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Alexander VI (Pope)

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ca. 1431-1503

Also known as Rodrigo Borgia
Spanish Pope, 1492-1503

Pope Alexander VI was born into the wealthy and corrupt Borgia family of Valencia, Spain, and adopted by his maternal uncle, Alfonso Borgia (later Pope Callistus III). He collected religious offices from his teens and was elected pope in 1492 after bribing other cardinals.

His pontificate was marked by the return of the Papal States to the direct control of the Vatican; a reform of papal finances; lavish patronage of the arts and architecture, including Michaelangelo's Pietŕ; the Bull of Demarcation, which divided the New World between Spain and Portugal; the sending of the first Christian missionaries to America; a crusade against the Muslims; and the execution of Girolamo Savonarola in 1498. He fathered at least four children, including the notorious Cesare and Lucrezia, and shamelessly used his holy office to further advance his family's interests.

References

Microsoft Encarta 98 Encyclopedia, 1993-97
The Catholic Encyclopedia
Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, edited by F.L. Cross. (London: Oxford University Press, 1957)

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