Queens, peace and war

The Times (not the New York one, the other one) reports on a study about queens and conquest:

In 1588 Queen Elizabeth I promised that if the Spanish Armada reached these shores she would take up arms herself. “I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman,” she told her troops, “but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a King of England too.”

Now a study has revealed that the central premise of her pep talk was flawed. Female monarchs have historically been far more aggressive than their male equivalents.

The research, which analysed 400 years of European history, found that queens were more likely to start wars than kings. They seem to have been better at fighting them too.

Anyone familiar with the history of Genghis Khan’s daughters-in-law, and the roles they played in consolidating and expanding the Mongol empire, will not be that surprised by the finding; but it’s still interesting to see such a study.

Here’s the abstract of the paper by Oeindrila Dube and S.P. Harish:

Do states experience more peace under female leadership? We examine this question in the context of Europe over the 15th-20th centuries. We instrument queenly rule using gender of the first born and whether the previous monarchs had a sister. We find that polities led by queens participated in war more than polities led by kings. Moreover, aggressive participation varied by marital status. Single queens were attacked more than single kings. However, married queens attacked more than married kings. These results suggest that asymmetries in the division of labor positioned married queens to be able to pursue more aggressive war policies.

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