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The Order was founded by King Victor Emmanuel I, and it was awarded to military personnel in recognition of acts of honour, bravery, and merit during times of war; it was rarely awarded to foreigners. This Order was conferred upon all military personnel of all ranks.
In 1833, King Charles Albert instituted the Military Medal of Valour to circumvent the strict awarding criteria within the Order and reward all soldiers within the military for meritorious service, regardless of rank. The institution of this medal caused the Order to fall into disuse until it was re-organized in 1855.
Thus the Order Statutes were amended by King Victor Emmanuel II on September 28, 1855, resulting in a new design for the Order awards, and the addition of the grades of Grand Officer and Officer.
Following the fall of the Monarchy in 1946, the Order was not discontinued, it was renamed the Military Order of Italy on January 2, 1947.
The first three grades of the Type II crosses feature a surmounting gold-coloured crown. The Officer grade features a trophy of arms and flags surmounting the award, and the Knight grade has nothing but a suspension ring surmounting the award.
The Knight may also be known as the Militant, and it was limited to 700 recipients.
This Order is re-instituted during the Italian Republic as the Military Order of Italy. See ITA471, Military Order of Italy, in the Orders of the Italian Republic for more information.
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