Order of Naval Merit, I Class Cross (white distinction pension, Royal Crown)
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The Order of Naval Merit (Orden al Mérito Naval) was established by Queen Isabel II/Isabella II on August 3, 1866. It was founded to recognize the Spanish Navy Force which was taking part of many overseas battles at that time. The Order also recognized the civil and commercial ships who served to the Spanish Navy in combat.
The Order was awarded to members of the Spanish Naval Forces, Civil Guard, civilians, and foreigners for meritorious and gallant actions within the sphere of naval service.
The original grades were Grand Cross (or IV Class), III Class, II Class, and I Class. The Grand Cross was awarded to Admirals, III Class was awarded to Captains, II Class for Colonels of frigates, and I Class was for Lieutenants. The Silver Cross was added by the First Republic (1873-1874) to award marines and lowest classes. The decorations with Pension Distinction were instituted in 1891.
In 1869, the Order was divided into White Distinction (white enamels) and Red Distinction (red enamels). The decorations with White Distinction were awarded in recognition of distinguished services and actions rendered to Spain in peacetime. Otherwise, the decorations with Red Distinction were awarded in recognition of courage and effective actions in overseas combats.
The Bi-color decoration was added in 1925, in recognition of merits in peacetime with eminent risk of the life. This decoration was suppressed in 1931.
The Cross features a clasp on the 12 o'clock arm with the date and name of the campaign. If the Order is awarded more than once, the clasps are added on the arms of the Cross.
In 1995, the Order was amended by Juan Carlos I, and the yellow and blue distinctions were added to the Order.
The Order has not motto.
The Order is classified into Types based on the 1995 amended. Type I includes the decorations between 1864 and 1995, while Type II includes the Order after 1995.
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