GREGORY XIV. (Niccolo Sfondrato), pope from 1590 to 1591, a native of Cremona, succeeded Urban VII., 5th December 1590. As a monk he had been eminent for the decency and sobriety of his life ; but his brief pontificate was marked by no important occurrence, except that, instigated by the king of Spain and the duke of Mayenne, he excommunicated Henry IV. of France, declaring him, as a heretic and persecutor, to be deprived of his dominions, and also levied an army for the invasion of France, The history of that country records how this proceeding was regarded alike by clergy, parliament, and people. The biographers mention as a curious personal trait of Gregory XIV. a nervous tendency to laughter which occasionally became irresistible, and which manifested itself even at his coronation. He was succeeded by Innocent IX.