The Russian Empire was a Russian state existed from 1721 to 1917. It occupied the modern day countries of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Russia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan, as well as the U.S. state of Alaska. It was considered one of the great powers of Europe, and is the third largest empire of all time, after the British Empire and the Mongol Empire.
The Russian Empire succeeded the Tsardom of Russia in 1721. After fighting and defeating France in the Napoleonic Wars, it began to expand into Central Asia and North America. In 1861, serfdom, related to slavery and feudalism, was abolished. By World War I, it was one of the few absolute monarchies left in Europe. The tsarist government was overthrown by communist revolutionaries in the Russian Civil War. It was then dissolved and the Soviet Union was formed.
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