Ancient Egyptian names such as Cleopatra and Hatshepsut are engrained in Egyptian history as being some of the more famous examples of female rulers. Their names are synonymous with Egypt.

But they were certainly not the first.

The further back we go in time, the more difficult it is to determine who played what role and to what degree. History is murky at 3000 BC and is even murkier if you go back further.

So who was the first female pharaoh? If we gather all the evidence that has come down to us we can determine that the first historically confirmed female ruler was a woman called Sobekneferu. She was the last ruler of the Twelfth Dynasty (1806 to 1802 BC). But what about before Sobekneferu?

There is some partial evidence to suggest a woman called Nitocris - of the Sixth Dynasty may have ruled for a short time. But again, nothing is conclusive.

If we go even further back another name crops up - Neithhotep. Now at this point, history is almost impossible to conclude unless it is physically carved into stone.

Neithhotep is understood to have been the wife of Egypt’s first pharaoh of a unified Upper and Lower Egypt - Narmer.

Tiny clues left behind by the ancients hint that she may have ruled independently after her husband's death. This would make her the first confirmed female ruler in the history of the world.

That’s quite a title.

But of course. We cannot know for sure.