European Freemasonry was the product of different social, political, and religious dynamics, and in the 1730s branched away from the form of Freemasonry practiced in England. This section explores the background to these changes and outlines later developments across the continent.

The banner illustration is taken from The Sufferings of John Coustos for Freemasonry, an autobiographical account of Coustos’s experience at the hands of the Portuguese Inquisition.