Prussia, which was once the main state of the German Empire, is now referred to as the Republic of Germany, with its last-known capital as Berlin and having originated in Brandenburg. It became a substantial European power in 1740 under the leadership of Frederick II of Prussia, who ruled until 1786.
During the 19th century, Otto Von Bismarck maintained a policy of trying to unite the German principalities into a lesser state that would leave out Austria. The idea was that such unification would weaken and isolate the nations of France, Austria and Hungary. As the 19th century was nearing its end, the Prussian empire finally began establishing democratic institutions.