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17 July in Russian history

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This day in Russian history and the History of the world

July 17, 1762: Catherine II became the tsar of Russia upon the murder of Peter III of Russia. Catherine's rule re-vitalized Russia, which grew ever stronger and became recognized as one of the great powers of Europe.

During her reign Catherine extended the borders of the Russian Empire southward and westward to absorb New Russia, Crimea, Right-Bank Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, and Courtland at the expense, mainly, of two powers - the Ottoman Empire and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

All told, she added some 200,000 miles (518,000 km) to Russian territory.

Catherine's patronage furthered the evolution of the arts in Russia more than that of any Russian sovereign before or after her.

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