Katarina was the daughter of Duke Balša Hercegović and the granddaughter of Duke Hrvoje Vukčić Hrvatinić. There is no information available regarding Katarina’s birth year. Her father Balša is mentioned in historical sources for the first time in 1398, when during the Hungarian-Bosnian war he captured the county of Dubica from King Sigismund, so it is assumed that she was born sometime in this period, so the very end of the 14th or possibly the beginning of the 15th century. We do not know the name of Katarina’s mother, but only that she had a sister Doroteja, who was married to Šimun Kladuški and then to Ivan Brezovički. It is also impossible to provide any information about her childhood or early youth. Her grandfather Hrvoje died in 1416, while it is usually assumed that her father Balša died in the same year as Hrvoje.
The letter from Ragusa dated March 1, 1423 indicates that Katarina was already an adult and married to the Bosnian nobleman Tvrtko Borovinić. Tvrtko Borovinić was one of the most prominent feudal lords in Bosnia during the first half of the 15th century, and in his enviable career he held the titles of court prince, prince of Bosnia and Grand Duke of Bosnia. There are no agreed opinions about the area from which the noble family Borovinić originated, and of which Tvrtko was the most prominent member. According to some, the area is eastern Bosnia, which also represents the dominant opinion, while others would still place it in Visoki. Obviously, for one Borovinić marrying the granddaughter of Duke Hrvoje was certainly an attractive opportunity, but at the same time it indicated the weakening of Hrvatinići compared to ten years earlier. Namely, Tvrtko Borovinić was not included in the ranks of the most prominent Bosnian nobles who were called “Rusaška gospoda” (the Rusag aristocracy) and if it had not been for the sudden decline of Hrvatinićs’ power, this marriage probably would not have been arranged.
The exact time of the marriage between Katarina and Tvrtko Borovinić is difficult to specify. In the aforementioned Ragusan letter dated March 1, 1423, addressed to Katarina and King Tvrtko II, it is stated that she lived in her husband’s residence. The wedding certainly took place a few years earlier, and some assumptions place this event all the way back to 1417. Ragusan sources follow Katarina based on her claims to the authorities there, which she undertook together with her sister Doroteja. In this case, we are discussing the property of Duke Hrvoje in Ragusa, which primarily refers to the house that was once the property of his wife, Jelena Nelipčić, until her marriage to King Ostoja. After Ostoja’s death, his successor Stjepan Ostojić tried unsuccessfully to take over this house. King Tvrtko II Tvrtković, in September 1421, attempted to take the tribute from the house for himself, but to no avail. The problem of Hrvoje’s inheritance was finally resolved when requests for the realization of inheritance rights were submitted in 1423 by his granddaughters Katarina and Doroteja. Katarina was greatly helped by the advocacy of King Tvrtko II, who was actively involved in resolving this dispute. As a result, they sent a letter from Ragusa on March 1, 1423, in which they informed Katarina and the Bosnian king that they had decided to give each of Hrvoje’s grandchildren half of the house and land. Immediately after that, on March 4, 1423, the Ragusan authorities sent a letter to the Hungarian king Sigismund regarding the claims of Katarina’s sister Doroteja.
There is no record of when Katarina passed away, but it is certain she did not outlive her husband Tvrtko, who was last mentioned in historical sources on October 28, 1436. As far as is known, Katarina had two children in her marriage with Duke Tvrtko, a son Ivan whom we find in written sources only once, in 1447 when he claimed inheritance rights from the Ragusans, and a daughter Milica who was first married to Duke Petar Pavlović Jurjević, a prominent member of the Radivojević noble family, and then to the Hum nobleman Stjepan Šimraković. In 1499, Sinan Pasha Borovinić, who was most likely the grandson of Prince Tvrtko Borovinić and Katarina, is mentioned as the head of the Bosnian Sanjak in 1499. In his activity on the Ottoman political scene, Sinan Pasha made his way to the position of Beylerbey of Rumelia.
Katarina, daughter of Balša Hercegović
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