Military Order of Alcantara, Breast Star
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The Military Order of Alcantara (Orden Militar de Alcantara) was originally founded in 1177 as the Order of St. Julian by Fernando II/Ferdinand II, King of Leon and Galicia. The Order was established as a Religious and Military Order with the task of protecting the territory of Extremadura that was under constant attack, and border assaults, by the Moors. The Order was confirmed by Alexander III on April 9, 1183.
In 1213, King Alfonso IX/Alphonso IX took control of the territory of Alcantara, and ceded it to the Order of Calatrava. The latter was not able to defend so several borders at the same time, then yielded the town to the Knights of St. Julian, who transferred their seat to Alcantara, which name they were thenceforth known. These Orders together acquired great power, authority and wealth within Spain.
In 1495, Pope Innocence VIII conferred the Grand Master ship to the Spanish Crown, but just in 1587, it was fully integrated into the Spanish Monarchy. After its incorporation, the Order became an Order at the service of the Spanish Crown.
The Order was suppressed in 1873 during the First Spanish Republic, but it was re-instituted next year by Alfonso XII during the Bourbon Restoration (1874-1931.) Later, during the Second Spanish Republic (1931-1939), the Order was under command of the Pope in Rome; it was only until 1939, just after the end of the Civil War, that the Order returned under Spanish control.
The original insignia was a green badge shaped like a pear tree; since 1213, the Order's insignia was changed to emulate the badge of the Order of Calatrava, but in green color.
All members held the rank of Chevalier (Knight) and once the Order fell under control of the Kingdom of Spain, noble birth was mandatory to enter into the Order.
Identical to the badge wear by the Chevaliers of the Order of Calatrava, the Order's badge depicts green color instead of red.
The Order is currently awarded in recognition of the defense of Christianity. The recipients must have a noble origin, being able to trace their nobility lineage.
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