Laureate Cross of Saint Ferdinand

The Royal and Military Order of Saint Ferdinand (Spanish: Real y Militar Orden de San Fernando), is a Spanish military order whose decoration, known as Laureate Cross of Saint Ferdinand (Spanish: Cruz Laureada de San Fernando), is Spain's highest military decoration for gallantry. It is awarded in recognition of action, either individual or collective, to protect the nation, its citizens, or the peace and security of the international community in the face of immediate risk to the bearer. Those eligible are current and former members of the Spanish Armed Forces.

Royal and Military Order of Saint Ferdinand
Arms of the Order of Saint Ferdinand
Awarded by Spain
TypeMilitary Order of Merit
EligibilityMilitary personnel
StatusCurrently awarded
Established31 August 1811
Next (higher)None
Next (lower)Military Medal[1]

Ribbon of the order

The Sovereign of the Order of San Fernando is the monarch of Spain,[2] who presides over the biennial chapter held in the Royal Monastery of El Escorial. The sovereign's representative in the Order is the Grand Master,[3] who governs it and is aided by the Maestranza.

Among the conditions laid out by the Royal Military Order of Saint Ferdinand for the granting of the award are:

  • that the sole purpose of the action taken wasn't the saving of one's life;
  • that the action was not motivated by improper ambition to honours unnecessarily disregarding one's (or that of one's subordinates) life;
  • that, as far as possible, the damage and number of own casualties caused by the action was minimized;
  • that the action was taken in the face of significantly adverse odds or other detrimental factors;
  • that the action taken made a crucial difference to the situation in which it occurred.

The Royal Military Order of Saint Ferdinand was set up by the Cádiz Cortes in 1811 to honour heroic feats of arms. Its awardees include Juan Prim, Juan de la Cruz Mourgeón, Francisco de Albear, José Enrique Varela Iglesias (twice awarded, in 1920, and 1921), Francisco Serrano y Domínguez, Frederick Thomas Pelham, Henry Kelly (VC), Martín Cerezo[4], Francisco Franco Bahamonde, and Mohamed Meziane.

See also



Loosely adapted from the Spanish Wikipedia article on the same topic.

  1. 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). (in Spanish) Accessed December 25, 2012.
  2. Regulation of the Royal and Military Order of San Fernando, article 2
  3. Regulation of the Royal and Military Order of San Fernando, article 3(1)
  4. 1898, Our Last Men in the Philippines, Lieutenant Martín Cerezo was the only member of the Belar garrison in 1898 so recognized.

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