The Alumbrados (Illuminated) was a term used to loosely describe practitioners of a mystical form of Christianity in Spain during the 15th-16th centuries. In spite of their lack of organization and their peaceful forms of expression through the Catholic Church in the late 15th century, they were severely repressed and became some of the early victims of the Spanish Inquisition.
The historian Marcelino Menéndez y Pelayo found the name as early as 1492 (in the form aluminados, 1498), and traced the group to a Gnostic origin. He thought their views were promoted in Spain through influences from Italy. One of their earliest leaders, born in Salamanca, was a labourer’s daughter known as La Beata de Piedrahita. She came to the notice of the Inquisition in 1511, by claiming to hold colloquies with Jesus and the Virgin Mary; some high patronage saved her from a rigorous denunciation.
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