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The Brazilian Order of Christ
The Orders of Christ, Aviz and St. James were awarded in the Kingdom of Brazil after the departure of King John VI to Lisbon in 1821, by Prince Peter under the authority and by delegation of his father at least, until the declaration of independence of Brazil, in 1822.

From this date until 1827, the Emperor Peter I of Brazil (1822­1831) conferred grades of the Orders of Christ, Aviz and St. James, although never invoking the quality of Grand Master, which he was not, but rather as Emperor of Brazil. Upon the death of King John VI of Portugal, D. Peter I of Brazil was recognized as his heir to the crown of Portugal by the liberal current.

Wishing to resolve the question of the Grandmaster ship of the Portuguese Ancient Military Orders in Brazil, Peter I (IV of Portugal) asked the Pope, through the Brazilian Ambassador to the Holy See, to recognize the rights in Brazil, which once belonged to the Kings of Portugal.

This gave rise to the Bull Praeclara Portugaliiae Algarbiorumque Regum, of May 15 1827, given by Pope Leo XII, by which was created a Brazilian branch of the Order of Christ. Notwithstanding, the Bull provoked a great political dispute and was never ratified by the Imperial Parliament.

From this point one might say, following Marques Poliano, that the Portuguese Orders ceased to exist as such, in the Empire of Brazil.

In 1843, under Emperor Dom Pedro II, the Orders of Christ, Aviz and of St. James were recognized in Brazil as National Orders having the Emperor as its Grandmaster. The insignia was basically the same with the addition of the Imperial Crown to the Star and altering the ribbon to distinguish it from the Portuguese Orders of the same name. These Brazilian Orders lasted till the Republican Constitution of 1891 abolished them.

Even though the order seam to be awarded over a long period of time, actual decorations are quite rare. Fred Atlmann points out only 2 known knight cross decorations, a star and a grandmaster cross, which seamed to be build on the base of a cross of the Order of the Southern Cross.

Here a knights decoration, front and back:

And from some different manufactures:


with Dom Pedro I crown with Dom Pedro II crown

As all the other Brazilian order with the exception of the Order of the Southern Cross and the Order of Aviz the Order of Christ was cancelled March 22, 1890, by the interim government of the united states of Brazil.

award document for a knight cross

© A. Schulze Ising, VII/01

© 2005