Order of Saint James of the Sword, Grand Cross Breast Star
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The Imperial Order of St. James of the Sword (Imperial Ordem de São Tiago da Espada) was originally founded in Portugal circa 1170. It was founded to reward the knights who had expelled the Moors from Portugal, and who had defended the Roman Catholic Church.
When King João I/John I of Portugal arrived to Brazil in 1807, he was the Grand Master of the three antiques religious-military Orders (Order of Aviz, Order of James of the Sword, and Order of Christ). While ruling from Rio de Janeiro, he continued creating knights of these orders in the new royal society of Brazil. The Order of St. James was ranked the lowest of the three ancient orders in Brazil, and it was rarely bestowed.
In 1821, King João I returned to Portugal and left his son D. Pedro I ruling Brazil in his stead. D. Pedro I declared himself Emperor of Brazil and declared the Brazil’s independence from Portugal in 1822. Since then, the Order was awarded in both Brazil and Portugal.
In 1826, when D. Pedro I returned to Portugal and left his son D. Pedro II as regent of the empire, Pedro II became the Grand Master of the Brazilian Order’s branch until 1890.
In 1843, the Order was regulated in Brazil and became a national Order without its religious character; it became to recognize honorable and exceptional services to the state. Also, the color of the ribbon was changed from green to sky blue.
The grades of the Order were three; Grand Cross, Commander, and Knight. The Grand Cross was limited to twelve bestowals, besides of the royal family and foreign nobility; the Commander and Knight were unlimited.
Finally, the Order was officially rescinded in 1890 by the republican government.
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