Listed by the year they took office:
1404: Innocent VII was excommunicated by the antipope of Avignon, who was backed by Scotland, much of Spain and France and parts of Italy. The split between pope and antipope, called the Great Western Schism, began in 1377.
1406: Gregory XII was one of three Catholic popes. In addition to the antipope of Avignon there was also Antipope John XXIII, accused of piracy, rape, incest and sodomy. The Council of Constance (1414-1418) got John and Gregory to step down and undermined the support for Avignon, ending the schism in:
1417: Martin V: with the schism over, the pope could now turn his attention to – war. Martin got Queen Joanna II of Naples to withdraw her troops from Rome, he won the Battle of L’Aquila and crushed an uprising in Bologna. He recovered the papal treasury, enriching his family.
1431: Eugene IV fled Rome in disguise during an uprising. He was not able to return for nine years. With Constantinople about to fall to the Turks, he was able to get the Orthodox Church to agree to rejoin the Catholic Church. The deal fell apart when he called a crusade and it failed. In “Illius qui” (1442), he called the Portuguese raids on Africa a “crusade”, allowing Portugal to bring back Africans as slaves.
1447: Nicholas V gave us what would become the Vatican Library and the Doctrine of Discovery – the right of Christians to take any non-Christian lands they “discover”. In “Dum diversas” (1452), to get Portugal interested in a crusade against the Turks, he allowed the Portuguese to put non-Christian Africans into “perpetual servitude”.
1455: Callistus III, the first Spanish pope and a Borgia, became pope two years after the fall of Constantinople. He called a crusade to take it back, but with little success.
1458: Pius II also called a crusade against the Turks. He led it in person – but died just as the ships for the crusade arrived. Illegitimate children: 18.
1464: Paul II, the playboy nephew of Eugene IV, also called a crusade with little success. He promised to reform the Church but did not.
1471: Sixtus IV gave us the Sistine Chapel (named after him), Torquemada and the Spanish Inquisition and Renaissance Rome. His wars and his family emptied the papal treasury, leading to the sale of indulgences, leading to the Protestant Reformation in 1517. He overturned what reforms were made by the Council of Constance. Oh, and he took part in a murder plot against the Medicis of Florence.
1484: Innocent VIII created and sold offices in the Church to pay off the debts of Sixtus. Called yet another unsuccessful crusade. Illegitimate children: 3.
1492: Alexander VI was the rich and corrupt nephew of Callistus III and the father of Cesare Borgia. He was the second (and so far last) Spanish pope. He had mistresses and illegitimate children both before and after he bought his popedom. He gave half the non-Christian world to his home country of Spain in the Treaty of Tordesillas (1494). Portugal got the other half. He was so Machiavellian that he appears as an evil pope in Machiavelli.
– Abagond, 2015.
- Pope Francis – the current pope
- Portuguese Empire
- slaveries compared