2007 Archive Edition - See the Archive Notice on the Project Homepage for more information.
The nephew of Pope Callixtus III and the father of Lucrezia and Cesare Borgia, Rodrigo de Borja y Borja was born in 1431 in Valencia. His uncle sent him to Bologna to study and in 1456 made him a cardinal deacon. Rodrigo was the recipient of many other benefices. An able administrator, he was vice-chancellor under five popes. He had several mistresses and children, but his most important ties were to Vannozza Catenei and their children: Juan, Cesare, Lucrezia, and Goffredo. In 1484, after the death of Sixtus IV, Rodrigo attempted to buy the papacy and failed. He was elected pope in 1492 and took the name Alexander VI. He made Cesare a bishop and married his siblings to princesses and princes. In 1493, he drew the Line of Demarcation to settle a dispute between Spain and Portugal over territories in the New World. In 1499-1500, he encouraged a crusade against the Moors in Spain, and he celebrated a year of jubilee in 1500. Alexander supported the rechristianization of Greenland, and he was a patron of Michelangelo. After Alexander died in 1503, many believed he died of poison intended for a cardinal. Modern scholars, however, contend he died of malaria.
Karen Rae Keck
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