Catherine Jagellon of Poland

Infobox Swedish Royalty|monarch
name =Catherine Jagellon
title =Queen consort of Sweden

caption =
reign = 1568 - 1583
coronation =
spouse = John III
issue = Sigimund
Anna of Finland
royal house = House of Vasa
father = Sigismund I of Poland
mother = Bona Sforza
date of birth = 1 November 1526
place of birth = Kraków, Poland
date of death = Death date and age|1583|9|16|1526|11|1|df=yes
place of death = Stockholm, Sweden
date of burial =
place of burial = Uppsala Cathedral, Sweden


Catherine Jagiellon ( _pl. Katarzyna Jagiellonka; _fi. Katariina Jagellonica; _sv. Katarina Jagellonica av Polen; November 1 1526 - September 16 1583) was Duchess of Finland 1562-83, Queen Consort of Sweden 1569-83 and Grand Duchess of Finland 1581-83 and heir to her mother's claim to the title of King of Jerusalem.

She was born the youngest daughter of Poland's King Zygmunt I the Old and Bona Sforza.Catherine became the wife of Sweden's King John III and mother to the future King of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Sigismund III Vasa. Tsar Ivan IV of Russia, was among her suitors.

Duchess of Finland

On October 4, 1562, Catherine was married in the Lower Castle of Vilnius, Lithuania, to Duke John of Finland, second son of Sweden's late King Gustav I and brother of the then reigning Eric XIV. John had not received his brother's permission for the marriage and there were already tensions between them, since John had an independent foreign policy. The newly-weds set up house in Turku Castle in Turku, Finland. Duke John's dealings in Livonia caused Sweden's King Eric XIV, ultimately to declare war on his brother. Eric sent 10,000 men to besiege the castle. On August 12, 1563, the castle capitulated; Catherine and her husband were taken to Sweden, and imprisoned in Gripsholm Castle.Her unsuccessful suitor, Tsar Ivan, was in negotiations with Eric over Catherine, asking for her to be separated from John and sent to marry him in Russia. This caused alarm with Catherine and her relations. In popular opinion, this discussion was one of the reasons for the Swedish people's growing dissatisfaction with the increasingly insane Eric. During the incarceration, Catherine gave birth first to her eldest daughter Isabella of Finland in 1564 (died 1566), then to her son Sigismund in 1566, and finally her youngest child Anna of Finland on May 17, 1568.

Catholic Queen of Sweden

Catherine and John were released in 1568. In 1569, she was crowned Queen of Sweden, as her husband became John III of Sweden, upon deposing Eric. Queen Catherine had political influence and did much to influence her husband in for the cause of Catholicism and the counter-reformation, just as her successor as queen, her husband's later wife Gunilla Bielke, would influence him in Protestantism. Her husband launched a new church-order which was called "The Red Book". This was a form of mix between Protestantism and Catholicism, which reintroduced numerous Catholic habits, especially within the ceremonial. He even used Latin, which aroused a lot of opposition. She had her own Catholic staff, among them several Catholic monks and priests, which shocked the Protestants. In 1572, she contacted Cardinal Hosius about re-Catholicising Sweden. In 1575, the remaining Catholic convents i were allowed to receive new novices, which had been banned by the refomration. In 1576, she sent her son to be educated by the Jesuits in Braunsberg. From Rome came the Norwegian Jesuit, Laurentius Nicolai, whom she housed in the old Franciscan monastery which had been closed during the reformation. She allowed him to open a Catholic school there. The Protestants called him "Kloster-Lasse" ("Convent-Lasse") and the school was stormed and shut down in 1583. A new shrine was made for the relics of the King (Saint Eric) in the cathedral in Uppsala. Queen Catherine also strongly supported the old Vadstena Abbey where the last nuns still lived, and often visited it. The first version of the later famous castle Drottningholm Palace was founded for and named after her.

Catherine raised her son Sigismund as an ardent Catholic. After 1587, he would rule the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth for forty-five years as Zygmunt III Vasa. After he ascended to the Swedish throne 1592, his overt Catholicism estranged his Swedish subjects, and led to his deposition in 1599. This was followed by prolonged wars between Poland and Sweden. In her final years, Catherine suffered terribly from gout. She died in Stockholm on 16 September 1583. She is buried in the Uppsala Cathedral.


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1= Catherine Jagiellon
2= Sigismund I the Old
3= Bona Sforza
4= Casimir IV Jagiellon
5= Elisabeth of Austria
6= Gian Galeazzo Sforza
7= Isabella of Naples
8= Jogaila
9= Sophia of Halshany
10=Albert II of Germany
11=Elisabeth II of Bohemia
12=Galeazzo Maria Sforza
13=Bona of Savoy
14=Alfonso II of Naples
15=Ippolita Maria Sforza

Maternal ancestors


* Herman Lindqvist, "Historien om Sverige; Gustav Vasa och hans söner och döttrar."
* Åke Ohlmarks, "Alla Sveriges drottningar".
* Signum svenska kulturhistoria, "Renässansen"

ee also

* List of Swedish monarchs
* History of Poland (1385-1569)


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