Order of Military Merit, Grand Cross
Image courtesy of Robert Prummel, Wikipedia
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The Order was founded by Leopold II, Grand Duke of Tuscany, and awarded to foreigners and Tuscan citizen in recognition of extraordinary military service to the state of Tuscany.
This Order was officially abolished in 1860 when Tuscany was annexed into the Kingdom of Sardinia.
It continued to be awarded unofficially by Ferdinand IV, the previous Grand Duke of Tuscany. He amended the Order Statutes in 1861, expanding the Order to include five grades, and changing the name to the Order of Civil and Military Merit.
He amended the Order a second time in 1862, adding the Medal of Merit in a Gold, Silver, and Bronze grade. These new grades were reserved for Gentlemen and Officers.
The Grand Duke of Tuscany was the Grand Master of the Order.
The Grand Cross features a gold-coloured surmounting crown, and it was generally restricted to Officers. If the Grand Cross was conferred upon a civilian they were bestowed with hereditary nobility.
The Grand Cross is also known as the Knight I Class.
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