The Illuminati, translated as the people of the light, refers to several groups and to prevailing conspiracy theories about some of these groups? importance or continued influence in the modern world. Most specifically, they were a radical group in Bavaria founded in 1776, which gave rise to other countries also forming related groups.
The Bavarian Illuminati, as well as its offshoot groups, was a secret society, to which many politicians and intellectuals were drawn. The Society of Masons was thought to have close ties with members, and many Masons joined the Illuminati. Some Mason groups felt that they were religiously conflicted because many of the other group's members were atheists.
As far as history can suggest, Illuminati groups from Europe were some of the more advanced thinkers of the time period, reflecting humanism philosophy emerging at the time. They were opposed to power exerted by churches and by the nobility. The organization, as a secret society, was illegal. During its early years, this secret society may have had as many as 10 branches in Europe and 2000 members drawn from the intellectuals in Europe. According to historical sources, the group fell apart by 1795.