- Order of the Tower and Sword
Order of the Tower and Sword
Ordem Militar da Torre e Espada
Badge, collar and star of the order Awarded by Portuguese Republic Type Order Motto VALOR, LEALDADE E MÉRITO Eligibility Portuguese and foreigners, both civilians and military Awarded for awarded for exceptional and outstanding merits in the highest offices in Parliament, Government, courts of justice or in the presidency of the Republic or in the command of troops in campaign; for military or civic deeds of heroism and to reward outstanding acts of abnegation and sacrifice for Portugal or mankind Status Currently constituted Sovereign President Aníbal Cavaco Silva Chancellor General Vasco Joaquim Rocha Vieira Grades (w/ post-nominals) Grand Collar
Established 1459 Precedence Next (higher) None (highest) Next (lower) Order of Christ (Portugal) Ribbon bar of the Order of the Tower and Sword
The Military Order of the Tower and of the Sword, of Valour, Loyalty and Merit (Portuguese: Ordem Militar da Torre e Espada do Valor, Lealdade e Mérito) is a Portuguese order of knighthood and the pinnacle of the Portuguese honours system. It was created by King Afonso V in 1459.
It fell into disuse and was revived on 29 November 1808, by Prince Regent John, later John VI of Portugal. It commemorated the safe arrival of the Royal Family in Brazil, after Napoleon had invaded Portugal. Its full title was “the Royal Order of the Tower and Sword”. It was available to both Portuguese and foreigners and for military, political or civilian achievement. Among the intended recipients were subjects of His Britannic Majesty, who had assisted the Royal Family to reach Brazil, but who were ineligible for the other Portuguese orders due to their religion.
In 1832 Peter IV of Portugal, Duke of Braganza, reformed the Order which now became the "Ancient and Most Noble Military Order of the Tower and of the Sword, of Valour, Loyalty and Merit".
The re-formed order had four classes:
- Grand Cross
In 1896 the class of Grand Officer was inserted between Grand Cross and Commander.
On 15 October 1910 the Republican government of Portugal abolished all military orders, with the exception of the Order of the Tower and Sword. Despite the fact that the order had not been abolished, on 26 September 1917 the order was revised for the third time. The order had four classes, the highest of which was confined to the President of the Republic of Portugal.
In 1918, the Order was expanded to five classes:
- Grand Cross
- Grand Officer
The President is ex officio the Order’s Grand Master and a member of the Order, Grand Cross.
The degree of Grand Collar was added in 1939. It was awarded only to Heads of State with notable military deeds, and it was first conferred on Francisco Franco, Caudillo of Spain. Since 1963 it has only been awarded to Presidents of Portugal.
The Order of the Tower and Sword, as awarded by the Portuguese government today, comes in six classes:
- Grand Collar (GColTE), which wears the badge of the Order on a special collar (chain), and the star of the Order in gold on the left chest;
- Grand Cross (GCTE), which wears the badge of the Order on a collar (chain), or on a sash on the right shoulder, and the star of the Order in gold on the left chest;
- Grand Officer (GOTE), which wears the badge of the Order on a necklet, and the star of the Order in gold on the left chest;
- Commander (ComTE), which wears the star of the Order in silver on the left chest;
- Officer (OTE), which wears the badge of the Order on a ribbon with rosette on the left chest;
- Knight (CavTE) or Dame (DamTE), which wears the badge of the Order on a plain ribbon on the left chest.
Rear Admiral Thomas Western was one of the first to be awarded the Knight of the Order of the Tower and Sword. "In 1807 the Admiral (then Captain) Western rescued the Portuguese royal family from Napoleon's advancing ground forces and conveyed them to Brazil. In gratitude the King of Portugal made Thomas Western a knight commander in the Portuguese Order of the Tower and Sword."
- The badge of the Order is a five-pointed gilt star, enamelled in white and with one point pointing downwards. The star has a wreath of green enamelled oak leaves between the arms of the star, and is topped by a gilt tower. The obverse central disc bears a sword surrounded by a wreath of oak leaves on a white enamel background, which is in turn surrounded by a blue enamel ring bearing the motto "Valor Lealdade e Mérito" (Valour, Loyalty and Merit). The reverse central disc bears the Portuguese coat-of-arms, surrounded by a blue enamel ring bearing the name "República Portuguesa" (Portuguese Republic).
- The star of the Order is a five-pointed faceted star, in gilt for Grand Collar, Grand Cross and Grand Officer, and in silver for Commander, with the obverse of the badge (minus the wreath between the arms of the star-badge) superimposed upon it.
- The ribbon of the Order is blue.
- The fourragère is solid blue.
Current knights and officers
- António Ramalho Eanes (1986-03-09)
- Mário Soares (1991-03-09)
- Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom (1993-07-05)
- Juan Carlos I of Spain (2000-09-08)
- Jorge Sampaio (2006-03-09)
- King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden
- Francisco Sá Carneiro (after his death) (1986-03-17)
- José Lemos Ferreira (1989-05-29)
- Mário Firmino Miguel (after his death) (1991-11-07)
- Gabriel Augusto do Espírito Santo (2000-08-23)
- Honorific orders of Portugal
- Aníbal Milhais
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