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Pope Gregory XIV

Niccolo Sfondrato (Sfondrati) (February 11, 1535 - October 16, 1591) was Pope Gregory XIV from December 5, 1590 - October 16, 1591.

He was born a native of Cremona and succeeded Urban VII on December 5, 1590. As a monk he had been eminent for the decency and sobriety of his life; but his brief pontificate was marked by no important occurrence, except that, instigated by the king of Spain and the duke of Mayenne, he excommunicated Henry IV of France, declaring him, as a heretic and persecutor, to be deprived of his dominions, and also levied an army for the invasion of France. The history of that country records how this proceeding was regarded alike by clergy, parliament and people. This was seen as an abandonment of the policy of his predecessors in trying to maintain a balance between Spain and France, coming down solidly on the side of Spanish interests - in part because Gregory XIV was elected due to the influence of Spanish cardinals.

The biographers mention as a curious personal trait of Gregory XIV a nervous tendency to laughter which occasionally became irresistible, and which manifested itself even at his coronation. He was succeeded by Innocent IX after he died due to a large gallstone - reportedly 70 grams.

From the 9th edition (1880) of an unnamed encyclopedia.

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Preceded by:
Pope Urban VII
List of popesSucceeded by:
Pope Innocent IX