An order of merit is an honorific order that is conferred by a state, government, royal family, or other sovereign entity to an individual in recognition of military or civil merit. The historical background of the modern honours system of orders of merit may be traced to the emergence of chivalric orders during the Middle Ages.
Orders of merit may be bestowed as official awards by states, or as dynastic orders by royal families. In the case of modern republics, an order of merit may constitute the highest award conferred by the state authority.
Albert I reigned as King of the Belgians from 1909 to 1934. He ruled during an eventful period in the history of Belgium, which included the period of World War I (1914–1918), when 90 percent of Belgium was overrun, occupied, and ruled by the German Empire. Other crucial issues included the adoption of the Treaty of Versailles in June 1919, the ruling of the Belgian Congo as an overseas possession of the Kingdom of Belgium along with the League of Nations mandate of Ruanda-Urundi, the reconstruction of Belgium following the war, and the first five years of the Great Depression (1929–1934). King Albert died in a mountaineering accident in eastern Belgium in 1934, at the age of 58, and he was succeeded by his son Leopold III. He is popularly referred to as the "Knight King" or "Soldier King" in Belgium in reference to his role during World War I.
The Legion of Honour is the highest French order of merit, both military and civil. Established in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte, it has been retained by all later French governments and régimes.
The Pour le Mérite is an order of merit established in 1740 by King Frederick II of Prussia. The Pour le Mérite was awarded as both a military and civil honour and ranked, along with the Order of the Black Eagle, the Order of the Red Eagle and the House Order of Hohenzollern, among the highest orders of merit in the Kingdom of Prussia. After 1871, when the various German kingdoms, grand duchies, duchies, principalities and Hanseatic city states had come together under Prussian leadership to form the federally structured German Empire, the Prussian honours gradually assumed, at least in public perception, the status of honours of Imperial Germany, even though many honours of the various German states continued to be awarded.
Leopold Maximilian Joseph Maria Arnulf, Prinz von Bayern was born in Munich, the son of Prince Regent Luitpold of Bavaria (1821–1912) and his wife Archduchess Augusta of Austria (1825–1864). He was a Field Marshal (Generalfeldmarschall) who commanded German and Austro-Hungarian forces on the Eastern Front in World War I.
Archduke Joseph August Viktor Klemens Maria of Austria, Prince of Hungary and Bohemia was a Feldmarschall of the Austro-Hungarian Army and for a short period head of state of Hungary. He was a member of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine, the eldest son of Archduke Joseph Karl of Austria (1833–1905) and his wife Princess Clotilde of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1846–1927). Joseph August's grandfather had been Palatine Joseph of Hungary (1776–1847), Palatine and Viceroy of Hungary, a younger son of Emperor Leopold II.
Archduke Friedrich, Duke of Teschen was a member of the House of Habsburg and the supreme commander of the Austro-Hungarian Army during World War I.
The Order of Leopold is one of the three current Belgian national honorary orders of knighthood. It is the oldest and highest order of Belgium and is named in honour of its founder; King Leopold I. It consists of a military, a maritime and a civil division. The maritime division is only awarded to personnel of the merchant navy, and the military division to military personnel. The decoration was established on 11 July 1832 and is awarded by Royal order.
The Maltese cross is a cross symbol, consisting of four "V" or arrowhead shaped concave quadrilaterals converging at a central vertex at right angles, two tips pointing outward symmetrically.
An order is a visible honour awarded by a sovereign state, monarch, dynastic royal house or organisation to a person, typically in recognition of individual merit, that often comes with distinctive insignia such as collars, medals, badges, and sashes worn by recipients.
The Bailiwick of Brandenburg of the Chivalric Order of Saint John of the Hospital at Jerusalem, commonly known as the Order of Saint John or the Johanniter Order, is the German Protestant branch of the Knights Hospitaller, the oldest surviving chivalric order, which generally is considered to have been founded in Jerusalem in the year 1099 AD.
The orders, decorations, and medals of Canada comprise a complex system by which Canadians are honoured by the country's sovereign for actions or deeds that benefit their community or the country at large. Modelled on its British predecessor, the structure originated in the 1930s, but began to come to full fruition at the time of Canada's centennial in 1967, with the establishment of the Order of Canada, and has since grown in both size and scope to include dynastic and national orders, state, civil, and military decorations; and various campaign medals. The monarch in right of each Canadian province also issues distinct orders and medals to honour residents for work performed in just their province. The provincial honours, as with some of their national counterparts, grant the use of post-nominal letters and or supporters and other devices to be used on personal coats of arms.
A necklet is a type of decoration which is designed to be worn and displayed around a person's neck, rather than hung (draped) from the chest as is the standard practice for displaying most decorations.
The Royal and Military Order of Saint Louis is a dynastic order of chivalry founded 5 April 1693 by King Louis XIV, named after Saint Louis. It was intended as a reward for exceptional officers, notable as the first decoration that could be granted to non-nobles. By the authorities of the French Republic, it is considered a predecessor of the Legion of Honour, with which it shares the red ribbon.
An order of chivalry, order of knighthood, chivalric order, or equestrian order is an order of knights typically founded during or inspired by the original Catholic military orders of the Crusades, paired with medieval concepts of ideals of chivalry.
Commander, or Knight Commander, is a title of honor prevalent in chivalric orders and fraternal orders.
The Bavarian Military Merit Cross (Militär-Verdienstkreuz) was that kingdom's main decoration for bravery and military merit for enlisted soldiers. It was intended "to reward extraordinary merit by non-commissioned officers, soldiers, and lower-ranking officials." It was originally established on July 19, 1866 as the 5th Class of the Military Merit Order, which was the main decoration for bravery and military merit for officers and higher-ranking officials. Civilians acting in support of the army were also made eligible for the decoration.
Prince Franz of Bavaria was a member of the Bavarian Royal House of Wittelsbach and a Major General in the Bavarian Army.
This page is a list of the orders of chivalry and orders of merit awarded by France, in the order they were established or incorporated in France, and their origins.
This is a list of some of the modern orders, decorations and medals of France. Some like the Legion of Honour are awarded to both the armed forces and civilians. Others are decorations of a pure civilian or military character. Only four of the 19 Ministerial orders have survived the reform of the French system of decorations in 1963. The others were replaced by the Ordre national du Mérite.
The Ordre national du Mérite is a French order of merit with membership awarded by the President of the French Republic, founded on 3 December 1963 by President Charles de Gaulle. The reason for the order's establishment was twofold: to replace the large number of ministerial orders previously awarded by the ministries; and to create an award that can be awarded at a lower level than the Legion of Honour, which is generally reserved for French citizens. It comprises about 185,000 members; 306,000 members have been admitted or promoted in 50 years.