Enlightenment-era secret society founded on 1st May 1776

The Illuminati (the “enlightened ones”) was a late 18th century German political secret society. Adam Weishaupt, a Bavarian philosopher and lawyer, started the secret society on the 1st of May 1776 at the University of Ingolstadt . In 1785 it was outlawed in Bavaria.

The Eye of Providence is often said to be a symbol of the Illuminati. It is on top of the pyramid on the back of the US $1 bill, the back of the Great Seal of the United States, and other official documents.

Originally, they opposed superstition, prejudice, religious influence over public life, and abuses of state power. They supported women’s education and gender equality.[1]

Later, other groups formed using the same name.[2][3] There is no evidence that these present-day groups have any significant power or influence. They promote themselves using the Bavarian Illuminati to attract membership.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 McKeown, Trevor W. 2009. A Bavarian Illuminati Primer. Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon A.F. & A.M.
  2. "The Illuminati Order Homepage". Retrieved 2011-08-06.
  3. "Official website of The Illuminati Order". Retrieved 2011-08-06.