Pope Clement XI (Latin: Clemens XI), born Giovanni Francesco Albani, was Pope from 23 November 1700 to his death in 1721.
Clement XI was a patron of the arts and of science. He was also a great benefactor of the Vatican Library, his interest in archaeology is credited with saving much of Rome’s antiquity. He authorized expeditions which succeeded in rediscovering various ancient Christian writings, and authorized excavations of the Roman catacombs. He was of Italian and Albanian origin.
After the death of Pope Innocent XII in 1700, a conclave was convoked to elect a successor. Albani was regarded as a fine diplomat known for his skills as a peacemaker and so was unanimously elected pope on 23 November 1700. He agreed to the election after three days of consultation.
Unusually, from the viewpoint of current practice, his election came within three months after his ordination as priest and within two months after he celebrated his first Mass, though he had been a cardinal for ten years previously. Having accepted election after some hesitation, he was ordained a bishop on 30 November 1700 and assumed the pontifical name of "Clement XI". Cardinal protodeacon Benedetto Pamphili crowned him on 8 December 1700 and he took possession of the Basilica of Saint John Lateran on 10 April 1701.
Clement XI died in Rome on 19 March 1721 and was buried in the pavement of St. Peter's Basilica rather than in an ornate tomb like those of his predecessors.