Orders, decorations, and medals of Spain

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The oldest Military Honours of Spain existing today originated mainly at the time of the Islamic occupation of Spain.

Historical Orders of Chivalry

Crown of Aragón

Crown of Castile

Current Orders of Chivalry

The Catholic Monarchs Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon introduced a military honours system which was approved by the Pope Adrian V in 1523. They awarded titles and hereditary honours to nobles and soldiers. Of those titles only the following still exist today:

Dynastic Order

Military Decorations

Other Military Awards

International Military Decorations


Obsolete International Military Decorations

Civil Decorations


[clarification needed]

  • Insignia, Grand Cross and Star of the Order of Isabella the Catholic.svg The Real Orden de Isabel la Católica (Royal Order of Isabella the Catholic), established by Fernand VII in 1815, to “reward unflinching loyalty to Spain and the merits of Spanish and foreign subjects in benefit of the Nation and especially those services relating to the prosperity of the American and other overseas territories”. The decoration is currently the responsibility of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • Grand Cross and Star of the Order of Civil Merit (Spain).svg The Orden del Mérito Civil (Order of Civil Merit), established by Alfonso XIII in 1926 to “reward the civic virtues of civil servants as well as the extraordinary services to the Nation of Spanish and foreign subjects”. It too is currently the responsibility of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Politics & Justice

  • 30px The Orden de la Cruz de San Raimundo de Peñafort (Order of the Cross of Saint Raymond of Penyafort), established in 1944 to “reward relevant merits performed by those persons involved in the administration of Justice and for their contribution and study of all branches of Law and for the untarnished services to judicial activities under the responsibility of the Ministry of Justice.[7] Depende de la Subsecretaría de Justicia, a través de la División de Tramitación de Derechos de Gracia y Otros Derechos, y dentro de la orden existen diversas cruces y medallas.[8]
  • 35px The Orden del Mérito Constitucional (Order of Constitutional Merit), established by Felipe Gonzalez’s government in 1988 to “reward those persons who distinguish themselves by their services to the Constitution and of the values established therein”. It can be awarded both to persons or organizations (public or private).[9]

Culture & Society

Social Affairs

  • 30px The Orden Civil de la Solidaridad Social (Civil Order of Social Solidarity), established in 1988 to replace the old 'Orden de Beneficencia' (Order of Charity) with the aim of “recognizing persons or organizations, both Spanish and foreign having distinguished themselves in promoting or performing activities related to social welfare”.[12]
  • 30px The Orden Civil de Sanidad (Civil Order of Health), created in 1943 to replace the old Cross of Epidemias, to the end of “rewarding service and merit in the ambit of medical care or in the course of assistance in fighting epidemias”.[13]
  • The Orden al Mérito del Plan Nacional sobre Drogas (Order of Merit of the National Drug Plan), established in 1995, it comprises 3 levels: Gold medal, for those who “have distinguished themselves in the performance of their activities or for achievements of special significance or importance, or that entailed a risk to their life, both in prevention, assistance, reinsertion or in combating drug trafficking as well as its consequences or derived illicit earnings”; Silver medal, for those “having carried out or carrying out noteworthy activities with continued dedication and solidarity, in the above mentioned areas, taking into account their real results”; White cross, for those “having shown exemplary and significant dedication in the above mentioned reas”.[14]
  • The Orden Civil del Mérito Medioambiental (Civil Order of Environmental Merit), created in 2009 to reward persons and organizations for eminent services or out-standing actions, for nature conservation, natural heritage and biodiversity preservation, the fight against climate change, environmental quality, the defense and promotion of the marine water and continental resources sustainability and, in general, initiatives on environmental protection.[15]




Autonomous cities


Obsolete Orders


  1. Pasamar Lázaro, J.E. (1996). "Inquisición en Aragón, la Cofradía de San Pedro Mártir de Verona". Revista de la Inquisición (in Spanish). Universidad Complutense: 303–305. Retrieved 1 December 2012.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Granado Hijelmo, Ignacio (2005). Las Instituciones Nobiliarias Riojanas: Un Capítulo en la Historia Institucional de la Rioja y el Derecho Nobiliario Español (in Spanish). Hidalguía. pp. 40, 41. Retrieved 25 December 2012.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Real e Insigne Orden del Toisón de Oro, accessed January 12, 2009.
  4. La insigne Orden del Toisón de Oro, historical summary of the history of Order of the Golden Fleece, accessed January 12, 2009.
  5. Orden del Ministerio de Defensa /3594/2003, of December 10, by that approved rules for ordinary processing and concession of the Crosses of the Military, Naval and Aeronautical Merit, with white badge, and of the honorific mentions, the delegation of competitions in this matter, and use of representative decorations of rewards.. BOE (03/12/23). (Spanish) Accessed December 25, 2012.
  6. Law 17/1989, of 19 July, Professional Military Personnel Regulation. BOE (20/07/1989). Accessed December 25, 2012.
  7. Orden de la Cruz de San Raimundo de Peñafort, accessed January 12, 2009.
  8. Sede electrónica del Ministerio de Justicia, the Order of San Raimundo de Peñafort, accessed January 12, 2009.
  9. Orden reguladora de dicha condecoración, accessed January 12, 20099.
  10. Heraldaria, Orders of Merit; decorations. accessed January 12, 2009.
  11. Condecoraciones españolas, the Royal Order of Civil Recognition of Victims of Terrorism, accessed January 12, 2009.
  12. Orden Civil de la Solidaridad Social, accessed January 12, 2009.
  13. Boletín Oficial del Estado, Royal Decree 1270/1983 regulating the said Order, accessed January 12, 2009.
  14. Legislación española sobre Drogas, accessed January 12, 2009.
  15. Royal Decree 1036/2009, of 29th of june, Civil Order of Environmental Merit. BOE (09/07/23). (Spanish) Accessed December 4, 2012.
  16. Medallas, accessed January 12, 2009.
  17. (Spanish) Order of the Merit of the Civil Guard Corps Statutes and Regulations. BOE (2012-10-25), accessed October 28, 2012.
  18. (Spanish) Order of Police Merit Statutes and Regulations, www.policia.es, accessed September 28, 2010.
  19. (Spanish) OrderINT/1409/2011, 10 may Service Police Decoration Regulations., accessed November 13, 2012.
  20. Medalla de las Cortes de Aragón - Cortes de Aragón(Spanish) Retrieved 2012-12-04.
  21. (Spanish) Order of the Second of May Statutes and Regulations. Community of Madrid Official Website, accessed October 28, 2012.
  22. (Spanish) Cross of the Tree of Gernika - Basque Government (Spanish)
  23. Panorama numismático, the Civil Order of María Victoria (1871-1873), accessed January 12, 2009.