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Pope Benedict XIV (originally Prospero Lambertini) was head of the Roman Catholic Church from 1740 to 1758.
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Born in Italy in 1675, Prospero Lorenzo Lambertini became Pope Benedict XIV in 1740. A liberal pontiff, he promoted scientific learning and attempted to curtail the church's list of forbidden books. As leader of the Papal States, he reduced taxation, encouraged agriculture, and supported free trade. A lifelong scholar, he founded several learned societies and laid the groundwork for the present Vatican Museum.
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