 2015’s Academy Award winning movie The Revenant.
In 1823, Glass was mauled and attacked by a grizzly bear. Sure that he was dead, he was abandoned by his companions.
Hugh Glass survived the attack and crawled over 200 miles back to safety in six weeks with no food and no weapons.
It is said that he survived simply by eating the roots of trees and plants as well as berries, while others say that he killed and ate rattlesnakes.