When the first Europeans arrived in America, they encountered several female rulers.
One was the cacica (chief) of Cutifachiqui, in what is now Georgia.
Around 1540 she greeted the Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto and gave him pearls and other gifts. De Soto then turned on her, took her captive, and used her as a guide as he marched north.
But the cacica was clever and escaped. after two weeks. She took with her some of the most valuable pearls.