7 Of History’s Biggest Badasses

Published May 10, 2014
Updated October 5, 2020

Fending off Napoleonic forces alone, self surgery in Antarctica -- history's biggest badasses remind us that for every coward, there's just as much bravery.

History's Biggest Badasses

Source: Wikimedia

History’s Biggest Badasses: Agustina Of Aragon

Many consider Agustina de Aragón the Spanish “Joan of Arc” for her defense of Spain during the Spanish War of Independence in the 1800s. When the war first broke out in 1808, she would take apples to feed the gunners.

But after the Spanish suffered heavy losses as the war dragged on, Agustina directly involved herself in the war when she ran to the cannons and began to defend Zaragoza—one of the last Spanish towns that hadn’t fallen to Napoleon—on her own.

Agustina Of Aragon

Source: Blogspot

Other Spaniards came to help, and after a lengthy and bloody struggle, the French retreated. They eventually returned a few weeks later and captured the town and Agustina, but she escaped and began working as a low-level rebel leader for the guerrilleros, assisting in organizing raids and attacks against the French.

On June 21, 1813, she worked with the army as a front line battery commander at the Battle of Vitoria, the battle that eventually drove the French out of Spain for good.

Leonid Ivanovich Rogozov

Leonid Rogozov was a Soviet doctor who took part in the sixth Soviet Antarctic Expedition from 1960 to 1961. Unfortunately, he also happened to develop peritonitis on said expedition – a life-threatening condition where removal of the appendix is necessary for survival.

As the only doctor stationed at the Antarctica base at the time, Rogozov was forced to perform an appendectomy on himself. He did so with the aid of two non-medically trained researchers passing him tools including a mirror, Novocaine and a scalpel. The removal of his appendix lasted two-hours, and he survived.

Leonid Rogozov

Source: Bushcraft

All That's Interesting
Established in 2010, All That's Interesting brings together a dedicated staff of digital publishing veterans and subject-level experts in history, true crime, and science. From the lesser-known byways of human history to the uncharted corners of the world, we seek out stories that bring our past, present, and future to life. Privately-owned since its founding, All That's Interesting maintains a commitment to unbiased reporting while taking great care in fact-checking and research to ensure that we meet the highest standards of accuracy.
Savannah Cox
Savannah Cox holds a Master's in International Affairs from The New School as well as a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, and now serves as an Assistant Professor at the University of Sheffield. Her work as a writer has also appeared on DNAinfo.