Considered one of the greatest female rulers, Catherine the Great was a German princess who ruled Russia for 34 years. She introduced reforms in government that led to widespread education, advances in medical care, and improvements in the legal system. Catherine was a voracious reader, and she took many ideas from her reading. She was particularly influenced by writers of the Enlightenment that focused on natural law and science. As one of Russia’s longest rulers, she introduced arts and culture to Russia. Today’s Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg is one the greatest art museums in the world. Catherine the Great’s influence led to the development of Russia as a world power in the 19th and 20th centuries.