The New Student's Reference Work/Pius VI
Pius VI, originally named Giovanni Angelo Braschi, was born at Cesena, Italy, Dec. 27, 1717, and on the death of Clement XIII in 1775 he was chosen to the pontificate. His administration was enlightened and judicious, and to him Rome owed many substantial improvements. Soon after his accession, however, he was involved in serious conflict with Emperor Joseph of Austria and with Leopold of Tuscany, by whom he was deprived of a considerable portion of his supremacy. Soon afterwards came the French Revolution and the confiscation of all church-property in France. In 1797 peace was secured by the treaty of Tolentino; but new causes of contention soon arose, and in 1798 the French marched upon Rome and took possession of the castle of St. Angelo. Pius was called upon to renounce his temporal sovereignty, and on his refusal to do so was imprisoned and carried to Florence. On the threatened advance of the Austro-Russian army in the following year he was transferred to Grenoble and thence to Valence on the Rhône, where he died, Aug. 29, 1799.