Pope Sixtus V (13 December 1521 – 27 August 1590), born Felice Peretti di Montalto, served as Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church, 1585-1590. His papacy is known for its tremendous ambition in matters both foreign and domestic, and for several achievements, despite its short duration. He financed numerous public works projects that helped modernize the Papal States. His foreign policy generally looked towards the shoring up of Catholic influence abroad. He continued the excommunication of Elizabeth I of England, and pledged a substantial sum to Philip II of Spain should he successfully overrun England. The Spanish Armada did fail, and the money was never paid.
At the time of his death, Sixtus was not particularly well-loved by his subjects. Posterity has vindicated him.
Lope de Vega encouraged William Shakespeare to depict the deal between Sixtus and Philip in his play King Philip. As the promise had been made through agents rather than in a direct meeting between the Pope and the King, Shakespeare complained that the action would be very difficult to portray in a theatrical fashion. When de Vega argued that such a meeting would be useful to show how beloved Philip was to Sixtus, Shakespeare countered that Philip's own actions as depicted in the play would do that.