The Ancient and Most Noble Military Order of the Tower and of the Sword, of the Valour, Loyalty and Merit (Portuguese: Antiga e Muito Nobre Ordem Militar da Torre e Espada, do Valor, Lealdade e Mérito), before 1910 Royal Military Order of the Tower and Sword (Portuguese: Real Ordem Militar da Torre e Espada), 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. Private Anibal Milhais was the only Portuguese Army private to be awarded the Order of the Tower and the Sword for Valor for his actions in Lys, Belgium during World War I.
|Military Order of the Tower and of the Sword, of Valour, Loyalty and Merit|
Ordem Militar da Torre e Espada, do Valor, Lealdade e Mérito
|Awarded by Portuguese Republic|
|Motto||VALOR, LEALDADE E MÉRITO|
|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|
|Grand Master||President of the Portuguese Republic|
|Next (higher)||Sash of the Three Orders|
|Next (lower)||Order of Christ|
Ribbon bar of the Order of the Tower and Sword
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. The Grand Collar was meant for heads of state with notable military deeds, with Spanish General Franco the only head of state to be awarded the Grand Collar under these terms. The order was reformed in 1962 with the Grand Collar being made exclusively open to former presidents of Portugal, an exception was made in 1973 for Brazilian President Emilio Garrastazu Medici by decree-law.
The Organic Law of the Honorary Orders of 1986 kept the exclusivity of the Grand Collar for former presidents of Portugal. Exceptions to this rule were made in 1993 for Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and in 2000 for King Juan Carlos I of Spain, who were awarded the Grand Collar by special decree-law.
The Law of Honorary Orders of 2011 opened the Grand Collar to foreign heads of state and to those of exceptional achievements while maintaining the automatic appointments of presidents of Portugal at the end of their terms.
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."
Grand Collar (GColTE)
Grand Cross (GCTE)
Grand Officer (GOTE)
Knight (CavTE) / Dame (DamTE)
In accordance with the law[clarification needed] those awarded with any degree from the Military Order of the Tower and Sword of Valor, Loyalty and Merit have the following rights: