Order of Naval Merit, Cross (white distinction)


SKU: 01.ESP.0116.202.01.000

  • Cross (white distinction) Obverse

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  • Image Licensing
    The image of the Cross (white division) is attributed to Heralder and Wikipedia at https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cross_of_the_Naval_Merit_(Spain)_-_White_Decoration.svg and the image was published and used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license and the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version. The image was cropped.


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.

In Type II, the Order was amended by Juan Carlos I in 1995, and the Yellow, and Blue Distinction were added.

The Order's grades are Grand Cross and Cross.

The White Distinction (white enamel) is conferred in recognition of meritorious service during missions led by the Armed Forces and connected to the defense of the Nation.

The Red Distinction (red enamel) is conferred for wartime service, specifically the courageous service within armed and military conflicts that involved the use of armed force.

The Blue Distinction (white enamel with blue enamel bars) is conferred for peacekeeping service. This version is awarded to recognize actions within international peacekeeping operations, such as those led by the United Nations.

The Yellow Distinction (white enamel with yellow enamel bars) is conferred upon individuals who were wounded while providing meritorious conduct and services that risked serious injury and death.

The Cross is awarded to soldiers, Officers, civilian personnel and Non-Commissioned Officers.

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