Trade and War: Differences Between the Reigns of Pharaohs Hatshepsut and Thutmose III

The reigns of two of the 18th Egyptian dynasty pharaohs were quite different, as well as the pharaohs themselves. Pharaoh Hatshepsut was a peaceful woman, while pharaoh Thutmose III was a man who liked to conquer. They were related by blood as well as a common family member, Thutmose II. This man was Hatshepsut's half brother and husband, as well as, the father of Thutmose III; Thutmose III had been born by a different woman.

Hatshepsut's reigned began in 1573 B.C., and it was one of Egypt's most prosperous times. Hatshepsut focused on restoring temples that had been destroyed by raiders before her father's reign as pharaoh, constructing public buildings and a magnificent temple to the Egyptian god Re, and expanding trade to other lands and kingdoms. One of the most famous trade expeditions during her reign was to the land of Punt. There they traded for ivory, ebony, exotic animal skins, live African animals, trees with religious significance to plant at Re's new temple, and incense to burn in the temple, as well. Because Hatshepsut disliked war, she built massive fortresses to intimidate Egypt's neighbors. She did keep the borders of the country intact with some military force.

After Hatshepsut mysteriously vanished from Egyptian history, Thutmose III came into long awaited power. He is said to have been Egypt's greatest pharaoh and expanded Egypt's borders to their greatest extent. His reign, unlike Hatshepsut's, was obviously full of violence. He was an excellent warrior and commander, and he led over seventeen military campaigns. During some of his campaigns, Thutmose took a number of princes hostage, and then "reeducated" his hostages in Egyptian ways. After that, the princes were returned home as obedient vassals of Egypt. Like most pharaohs and Hatshepsut did, Thutmose had lavish temples and other public buildings built to please the gods and assure his place in Egyptian heaven.

Hatshepsut is a sensational example of a nurturing ruler, whereas, Thutmose III is an excellent example of a conqueror. Hatshepsut's dislike of war did not hamper Egypt's prosperity. Her reign is said to have been the most prosperous in Egyptian history, because trade had expanded broadly throughout Africa. Thutmose's III military ambitions did not deplete Egypt either, instead it brought Egypt's borders to their greatest extent in history. Although both pharaohs were very different in their likes and dislikes, they did share the ambition of becoming a great pharaoh of Egypt.