The Imperial Order of the Dragon of Annam (French: Ordre impérial du Dragon d'Annam) was created on March 14, 1886, in the ancient Vietnamese city of Huế, by Emperor Đồng Khánh of the Imperial House of Annam, upon the "recommendation" of the President of France as a jointly awarded French colonial order. The Order was designed as a reward for services to the state, the French colonial government, or the emperor.
When French colonial rule over Indochina ended, the Order of the Dragon of Annam was abolished and replaced by the National Order of Vietnam which was later retained and revised by the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam). The ribbon of the Dragon of Annam was retained for this award, but it was (belatedly) recognized that a colonial order had no place in the new regime as the order was always historically associated with the period of French rule. Even the name of "Annam" in the title of the order was a point of dishonor as the name comes from the old Chinese term for Vietnam, which means "the pacified south".
An unrelated political organization called the 'Imperial Order of the Dragon of Annam' created by a Nguyễn Phúc Bửu Chánh of Chicago, Illinois, US – a self-styled "Prince" and "Regent of the Imperial Nguyễn Dynasty" – enjoys no recognition or sanction from the Imperial Nguyễn Dynasty or from the Vietnamese Imperial Family Overseas Council. The self-styled 'Prince' has no affiliation with the Vietnamese Imperial Family in any form.
The Order of the Dragon of Annam: founded by Emperor Dong Khanh on 14th March 1886. A general order of merit conferred on Vietnamese, French and foreign nationals who have performed useful services to the state or the Emperor. Awarded in five classes (1. Grand Cordon, 2. Grand Officer, 3. Commander, 4. Officer, and 5. Knight) with two ribbons (red with gold border stripes by the Emperor, and green with gold border stripes by the French President). Obsolete 1945.
The badge is an eight pointed star of rays emanating from a central medallion of blue enamel bearing four characters in the Annamese writing Dong Khang Hoang De in gold and four figures representing radiant suns also in gold surrounded by a band of red enamel tricked in gold. The badge is surmounted by an imperial crown and above that is a dragon of green enamel forming the ring for suspension. The ribbon is green with orange edges. The star for Grand Officers and Grand Cross has the dragon in the centre of the rays holding the medallion before it in its four claws.
Kim Khanh (The Golden Decoration of Our Favourite Subject of the Ornament of Dragons): founded in ancient times. Reformed and extended to four classes by Emperor Dong Khanh in January 1887, and further reformed by Emperor Bao Dai as Head of State in 1950. Conferred on mandarins, ministers of state and high ranking state officials in reward for exceptional military and civil services. Originally awarded in a superior grade (Dai Nam Kim Khanh or Dai Hang Kim Khanh) and an ordinary grade (Kim Khanh). Reformed by Emperor Dong Khanh in 1887 and enlarged to four classes (1. Great - set with gems, 2. Medium - gold, 3. Inferior - silver, and 4. Minor - bronze). Reformed again by Emperor Thanh Thai and reduced to three classes (1. First Class, 2. Second Class, and 3. Third Class). Reformed by Emperor Bao Dai as Head of State in 1950, increased to four classes (1. Exceptional Class - worn from a gold Grand Cordon with gold tassels, 2. Second Class with yellow tassels, 3. Third Class with green tassels, and 4. Fourth Class with blue tassels). Retained and modified by the Republic in 1957.
Colonial Orders-These are orders pertaining to and established by the native rulers of the various colonies and protectorates of France. They are recognized by the French government and are awarded for services rendered in or for the different colonies. In time of peace ten years of service for a colony is required before admission to one of the orders...They have the same classes as the Legion of Honour and no one can be given a grade higher than Officer in any of them unless he is a member of the Legion neither can he be made a Grand Officer if he is not at least an Officer of the Legion nor can he be given the Grand Cross of a colonial order, unless he is a Commander of the Legion...The Order of the Dragon of Annam...The Royal Order of Cambodia.