Catherine II (born Sophie of Anhalt-Zerbst; 2 May 1729 in Szczecin – 17 November 1796), most commonly known as Catherine the Great, was Empress of All Russia from 1762 until 1796—the country's longest-ruling female leader. She came to power following a coup d'état that overthrew her husband and second cousin, Peter III. Under her reign, Russia grew larger, its culture was revitalised, and it was recognized as one of the great powers worldwide. Copperplate engraving From the Encyclopaedia Londinensis or, Universal dictionary of arts, sciences, and literature; Volume XXII; Edited by Wilkes, Joh
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