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An order is a visible
honour Honour (British English) or honor (American English; American and British English spelling differences#-our, -or, see spelling differences) is the idea of a bond between an individual and a society as a quality of a person that is both of socia ...
awarded by a
sovereign state A sovereign state or sovereign country, is a polity, political entity represented by one central government that has supreme legitimate authority over territory. International law defines sovereign states as having a permanent population, defin ...
,
monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch Houghton Mifflin. Boston. 2001. p. 707. Life tenure, for life or until abdication, and therefore the head of state of a monarchy. A monarch may exercise the highest authority ...
, dynastic house or
organisation An organization or organisation (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English; American and British English spelling differences#-ise, -ize (-isation, -ization), see spelling differences), is an legal entity, entity—such as ...
to a person, typically in recognition of individual merit, that often comes with distinctive
insignia An insignia () is a sign or mark distinguishing a group, grade, rank, or function. It can be a symbol of personal power or that of an official group or governing body. On its own, an insignia is a sign of a specific or general authority and is ...
such as
collar Collar may refer to: Human neckwear *Clerical collar (informally ''dog collar''), a distinctive collar used by the clergy of some Christian religious denominations *Collar (clothing), the part of a garment that fastens around or frames the neck ...
s,
medal A medal or medallion is a small portable artistic object, a thin disc, normally of metal, carrying a design, usually on both sides. They typically have a commemorative purpose of some kind, and many are presented as awards. They may be int ...
s,
badge A badge is a device or accessory, often containing the insignia of an organization, which is presented or displayed to indicate some feat of service, a special accomplishment, a symbol of authority granted by taking an oath (e.g., police and fi ...
s, and
sash A sash is a large and usually colorful ribbon or band of material worn around the body, either draping from one shoulder to the opposing hip and back up, or else running around the waist. The sash around the waist may be worn in daily attire, bu ...
es worn by recipients. Modern honour systems of state orders and
dynastic order A dynastic order, monarchical order, or house order is an order (distinction), order under Patronage, royal patronage. Such an order is bestowed by, as a legitimate , a sovereignty, sovereign or the head of a once-sovereign royal family, ruling f ...
s emerged from the culture of
orders of chivalry An order of chivalry, order of knighthood, chivalric order, or equestrian order is an order (distinction), order of knights, typically founded during or inspired by the original Catholic Military order (religious society), military orders of the ...
of the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted approximately from the late 5th to the late 15th centuries, similar to the Post-classical, post-classical period of World history (field), global history. It began with t ...
, which in turn emerged from the
Catholic religious order In the Catholic Church, a religious order is a community of consecrated life with members that profess solemn vows. They are classed as a type of Religious institute (Catholic), religious institute. Subcategories of religious orders are: * can ...
s.


Terminology

The word order ( la, ordo), in the case referred to in this article, can be traced back to the
chivalric order An order of chivalry, order of knighthood, chivalric order, or equestrian order is an order (distinction), order of knights, typically founded during or inspired by the original Catholic Military order (religious society), military orders of the ...
s, including the military orders, which in turn trace the name of their organisation back to that of the
Catholic religious order In the Catholic Church, a religious order is a community of consecrated life with members that profess solemn vows. They are classed as a type of Religious institute (Catholic), religious institute. Subcategories of religious orders are: * can ...
s. Orders began to be created ''
ad hoc Ad hoc is a List of Latin phrases, Latin phrase meaning literally 'to this'. In English, it typically signifies a solution for a specific purpose, problem, or task rather than a Generalization, generalized solution adaptable to collateral instan ...
'' and in a more courtly nature. Some were merely honorary and gradually the ''badges'' of these orders (i.e. the association) began to be known informally as ''orders''. As a result, the modern distinction between ''orders'' and ''decorations'' or ''insignia'' has become somewhat blurred. While some ''orders'' today retain the original notion of being an association or society of individuals, others make no distinction, and an "order" may even be the name of a decoration. Most historic chivalric orders imply a membership in a group, typically a
confraternity A confraternity ( es, cofradía; pt, confraria) is generally a Christian Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the ...
. In a few exclusive European orders, membership is or was also limited in number. Decorations seldom have such limitations. Orders often come in multiple classes, including
knight A knight is a person granted an honorary title of knighthood by a head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially embodies a state (polity), state#Foakes, Foakes, pp. 110–11 " he head of sta ...
s and
dame ''Dame'' is an honorific title and the feminine form of address for the honour of damehood in many Christian chivalric orders, as well as the Orders, decorations, and medals of the United Kingdom, British honours system and those of several oth ...
s in imitation of the original chivalric orders.Definition adapted from www.turkishmedals.net, accessed 2010-02-20.


History

Modern national orders, orders of merit, and decorations, emerged from the culture of chivalric orders established in the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted approximately from the late 5th to the late 15th centuries, similar to the Post-classical, post-classical period of World history (field), global history. It began with t ...
, originally the military orders of the Middle Ages and the
Crusades The Crusades were a series of religious wars initiated, supported, and sometimes directed by the Latin Church in the medieval period. The best known of these Crusades are those to the Holy Land in the period between 1095 and 1291 that were in ...
, who in turn grew out of the original Catholic religious orders. While these chivalric orders were "societies, fellowships and colleges of knights", founded by the
Holy See The Holy See ( lat, Sancta Sedes, ; it, Santa Sede ), also called the See of Rome, Petrine See or Apostolic See, is the jurisdiction of the Pope in his role as the bishop of Rome. It includes the apostolic see, apostolic episcopal see of the ...
or European monarchs in imitation of the military orders of the Crusades, granting membership in such societies gradually developed into an honour that could be bestowed in recognition of service or to ensure the loyalty of a certain clientele. Some of modern Europe's highest honours, such as the
Order of the Golden Fleece The Distinguished Order of the Golden Fleece ( es, Insigne Orden del Toisón de Oro, german: Orden vom Goldenen Vlies) is a Catholic order of chivalry founded in Bruges by Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, in 1430, to celebrate his marriage ...
,
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. It is separa ...
's
Order of the Garter The Most Noble Order of the Garter is an order of chivalry founded by Edward III of England in 1348. It is the most senior order of knighthood in the Orders, decorations, and medals of the United Kingdom, British honours system, outranked in ...
,
Denmark ) , song = ( en, "King Christian stood by the lofty mast") , song_type = National and royal anthem , image_map = EU-Denmark.svg , map_caption = , subdivision_type = Sovereign state , subdivision_name = Danish Realm, Kingdom of Denmark ...
's
Order of the Elephant The Order of the Elephant ( da, Elefantordenen) is a Denmark, Danish order of chivalry and is Denmark's highest-ranked honour. It has origins in the 15th century, but has officially existed since 1693, and since the establishment of consti ...
and
Scotland Scotland (, ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain, mainland Scotland has a Anglo-Scottish border, border with England to the southeast ...
's
Order of the Thistle The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle is an Chivalric order, order of chivalry associated with Scotland. The current version of the Order was founded in 1687 by James II of England, King James VII of Scotland, who asserted that h ...
, were created during that era. They were essentially courtly in nature, characterised by close personal relations between the orders' members and the orders' sovereign.


Orders by fount of honour


State orders


Dynastic orders

By the time of the
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a Periodization, period in History of Europe, European history marking the transition from the Middle Ages to modernity and covering the 15th and 16th centuries, characterized by an e ...
, most European monarchs had either acquired an existing order of chivalry, or created new ones of their own, to reward loyal civilian and especially military officials. Such orders remained out of reach to the general public, however, as being of noble rank or birth was usually a prerequisite to being admitted. In the 18th century, these ideas gradually changed and the orders developed from "honourable societies" to visible honours. An example of this gradual development can be seen in two orders founded by
Maria Theresa of Austria Maria Theresa Walburga Amalia Christina (german: Maria Theresia; 13 May 1717 – 29 November 1780) was ruler of the Habsburg monarchy, Habsburg dominions from 1740 until her death in 1780, and the only woman to hold the position ''suo jure'' ( ...
. While the Military Order of Maria Theresa (1757) was open to any deserving military officer regardless of social origin, and would grant titles of nobility to those who did not already have them, the Order of Saint Stephen of Hungary (1764) still required that one had to have at least four generations of noble ancestors. Still today, many dynastic orders are granted by royal families to worthy individuals for service and achievements.


Orders by type


Orders of chivalry


Military orders


Orders of merit

In 1802
Napoleon Napoleon Bonaparte ; it, Napoleone Bonaparte, ; co, Napulione Buonaparte. (born Napoleone Buonaparte; 15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821), later known by his regnal name Napoleon I, was a French military commander and political leader who ...
created the
Legion of Honour The National Order of the Legion of Honour (french: Ordre national de la Légion d'honneur), formerly the Royal Order of the Legion of Honour ('), is the highest French order of merit, both military and civil. Established in 1802 by Napoleon, ...
(), which could be awarded to any person, regardless of status, for bravery in combat or for 20 years of distinguished service. While still retaining many trappings of an order of chivalry, it was the first modern national order of merit and is still
France France (), officially the French Republic ( ), is a country primarily located in Western Europe. It also comprises of Overseas France, overseas regions and territories in the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic, Pacific Ocean, Pac ...
's highest award today. The French Legion of Honour served as the model for numerous modern orders of merit in the
Western world The Western world, also known as the West, primarily refers to the various nations and state (polity), states in the regions of Europe, North America, and Oceania.
, such as the Order of Leopold in
Belgium Belgium, ; french: Belgique ; german: Belgien officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Northwestern Europe. The country is bordered by the Netherlands to the north, Germany to the east, Luxembourg to the southeast, France to the ...
(1832) and the
Order of the British Empire The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is a British order of chivalry, rewarding contributions to the arts and sciences, work with charitable and welfare organisations, and public service outside the civil service. It was established o ...
in the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western coast of the European mainland, continental mainland. It comprises England, Scotlan ...
(1917). Orders of merit based on the French Legion of Honour typically retain five classes in accordance with habits of chivalric orders. In
communist countries A communist state, also known as a Marxist–Leninist state, is a one-party state that is administered and governed by a communist party guided by Marxism–Leninism. Marxism–Leninism was the Ideology of the Communist Party of the Soviet U ...
, orders of merit usually come in one to three grades, with only a
badge A badge is a device or accessory, often containing the insignia of an organization, which is presented or displayed to indicate some feat of service, a special accomplishment, a symbol of authority granted by taking an oath (e.g., police and fi ...
worn with or without a
ribbon A ribbon or riband is a thin band of material, typically cloth but also plastic Plastics are a wide range of synthetic polymers, synthetic or semi-synthetic materials that use polymers as a main ingredient. Their Plasticity (physics), plas ...
on the chest. An example of a communist order of merit was the one-class
Order of Lenin The Order of Lenin (russian: Орден Ленина, Orden Lenina, ), named after Vladimir Lenin, the leader of the Russian October Revolution, was established by the Central Executive Committee on April 6, 1930. The order was the highest civili ...
of the
Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a List of former transcontinental countries#Since 1700, transcontinental country that spanned much of Eurasia from 1922 to 1991. A flagship communist state, ...
(1930). Unlike Western orders, however, communist orders could be awarded more than once to an individual. After the collapse of the
Soviet Bloc The Eastern Bloc, also known as the Communist Bloc and the Soviet Bloc, was the group of socialist states of Central and Eastern Europe, East Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa, and Latin America under the influence of the Soviet Union that existed du ...
in the 1990s, most Eastern European countries reverted to the Western-style orders originally established before the rise of communism. Today, many countries have some form of order of merit or national decorations. Both
Thailand Thailand ( ), historically known as Siam () and officially the Kingdom of Thailand, is a country in Southeast Asia, located at the centre of the Mainland Southeast Asia, Indochinese Peninsula, spanning , with a population of almost 70 mi ...
's
Order of the White Elephant __NOTOC__ The Most Exalted Order of the White Elephant ( th, เครื่องราชอิสริยาภรณ์อันเป็นที่เชิดชูยิ่งช้างเผือก; ) is an order (decoration), orde ...
and
Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally , ''Nihonkoku'') is an island country in East Asia. It is situated in the northwest Pacific Ocean, and is bordered on the west by the Sea of Japan, while extending from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north ...
's
Order of the Rising Sun The is a Japanese honors system, Japanese order, established in 1875 by Emperor Meiji. The Order was the first national decoration awarded by the Japanese government, created on 10 April 1875 by decree of the Council of State. The badge featu ...
are over 100 years old. In Canada and some Commonwealth Realms, the
Order of Merit The Order of Merit (french: link=no, Ordre du Mérite) is an order of merit for the Commonwealth realms, recognising distinguished service in the armed forces, science, art, literature, or for the promotion of culture. Established in 1902 by Ki ...
is the highest civilian honour.
Canada Canada is a country in North America. Its Provinces and territories of Canada, ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering over , making it the world ...
has the
Order of Canada The Order of Canada (french: Ordre du Canada; abbreviated as OC) is a Canadian state order and the second-highest Award, honour for merit in the system of orders, decorations, and medals of Canada, after the Order of Merit. To coincide with ...
and provincial orders such as the Order of Nova Scotia.
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands. With an area of , Australia is the largest country by ...
has the
Order of Australia The Order of Australia is an Order (distinction), honour that recognises Australian citizens and other persons for outstanding achievement and service. It was established on 14 February 1975 by Elizabeth II, Monarchy of Australia, Queen of Aus ...
, and
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ) is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It consists of two main landmasses—the North Island () and the South Island ()—and over 700 List of islands of New Zealand, smaller islands. It is the ...
awards the
Order of New Zealand The Order of New Zealand is the highest honour in the New Zealand royal honours system, created "to recognise outstanding service to the Crown and people of New Zealand in a civil or military capacity". It was instituted by Royal warrant (documen ...
and the New Zealand Order of Merit. The Order of Mapungubwe is the highest honour in
South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the Southern Africa, southernmost country in Africa. It is bounded to the south by of coastline that stretch along the Atlantic Ocean, South Atlantic and Indian Oceans; to the ...
, while the Orders of Luthuli, and the
Baobab ''Adansonia'' is a genus made up of eight species of medium-to-large deciduous trees known as baobabs ( or ). They are placed in the Malvaceae family, subfamily Bombacoideae. They are native to Madagascar, mainland Africa, and Australia.Tropic ...
exist alongside other decorations. The
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...
awards the
Medal of Honor The Medal of Honor (MOH) is the United States Armed Forces' highest Awards and decorations of the United States Armed Forces, military decoration and is awarded to recognize American United States Army, soldiers, United States Navy, sailors, Unit ...
to members of its military for acts of valour, and the
Presidential Medal of Freedom The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the highest civilian award of the United States, along with the Congressional Gold Medal. It is an award bestowed by the president of the United States to recognize people who have made "an especially meri ...
and the
Congressional Gold Medal The Congressional Gold Medal is an award bestowed by the United States Congress. It is Congress's highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions by individuals or institutions. The congressional pract ...
to civilians. The
Legion of Merit The Legion of Merit (LOM) is a Awards and decorations of the United States military, military award of the United States Armed Forces that is given for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievemen ...
is the only United States decoration which may be issued in award degrees (much like an order of chivalry or certain orders of merit), but award degrees are only made to foreign nationals, typically senior military officers or government officials.
Switzerland ). Swiss law does not designate a ''capital'' as such, but the federal parliament and government are in Bern, while other federal institutions, such as the federal courts, are in other cities (Bellinzona, Lausanne, Luzern, Neuchâtel, St. Gall ...
does not award any orders. Article 12 of the 1848 Swiss Constitution prohibited the acceptance of honours and titles by Swiss citizens. The current Constitution of 1999 has no specific prohibition, but a federal statute effectively continues the prohibition by barring holders of foreign orders from holding public office. In 1974 the Cabinet of Sweden passed a
regulation Regulation is the management of complex systems A complex system is a system composed of many components which may interaction, interact with each other. Examples of complex systems are Earth's global climate, organisms, the human brain, infra ...
forbidding the
monarch of Sweden The monarchy of Sweden is the monarchical head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially embodies a state (polity), state#Foakes, Foakes, pp. 110–11 "he head of state He or HE may refer to: ...
from awarding membership in orders to Swedish citizens. The orders themselves were not abolished, but only the Royal Orders of the Seraphim and the Polar Star (both established in 1748) continue to be awarded, and only to foreign citizens and stateless individuals. In 1995 the regulation was altered, allowing the monarch to bestow the two remaining active Orders to members of the
Swedish royal family The Swedish royal family ( sv, Svenska kungafamiljen) since 1818 has consisted of members of the Sweden, Swedish Royal House of House of Bernadotte, Bernadotte, closely related to the King of Sweden. Today those who are recognized by the governme ...
.The Monarchy and the Royal Court (Kungahuset), ''The Orders in Sweden''
Modern orders are usually open to all citizens of a particular country, regardless of status, sex, race or creed; there may be a minimum age for eligibility. Nominations are made either by private citizens or by government officials, depending on the country. An order may be revoked if the holder is convicted of a
crime In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a state or other authority. The term ''crime'' does not, in modern criminal law, have any simple and universally accepted definition,Farmer, Lindsay: "Crime, definitions of", in C ...
or renounces
citizenship Citizenship is a "relationship between an individual and a state to which the individual owes allegiance and in turn is entitled to its protection". Each state determines the conditions under which it will recognize persons as its citizens, and ...
. Some people nominated for an award refuse it.


Ecclesiastical


See also

*
Military orders, awards and decorations Military awards and decorations are distinctions given as a mark of honor for military heroism, meritorious or outstanding service or achievement.United States Department of Defense, DoD Manual 1348.33, 2010, Vol. 3 A decoration is often a meda ...
*
Civil awards and decorations Civil awards and decorations are awarded to civilians for distinguished service or for eminence in a field of endeavour. Military personnel might also be eligible for services of a non-military nature. There are various forms of civil awards and d ...
* Ecclesiastical decoration *
Fraternal order A fraternal order is a fraternity organised as an order, with traits alluding to religious, chivalric or pseudo-chivalric orders, guild A guild ( ) is an association of artisans and merchants who oversee the practice of their craft/trade ...
*
Religious order A religious order is a lineage of Community, communities and Organization, organizations of people who live in some way set apart from society in accordance with their specific religious devotion, usually characterized by the principles of its fo ...
* Phaleristics


References


Works cited

* {{DEFAULTSORT:Order (Honour) Honor Heraldic societies Heraldry