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The empire of Trebizond came out of the final years of the Byzantine Empire. In 1204 Tamar, Queen of Georgia, provided troops, and the impetus, for two members of the former Imperial family, the Comneni, to conquer the cities of Trebizond and Sinope, and the surrounding area, Paphlagonia.

Within months the Fourth Crusade had conquered Constantinople and the brothers, Alexios and David, had founded a successor Empire in Trebizond. David took the western part of the Turkish Black Sea coast, and lost it soon afterwards to Nicea. Alexios became first Grand Comnenus and emperor and held Trebizond against foes, even after Sinope and much of Paphlagonia were lost. His empire clung to the south-eastern corner of the Black Sea, and survived by playing off foes one against another, and by the marriage of Comnenus daughters into local power bases, to obtain and maintain defensive alliances.
The Empire was less one of conquest and more one of trade -- it was a Christian outpost on the edge of the Muslim and barbarian worlds, and to and through it came merchants from East and West. It was also the last remainder of the Hellenic civilisation which stretched back to the Classical period.

The Empire lasted until 1461CE -- the last emperor, David, misplayed his hand, and sought to put together an offensive alliance against the Ottomans. The Ottoman Emperor, Mehmed II sent an army to take the city, and on 15 August Trebizon fell.

List of Emperors:

  • Alexius I Comnenus (1204-1222)
  • Andronicus I Gidus Comnenus (1222-1235)
  • John I Axuch Comnenus (1235-1238)
  • Manuel I Comnenus (1238-1263)
  • Andronicus II Comnenus (1263-1266)
  • George Comnenus (1266-1280)
  • John II Comnenus (1280-1297)
  • Alexius II Comnenus (1297-1330)
  • Andronicus III Comnenus (1330-1332)
  • Manuel II Comnenus (1332)
  • Basil Comnenus (1332-1340)
  • Irene Palaeologina (1340-1341)
  • Anna Comnena (1341)
  • Michael Comnenus (1341)
  • Anna Comnena (restored, 1341-1342)
  • John III Comnenus (1342-1344)
  • Michael Comnenus (restored, 1344-1349)
  • Alexius III Comnenus (1349-1390)
  • Manuel III Comnenus (1390-1416)
  • Alexius IV Comnenus (1416-1429)
  • John IV Comnenus (1429-1459)
  • David Comnenus (1459-1461