Order of the Tower and Sword

Order of the Tower and Sword
Ordem Militar da Torre e Espada
Badge, collar and star of the order
Awarded by Portuguese Republic
Type Order
Eligibility Portuguese and foreigners; military and civilian
Awarded for Awarded for exceptional and outstanding merits in the highest offices in Parliament, Government, courts of justice or in the presidency of the Republic or in the command of troops in campaign; for military or civic deeds of heroism and to reward outstanding acts of abnegation and sacrifice for Portugal or mankind
Status Currently constituted
Sovereign President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa
Chancellor General Vasco Joaquim Rocha Vieira
Grades (w/ post-nominals) Grand Collar
Grand Cross
Grand Officer
Established 1459
Next (higher) None (highest)
Next (lower) Order of Christ
Ribbon bar of the Order of the Tower and Sword

The Military Order of the Tower and of the Sword, of Valour, Loyalty and Merit (Portuguese: Ordem Militar da Torre e Espada do Valor, Lealdade e Mérito) is a Portuguese order of knighthood and the pinnacle of the Portuguese honours system. It was created by King Afonso V in 1459. The order may be bestowed on people or on Portuguese municipalities.


The order was originally created by King Afonso V of Portugal in 1459, under the name of the Order of the Sword, inspired by the legend that Arab rule in Africa would end when a Christian prince would besiege the fortress at Fez. Knighthood in the Order of the Sword was given as reward to those who participated in the conquests and battles in Africa. The order fell into disuse after the conquest of Tangiers and Asilah.

The order was revived on 29 November 1808, by Prince Regent John, later John VI of Portugal. It commemorated the safe arrival of the Royal Family in the Portuguese colony of Brazil, after Napoleon had invaded Portugal. Its full title was “the Royal Order of the Tower and Sword”. It was available to both Portuguese and foreigners and for military, political or civilian achievement. Among the intended recipients were subjects of His Britannic Majesty, who had assisted the Royal Family to reach Brazil, but who were ineligible for the other Portuguese orders due to their religion.

In 1832, Peter, Duke of Braganza (who was then Regent for his daughter Queen Maria II), reformed the Order which now became the Ancient and Most Noble Military Order of the Tower and of the Sword, of Valour, Loyalty and Merit.

In 1896, the class of Grand Officer was inserted between Grand Cross and Commander.

On 15 October 1910, after the end of the monarchy, the new Republican government of Portugal abolished all military orders, with the exception of the Order of the Tower and Sword. Despite the fact that the order had not been abolished, on 26 September 1917 the order was revised for the third time. The order had four classes, the highest of which was confined to the President of the Republic of Portugal.

The President is ex officio the Order’s Grand Master and a member of the Order, Grand Cross.

The degree of Grand Collar was added in 1939. It was awarded only to Heads of State with notable military deeds and since 1963 it has only been awarded to Presidents of Portugal.



The Order of the Tower and Sword, as awarded by the Portuguese government today, comes in six classes:

Rear Admiral Thomas Western was one of the first to be awarded a Knighthood of the Order of the Tower and Sword. "In 1807 the Admiral (then Captain) Western rescued the Portuguese royal family from Napoleon's advancing ground forces and conveyed them to Brazil. In gratitude the King of Portugal made Thomas Western a Knight Commander in the Portuguese Order of the Tower and Sword."[1][2][3]

Ribbon bars
Grand Collar (GColTE)
Grand Cross (GCTE)
Grand Officer (GOTE)
Commander (ComTE)
Officer (OTE)
Knight (CavTE) / Dame (DamTE)

Current knights and officers

Insignia from the 19th century

Grand Collar:

Grand Cross:

Grand Officer:




See also


External links

This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/28/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.