Boudica, also known as Boadicea and known in Welsh as Buddug
(d. AD 60 or 61)
was queen of the British Iceni tribe who led an uprising against the occupying forces of the Roman Empire.
Boudica's husband Prasutagus, ruler of the Iceni tribe who had ruled as a nominally independent ally of Rome, left his kingdom jointly to his daughters and the Roman Emperor in his will. However, when he died, his will was ignored â€” the kingdom was annexed as if conquered, Boudica was flogged, her daughters were raped, and Roman financiers called in their loans.
In AD 60 or 61, while the Roman governor, Gaius Suetonius Paulinus, was leading a campaign on the island of Anglesey in northern Wales, Boudica led the Iceni people, along with the Trinovantes and others, in revolt. They destroyed Camulodunum (modern Colchester), formerly the capital of the Trinovantes, but now a colonia (a settlement for discharged Roman soldiers) and the site of a temple to the former emperor Claudius, which was built and maintained at local expense. They also routed a Roman legion, the IX Hispana, sent to relieve the settlement.
On hearing the news of the revolt Suetonius hurried to Londinium (London), the twenty-year-old commercial settlement that was the rebels' next target. Concluding that he did not have the numbers to defend the settlement, Suetonius evacuated and abandoned it â€” Londinium was burnt to the ground, as was Verulamium (St Albans). An estimated 70,000â€“80,000 people were killed in the three cities (though the figures are suspect). Suetonius, meanwhile, regrouped his forces in the West Midlands and, despite being heavily outnumbered, defeated the Britons in the Battle of Watling Street. The crisis caused the emperor Nero to consider withdrawing all Roman forces from Britain, but Suetonius' eventual victory over Boudica re-secured Roman control of the province. Boudica then either killed herself so she would not be captured, or fell ill and died â€” the extant sources, Tacitus and Cassius Dio, differ.
Interest in the history of these events was revived during the English Renaissance and led to a resurgence of Boudica's legendary fame during the Victorian era, when Queen Victoria was portrayed as her 'namesake'. Boudica has since remained an important cultural symbol in the United Kingdom. The absence of native British literature during the early part of the first millennium means that Britain owes its knowledge of Boudica's rebellion solely to the writings of the Romans.