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Catherine and Eric Lejonbalk
Queen of Gothenland
Reign 8th March, 1413 - 14th March, 1416
Predecessor Benedict
Successor Eric V (disputed) & Christopher
Born 9th July, 1389
Died 14th March, 1416
Lenhovda, Gothenland
Spouse Eric Lejonbalk
Issue Christopher
Full name
Katrin Jansdotter
House Piast
Father John IV
Mother Judith of Radowašojce

Catherine was briefly queen regnant of Gothenland at the start of the 15th century. The last surviving child of John IV she succeeded to the throne following the death of her elder brother Benedict in 1413.

She must have been aware of the disaffection which had grown during Benedict's reign; simply put the 'Herring' faction, of which her husband was a prominent member, wished to roll back some of the edicts of Eric IV's reign, namely the lessening of the rights of lesser nobles and towns.

At first the court seemed to settle down and rather than aping her immediate predecessor, Benedict, she looked to the more consensual government of Eric IV. This dampened any nascent criticism and lessened some of the antagonism in court between the 'Herring' and 'Hook' factions. It is unclear how much Catherine was truly involved in the machinations of court and most of the sources for her own actions concetrate on relations with the church and receiving dignatories from (amongst others) Denmark, Anglia and Novgorod.

However the fact of the matter was that Eric Lejonbalk was soon actively building a powerbase of similarly minded nobles and merchant families. Their power was finally manifested in a number of edicts in the Spring of 1415 demanding the surrender of land and towns from several of the major noble families which would then be granted to lesser families whilst towns be given proper charters (though noticably the crown did not have to give away much of its recent gains). Inevitably the families targeted by the edicts refused, raising militias to protect their estates, and civil war began. Rejecting Catherine's rule they instead promoted the legitimacy of her cousin Magdalena, married to one of their number, Olaf Tott, Earl of Skaraborg. The rebels soon seized much of the west and north of the country whilst their proxies had Pomerelia in their grasp by the end of the year (Samland meanwhile remained more or less loyal to Catherine).

Over the winter of 1415-16 Eric Lejonbalk and his allies drew up plans for the next year's campaign but events overtook them. An early thaw allowed the nobles to advance on Jönköping where Catherine had spent the winter. Even though she was heavily pregnant her advisors suggested she withdraw, but she fell ill as poor weather set in whilst she travelled toward Kalmar. Eric Lejonbalk was victorious over the rebel nobles only hours before he received news of the Queen's death. Sending his brother to secure Jönköping, seizing the throne and treasury on behalf of his son Christopher, Eric proceded to engage the rebel armies in a series of victories which left the Herring party in firm control of Gothenland. Most of the Hook families either paid homage or fled to Pomerelia, still out of the crown's grasp.

Officially Catherine would be succeeded by her only child, Christopher, however her widowed husband Eric Lejonbalk would grasp most of the crown's power until he was murdered in 1420.

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