Military Order of the Immaculate Conception of Vila Viçosa, Servant
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Created by King João VI/John VI of Portugal in Rio de Janerio on 6 February 1818, the date of his acclamation of the united kingdom of Portugal, Brazil, and Algarves, the Military Order of the Immaculate Conception of Vila Viçosa (Ordem Militar de Nossa Senhora da Conceição de Vila Viçosa) was established in honor of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, principal patroness of Portugal since 1646, for the effective protection of the Portuguese kingdom from the consequences of the French Revolution and Napoleonic wars.
It was awarded to Portuguese and foreign military personnel and civilians in recognition of loyal service to the crown and who has displayed acts of devotion to the pope and the Holy Mother.
There were four grades; i.e., Grand Cross, consisting of a sash badge and a star; Commander, consisting of a neck badge and a star; Knights and Servants. There was a limit of 12 Grand Crosses, 40 Commanders, 100 Knights, and 60 Servites.
During its lifespan several personalities, essentially belonging to the nobility and the aristocracy in Europe, were awarded by the Kings with this order.
The Order was abolished in 1910 following the Republican Revolution. Since then, it has been awarded by the Dukes of Braganza as a dynastic order, independently of the Portuguese government.
The motto translates to “Patroness of the Kingdom,” with the monogram MA for “Mary.”
Due to a variety of manufacturers, there may be additional versions that differ in composition, size, and design.
Obv: MA PADROEIRA DO REINO
J. A. Da Costa, Lisbon; Souza, Lisbon
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