Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio has been elected the 266th pope - leader of the 1.2bn Roman Catholic Church.
Francis I was elected on Wednesday on the second day of the conclave, after receiving the required two-thirds majority, or at least 77 votes of the 115 cardinal electors from 48 countries.
Francis's election was announced to the world and before hundreds of thousands of cheering crowd gathered under the rain at St Peter's Square in Rome.
Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the Protodeacon, made the announcement with the Latin words, Habemus papam, meaning "We have a pope".
As a sign of the election of a new pope, the Vatican has also reactivated the Twitter account @Pontifex.
Francis I succeeds Pope Benedict XVI, who resigned on February 28, the first pontiff to do so in 598 years.
Fr. Robert Gahl of Holy Cross University told Al Jazeera that the name is "indicative of something historical".
Gahl also described as "striking" the reaction to the new pope, which he said is "way superior to what occured eight years ago, which may be a surprise to some".
Before appearing in the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica, white smoke, which signaled that a new pope has been elected, rose from chimney of the Sistine Chapel, where the secret voting was held.
Continuous pealing of church bells then followed to confirm the election.
With the election of the new pope, Vatican now faces several key challenges.
Experts said the new pope's response to those will give us a significant indication of what Catholics can expect from his time as the head of the church.
One key priority is reaching out to his flock of 1.2bn Catholics and rebuilding the relationship between the Vatican and churches around the globe."Much was made about whether the new pope would be one who focused on pastoral care - speaking to the faithful around the world or would he be one who tries to reform the Vatican," Jack Valero, director of the Catholic Voices organisation told Al Jazeera. "In reality, he needs to do both.
culled from "Jazeera English