The new leader of the Roman Catholic church, Pope Francis, greeted crowds at the Vatican's Saint Peter's Square after being elected late Wednesday.
The pope called for "brotherhood" in the Church and asked believers to pray for him and his predecessor Pope Emeritus Benedict, who retired last month.
Argentina's Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected on the second day of the closed-door conclave of 115 cardinals.
Noting that he is the first Latin American to be chosen as head of the Church, Pope Francis said that fellow cardinals went to the "other end of the earth" to find a new Bishop of Rome.
U.S. President Barack Obama extended warm wishes to the new pope, adding that the choice of a Latin American "speaks to the strength and vitality" of the Americas.
Most of the world's Catholics live in Latin America with Brazil and Mexico having the largest Catholic populations.
News reports from Rome say that in the 2005 papal conclave, then-Cardinal Bergoglio received the most votes after then-Cardinal Ratzinger who became Pope Benedict.
He has been noted for humility, doctrinal conservatism and committment to social issues.
The pope had to receive two-thirds of the vote, or 77 ballots, to be chosen to lead the Church.