Seán Hall takes a look at some famous people that were born on New Year’s Day
New Year’s Day, a holiday remembered for one purpose: it happens to be the first day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. It is largely uneventful for the majority of us, as the prior holidays of Christmas and New Year’s Eve tend to exhaust us, and the 1st of January is largely a relaxing affair. For others, it’s probably the most important day of the year in an individual’s life: their birthday. Several noted people from history, pop culture and current affairs have their birthday on January 1st including FBI founder J. Edgar Hoover, American revolutionary Paul Revere and Pope Alexander VI, known to history as the infamous Rodrigo Borgia, among others.
On New Year’s Day, 1431, a middle class family by the name of Borgia, in the north of Spain, had a son called Rodrigo who followed in the religious footsteps of his uncle, Alfonso, who would become Pope Callixtus III.
Callixtus later invested Rodrigo as Archbishop of Valencia, which allowed him to move permanently to Rome where he began a relationship with innkeeper, Vannozza dei Cattanei, which resulted in four children: Cesare, Giovanni, Jioffre and Lucretia.
In 1492, Cardinal Borgia was elected as Pope Alexander VI. He is remembered for his nepotistic actions, promoting his children to exalted aristocratic positions, arranging the marriages of his sons to Neapolitan, French and Spanish princesses and marrying his daughter to the Duke of Ferrara.
Opposition within the Church encouraged King Charles VIII of France to invade Italy in 1494, to press his claim on the Duchy of Milan and the Kingdom of Naples.
This began a series of wars with France concerning Italy for the next five decades, and rebellions from within the Papal lands by disgruntled nobles also marred Borgia’s Papacy. Borgia eventually passed in 1503, with the privilege and criminal actions of his children, including his daughter’s famous work with poison, being his legacy.