Order of Virtuti Militari, Type I, Gold Medal
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The Order of Virtuti Militari was established by King Stanisław August Poniatowski in 1792. It was abolished following the Third Partitioning of Poland in 1795 and was not awarded again until 1807 when it was revived by the Duchy of Warsaw. It was awarded from 1815-1831 by Tsar Alexander I ruling as King of Poland, but after Poland had been fully incorporated into the Russian Empire, the Tsar did not continue to confer the Order. Instead, a badge was created in its likeness for Russian military personnel in an effort to humiliate the defeated Polish forces. The Order was not awarded again until the restoration of Polish independence in 1921. It has since been awarded by the Polish People’s Republic from 1944-1989, by the Government of the Republic of Poland in exile from 1939-1989, and by the Republic of Poland since 1992.
The Order is currently conferred upon Polish military personnel in recognition of bravery and gallantry in combat. It may also be awarded posthumously.
The Order is classified into two types based on changes in form. Type I decorations are medals and Type II decorations are crosses.
The Type I Gold Medal was awarded to Generals and Officers. The obverse initials stand for “Stanislaus Augustus Rex” (King Stanisław August).
See also the Order of Virtuti Militari in the Orders of the Second Polish Republic (1918-1939) and Government of the Republic of Poland in exile (1939-1989), the Polish People's Republic (1944-1989), and the Third Polish Republic (1989-).
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