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John VIII Palaeologus, 19 January 1421 - 31 October 1448 A.D.
Joint rule as junior emperor with Manuel II (his father), 19 January 1421 - 1423 A.D. Sole rule 1423 - 31 October 1448 A.D.
John VIII was the second to last Byzantine emperor. By the time he ruled, the Sultanate of Muhammed II extended to the city walls and completely surrounded Constantinople. John attempted to gain the aid of the west, proclaiming a union with the church of Rome, but the people of Constantinople refused to accept the union and no aid was received. The city was already doomed when John died in 1448. He was succeeded by his younger brother Constantine Palaeologus, who died valiantly but hopelessly on the city walls on 29 May 1453. Muhammed the Conqueror took the city and the Byzantine and Roman Empires were no more.