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John VII Palaeologus, 14 April - 17 September 1390, Regent for Manuel II 1399 - 1402 A.D.
Joint rule as junior emperor with Andronicus IV (his father) usurper from John V (his grandfather), 12 August 1376 - 1 July 1379. Sole rule as a usurper from John V (his grandfather) and Manuel II (his uncle), 14 April - 17 September 1390 A.D. Regent for Manuel II (his uncle), 1399 - 1402 A.D. John VII was first made junior emperor in 1376 to 1379, after his father, Andronikos IV, usurped the throne from his grandfather John V. The usurpers were deposed and partially blinded, but allowed to govern Selymbria. John VII followed his father's example and in 1390 also deposed his grandfather, but with the help of Venice and his loyal son Manuel II, John V took back his throne after only five months. Over time, relations between John VII and Manuel II improved. After a five year Ottoman siege, in 1399 Manuel II left for the European courts to ask for military aid. John VII was left as regent to defend the capital. When the Mongol Timur defeated the Ottomans at the Battle of Ankara, it forced the Ottomans to lift the siege. Taking advantage of the Ottoman civil war that followed and rival princes seeking Byzantine friendship, John VII secured the return of much of the Turkish-occupied European coast including the city of Thessalonica. On Manuel's return, John dutifully returned power to him and retired to Thessalonica as a semi-independent ruler using the title "Emperor of All Thessaly" for the rest of his life.