The election was over quickly, coming on the second day of the conclave. The Associated Press reported that the election was sealed on the fifth ballot.
The newly elected 266th pope was moved into the Room of Tears where he was outfitted with his new papal vestments before proceeding to a scarlet-draped balcony to greet the world's 1.2 billion Catholics watching around the world.
The Vatican band and Swiss Guard marched into St. Peter's Square ahead of the new leader who they have been sworn to protect for centuries.
Pope Francis will celebrate his installation mass on Tuesday at St. Peter's Basilica.
The 115 cardinal electors began the conclave on Tuesday following the resignation of Benedict XVI, the first pontiff to resign in 600 years. At least a two-thirds majority -- 77 votes -- was required to elect the next pope.
The new pope is then expected to step onto the balcony to greet the crowd gathered below in St. Peter's Square.