The 76-year-old, from Buenos Aires, has chosen to be known as Pope Francis.
Pope Francis - the first Jesuit pope - has spent nearly his entire career at home in Argentina.
The former Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 76, reportedly got the second-most votes after Joseph Ratzinger, the last pope, in the 2005 papal election.
He has long specialised in the kind of pastoral work - overseeing churches and priests - that some say is an essential skill for a pope.
In a lifetime of teaching and leading priests in Latin America, which has the largest share of the world's Catholics, Bergoglio has shown a keen political sensibility as well as a self-effacing humility, according to his official biographer, Sergio Rubin.
His personal style is the antithesis of Vatican splendour.
Bergoglio is also known for modernising an Argentine church that had been among the most conservative in Latin America.
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.
Bergoglio has spent nearly his entire career at home in Argentina, overseeing churches and priests.