Suvarna Garge (Editor)

Order of Isabella the Catholic

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State Order

Currently constituted

Royal house
House of Bourbon-Spain

Grand Master
King Felipe VI

Order of Isabella the Catholic

"'A La LEALTAD ACRISOlADA("To Proven Loyalty")and"POR ISABEL La CATÓLICA("For Isabella the Catholic")

Awarded for
Actions in benefit to Spain and the Crown

The Order of Isabella the Catholic (Spanish: Orden de Isabel la Católica) is a Spanish civil order granted in recognition of services that benefit the country. The Order is not exclusive to Spaniards, and it has been awarded to many foreigners.


The Order was created on 14 March 1815 by King Ferdinand VII of Spain in honor of Queen Isabella I of Castile with the name of "Royal and American Order of Isabella the Catholic" with the intent of "rewarding the firm allegiance to Spain and the merits of Spanish citizens and foreigners in good standing with the Nation and especially in those exceptional services provided in pursuit of territories in America and overseas." The Order was reorganized by royal decree on 26 July 1847, as the modern "Royal Order of Isabella the Catholic" with a broader focus than the Americas.

Officials and grades

The King of Spain (currently Felipe VI) is Grand Master of the Order. The Grand Chancellor of the Order is the Minister of Foreign Affairs. All deeds granting decorations of the Order must bear the signatures of both. Members of the order at the knight and above enjoy personal nobility and have the privilege of adding a golden heraldic mantle to their coat of arms. Knights at the rank of Grand Cross and Knight of the Collar receive the official style of "His or Her most Excellent Lord". Knights at the rank of commander and commander by number receive the style of "His or Her Most Illustrious Lord". Beneath these two officials of the Order, there are currently several grades:

  • First Class
  • Knight of the Collar (Caballeros del Collar) (limited to 25 people)
  • Knight Grand Cross (Caballeros Gran Cruz) (limited to 500 people)
  • Second Class
  • Commander by Number (Encomienda de Número) (limited to 800 people)
  • Commander (Encomienda)
  • Third Class
  • Officer's Cross (Cruz de Oficial)
  • Fourth Class
  • Knight's Cross (Cruz de Caballeros)
  • Fifth Class
  • Silver Cross (Cruz de Plata)
  • Sixth Class
  • Silver Medal (Medalla de Plata)
  • Bronze Medal (Medalla de Bronce)
  • The original statutes of the order of 24 March 1815 established the order in three classes. The structure of the order has varied several times since then. The following is a summary of the history of the various grades and medals of the order:

  • Knights of the Collar (Caballeros del Collar) – Established 22 June 1927.
  • Knights Grand Cross (Caballeros Gran Cruz) – Established 24 March 1815.
  • Knight First Class (Caballeros de Primera Clase) – Established 24 March 1815, retitled Commander (Comdador) on 24 July 1815.
  • Officer (Oficial) – Established 10 October 1931, abolished 15 June 1938 and restored 5 June 1971.
  • Knight Second Class (Caballeros de Segunda Clase) – Established 24 March 1815, retiled Knight (Caballeros) on 24 July 1815.
  • Silver Cross (Cruz de Plata) – Established 16 March 1903 to reward civil and palace officials.
  • Gold Medal with Laureate (Medal de Oro pero Laureada) – Established on 24 July 1815 for award to European sergeants and enlisted men. Subsequently abolished.
  • Gold Medal (Medal de Oro) – Established on 24 July 1815 for award to non-European 'natives'. Subsequently abolished.
  • Silver Medal (Medal de Plata) – Established 15 April 1907 to reward non-commissioned officers and junior civil officials.
  • Bronze Medal (Medal de Bronce) – Established 15 April 1907 to reward non-commissioned officers and junior civil officials.
  • Women appointed to an applicable grade are not called Knights (Caballeros). Women are instead appointed as Dames of the Collar (Damas del Collar), Dames Grand Cross (Damas Gran Cruz) or Dame's Cross (Cruz de Damas).

    Order decoration

    The decoration is a red-enameled cross, with a golden frame. The outer peaks are fitted with small gold balls. The center of the medallion contains the inscription "A La Lealtad Acrisolada" (To Proven Loyalty) and "Por Isabel la Católica" (For Isabella the Catholic) on white enamel. Above the cross is a green enameled laurel wreath with the band ring.

    The ribbon is yellow with a white central stripe, except the "Collar", the wearing of which can be replaced by a gold-yellow sash with white stripes on the edges.


    Order of Isabella the Catholic Wikipedia