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"Illuminati" theory The Order of the Illuminati was an Enlightenment-era secret society, founded on May 1, 1776, in Ingolstadt (Upper Bavaria), by Jesuit-taught Adam Weishaupt (d. 1830), who was the first lay professor of canon law at the University of Ingolstadt. The movement consisted of militant freethinkers, secularists and republicans recruited in the Masonic Lodges of Germany. In 1785, the order was infiltrated, broken and suppressed by the Bavarian government for allegedly plotting to overthrow the monarchies and state religions of many European states. From the late 18th to the mid 20th century, many reactionary conspiracy theorists speculated that the Illuminati survived their suppression and became the masterminds behind major historical events such as the American Revolution, the French Revolution, and the Russian Revolution. The Illuminati were believed to be orchestrating a world revolution in order to create a secular, anarcho-communist utopia, but that a fatal flaw would pervert it into a dystopia. From the late 20th to the early 21st century, the term "Illuminati" has come to be used by both far-right and far-left conspiracy theorists to describe any cabal which acts as a shadowy power behind the throne, allegedly controlling world affairs through moles in governments and corporations, in order to create a cryptocratic New World Order. Some, however, speculate that the Yale University-based secret society Skull and Bones is in fact an incarnation or continuation of the historical Bavarian Illuminati.