|King of Gothenland|
|Reign||9th October, 1353 - 14th September, 1366|
|Born|| 1st January, 1340 |
|Died|| 14th September, 1366 |
|Spouse||Matilda of Holland|
|Issue|| John IV|
|Mother||Anna of Oswiecim|
Eric III, the Liberator, was briefly King of Gothenland in the mid-14th century. He succeeded his father Premyslas in 1353 at the age of 13.
The Black Death had hit the country hard and Premyslas' initial reaction to fix wages and ensure the incomes of landowners had backfired spectacularly. Eric veered the other way, and on his majority he outlawed the practise of 'thralldom' in all Gothenlandic provinces, effectively ending slavery in Gothenland. While this angered many of his lords it did secure a considerable cache of good-will amongst the peasantry. Much of the rest of his reign was dedicated to improving Gothenland's treasury.
Whilst Poland loomed large as ever in Gothenland's ambitions Eric also looked elsewhere to shore up the country's security. To this end he arranged an alliance with the Wittelsbach family, newly-installed as Counts of Holland, securing Count William V's sister, Matilda, as his bride to cement the pact. A steady trade between Visby, Kalmar and Gdansk in the Baltic, and Delft and the fast-rising Amsterdam on the Dutch side, was soon established. Empty land resulting from the Black Death was now used to farm cattle; beef and butter finding a ready market in the booming towns of Holland.
With this Eric had to a large degree outmaneuvered the Teutonic Knights. Their income from crusading had been seriously proscribed by the general cessation of hostilities between them and Poland, the Black Death, and the impounding of significant estates in Germany proper. Whilst the Knights had called for settlers from Germany to replace the losses from the Black Death in their own lands, revolt in Pomerania prevented many from reaching Prussia and Eric managed to convince many en route families to settle in Gothenland instead. Meanwhile continued friendship between Eric and Casimir III of Poland (culminating perhaps in Eric naming his third child Casimir) gave Eric permission to campaign against the rebellious Pomeranians, of whom Casimir occasionally claimed overlordship. The two kings would meet twice, in 1363 and 1364, Casimir receiving homage for the lands Eric held as lord in Poland, Casimir conferring tax-levying titles for several other Pomerelian towns on Eric. Like Casimir, Eric welcomed Jewish families fleeing pogroms (they had been blamed for plague in many areas) and though Gothenland received little immediate Jewish settlement, it meant that the crown's protection helped absorb communities as Gothenland expanded its territory in Prussia and Poland in the future.
Only 26 years old at his death in 1366 he was succeeded by his young son John.