Pope Alexander VII was born Fabio Chigi into
the illustrious and powerful Chigi family at Sienna on February 13,
1599. Pope Alexander VII became cardinal in 1652, and pope on
April 18, 1655.
Pope Alexander VII was truly a humble man and
a man of ability who possessed powerful religious beliefs.
When the plague hit Rome in 1656, Pope Alexander
VII left the safety of Castel Gandolfo, the pope’s summer
residence, where he loved to listen to music and poetry readings, to
take personal charge of his people in Rome. He calmed them with frequent
public appearances and adopted sensible sanitary measures to stop the
spread of disease.
Pope Alexander VII prevailed upon Venice to
release the Jesuits who had been banished in 1606 because of their
loyalty to Pope Paul V over Venetian civil authority.
In 1662 Duc de Créqui was named French ambassador to
Rome, and after his troops got into a local scuffle, Corsican papal
soldiers attacked France's Roman embassy. As relations with King
Louis XIV of France were strained because Pope Alexander VII
resisted unjust demands from King Louis XIV, in retaliation, King Louis
XIV took advantage of the Corsican embassy attack by annexing Avignon to
France and preparing to march on Rome. Left with no other option,
Pope Alexander VII was forced to concede and reluctantly signed the
humiliating Treaty of Pisa in 1664.