in 1309-77 the popes predominantly resided in Avignon due to
the constant factional struggles in Rome. After pressure
from Philip IV of France, Pope Klemens V moved the Pope to
Avignon, which became part of the Pope's vassals and in 1348
papal property. The 7 popes of the period were all French
like 111 of the 134 Cardinals.
After Gregorio XI restored the pope's seat in Rome,
Klemens VII allowed the Cardinals in 1348 to declare the
election of Urbano VI the pope for invalid. Klemens was
elected antipope and took the vacant throne in Avignon.
Europe was divided in the papal question. France supported
Klemens, while Britain supported Urbano, and this was the
backdrop of the centennial war between both kingdoms
Throughout the centuries and especially during the
Renaissance in the 14th century, the papacy made the Vatican
one of the world's most important cultural centers.
Particular attention should be paid to St. Peter's and
Sistine Chapel (in the Pope's Palace) decorated with
frescoes by Miguel Angel, Boticelli and other Renaissance
The majority of Vatican territory originated during the
changing popes until 1797, when Napoleon Bonaparte's French
troops conquered the area and created the Roman Republic.
In 1801, Pius VII regained parts of his power, and after
Napoleon's fall, most of the Vatican's territories were
again assigned to it by the Vienna Congress in 1815.
In 1869 the first Vatican Council was conducted, in which
the Pope's infallibility was established as dogma. The
Vatican's existence ceased in 1870, when Italy's first king,
Víctor Manuel de Saboya, formalized the military occupation
of the area which Giuseppe Garibaldi had initiated, and
proclaimed Rome the capital of the entire Italian empire.
The Guarantee Act of 1871 established that the pope's person
was motionless and at the same time assigned him to the
Vatican. However, the Roman popes did not recognize this
situation until February 11, 1929, when the Holy See signed
the Treaty of Benito Mussolini, setting out the boundaries
and privileges of the current state.