Argentine Jorge Bergoglio has been elected pope, the first ever from the Americas and the first from outside Europe in more than a millennium. He chose the name Pope Francis.

Newly elected Pope Francis I appears on the central balcony of St Peter's Basilica (Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

After announcing "Habemus Papum" — "We have a pope!" — a cardinal standing on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica on Wednesday revealed the identity of the new pontiff, using his Latin name. Bergoglio had reportedly finished second in the 2005 conclave that produced Benedict XVI — who last month became the first pope to resign in 600 years.

Pope Francis appeared on the balcony over St. Peter's Square to wild cheers from the crowd below.

The 76-year-old archbishop of Buenos Aires has spent nearly his entire career at home in Argentina, overseeing churches and shoe-leather priests.

White Smoke On The 4th Vote

 

People react in St Peter's Square (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

In the second day of the conclave, thick white  smoke billowed from the chimney of the Sistine Chapel, prompting cheers from the thousands of people gathered in St. Peter's Square just after 2 p.m. Eastern time.

A winner must receive 77 votes, or two-thirds of the 115, to be named pope.

The conclave played out against the backdrop of the first papal resignation in 600 years and revelations of mismanagement, petty bickering, infighting and corruption in the Holy See bureaucracy. Those revelations, exposed by the leaks of papal documents last year, had divided the College of Cardinals into camps seeking a radical reform of the Holy See's governance and those defending the status quo.