Tsarevna Sophia Alekseyevna - The first female ruler in fact if not in name. Sophia was the oldest surviving child of her father, Alexei I’s, two wives. She made herself autocrat by means of a coup d’état and ruled through her brother and half brother, both minors. By and large she was an effective and able governor of the affairs of state. Her policies were beneficial and wise. Her attempt to do away with her half brother Peter was her undoing. She ended her long life banished to a nunnery.