Secret societies have existed for a long time and have played influential roles in global affairs, says historian Tony Gosling.

And their historical significance dates back a very long time.

Thousands of years, in fact.

The Knights Templar was founded around 1118 to protect Christian pilgrims during the Crusades. They became one of the wealthiest and most powerful forces in Europe by setting up a banking system for pilgrims. However, they were disbanded in 1312 under pressure from the French crown.

The Freemasons originated from the Middle Ages as a group of craftsmen who identified each other via signs of their trade. Many influential figures, including the Founding Fathers of the United States, were Freemasons. The Freemasons continue to exist today and are “known” for their charity work.

Freemasons, circa 1902

The Illuminati was founded by professor Adam Weishaupt in Bavaria in 1776 with the aim to replace organised religion with “illumination” through reason. The organisation was allegedly stamped out by Karl Theodor of Bavaria in 1787, but it’s unknown whether or not they still exist.

Skull and Bones is a secret society founded at Yale University in 1832. Each year, 15 seniors are selected to join. The society has had many prominent members, including several US presidents.

The Bilderberg Meeting, first held in 1954, is a gathering of powerful actors from North America and Europe. While no longer a secret society, its secretive nature and high-profile attendees nonetheless keep their lips sealed about the goings on.

There are many secret societies that have existed (and perhaps still exist), but, due to secrecy, not much is known about them.

  • The Rosicrucians
  • The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn
  • The Order of the Eastern Star
  • The Bohemian Club
  • The Hellfire Club

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