Order of the White Lion

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the Order of the White Lion. For other uses, see Order of the Lion.
Order of the White Lion
First Class Star of the Order of the White Lion
Star of the first class of order (1922–1961)
Awarded by the President of the Czech Republic
Type Order
Motto PRAVDA VÍTĚZÍ (Truth Prevails)
Day October 28
Awarded for Outstanding services to the Czech Republic
Status Currently constituted
Sovereign Miloš Zeman
Grades (w/ post-nominals) Grand Cross
Grand Officier
Commander
Officer
Knight
Established December 7, 1922
July 9, 1994
Precedence
Next (lower) Order of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk
Order of the White Lion ribbon
Ribbon bar of the Order of the White Lion

The Order of the White Lion (Czech: Řád Bílého lva) is the highest order of the Czech Republic. It continues a Czechoslovak order of the same name created in 1922 as an award for foreigners. (Czechoslovakia had no civilian decoration for its citizens in the 1920s and 1930s). It was inspired by the Czech Nobility Cross created in 1814 by the Emperor and King Francis I and awarded to 37 Bohemian noblemen.

1922–1961[edit]

The order was created as an award for merit by Czechoslovakia for foreign citizens. The Order was established in five classes and two divisions, civil (with two crossed palms above the badge) and military (with two crossed swords above the badge). Medals were made of gold and silver. The numbers of recipients was originally limited, with the limits changing during later years. The Statutes of the order were amended in 1924, 1930, and 1936.

The badge of the Order was a five-sided red enameled star, the ends adorned with small balls, and with leaflets between the arms. In middle of the star is a silver lion, taken from the national coat of arms. The reverse or the Star is also red enameled, with the coat of arms of the former parts of Czechoslovakia (Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia, Slovakia and Carpathian Ruthenia).

Cross
I Class with collar - reserved for heads of state, introduced in 1924. Collar can be awarded separately.
I Class - Grand cross - limited to 250 recipients
II Class - Grand Officer - limited to 400 recipients
III Class - Commander - limited to 900 recipients
IV Class - Officer - limited to 1500 recipients, cross was smaller than the cross of the II/III class.
V Class - Knight - limited to 3000 recipients, cross was similar to IV Class, but in silver.
Gold medal
Silver medal

Subsequent to World War II, the Order of the White Lion became an award to those who had helped liberate Czechoslovakia from occupation by Nazi Germany. Following the surrender of Germany in May 1945, a large number of foreign bestowals were made by presenting the Order of the White Lion to senior officers of the Allied militaries. Dwight Eisenhower and George S. Patton are two Americans who received the Order of the White Lion after the close of World War II. A similar Order with the same name, Military Order of the White Lion was instituted in 1945 and could be conferred upon both Czechoslovak citizens and foreigners.

1961–1992[edit]

The Order was remodeled after the change of the official name of Czechoslovakia and its national arms. A new regulation was issued for the order, and was divided into three classes (I, II, and III, with I being the highest). The Collar was reserved only for foreign heads of state.

I Class - consisted of the badge and sash star
II Class - neck badge and star worn on the right breast
III Class - neck badge

The Order of the White Lion continued to exist in this form until the dissolution of Czechoslovakia.

Since 1994[edit]

The Order of the White Lion awarded to Lech Kaczynski, the President of the Republic of Poland

In 1994, the order was re-established as the highest decoration of the Czech Republic; unlike in the past, it is now awarded by the President of the Czech Republic to Czech citizens and foreigners alike for outstanding services to the Czech Republic. It is issued in five classes, with the fifth and fourth classes presented as crosses, the third class awarded as an order that is worn around the neck, the second class as an order that is worn around the neck with chest star, and the first class as a grand cross (sash with badge and star).

The supreme grade of the Order of the White Lion, the first class accompanied by a gold neck chain may only be awarded to Heads of State. By law, the President is entitled to the first class insignia including the chain; after leaving the office, it may be conferred upon him for life by a joint resolution of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate.

Ribbon bars[edit]

Order's of the White Lion ribbon bars
ČSSR
(1961 – 1990)
ČSFR
(1990 – 1992)
Czech Republic
(since 1994)
I Class
TCH Rad Bileho Lva 1 tridy (pre1990) BAR.svg
TCH Rad Bileho Lva 1 tridy (1990) BAR.svg
CZE Rad Bileho Lva 1 tridy BAR.svg
II Class
TCH Rad Bileho Lva 2 tridy (pre1990) BAR.svg
TCH Rad Bileho Lva 2 tridy (1990) BAR.svg
CZE Rad Bileho Lva 2 tridy BAR.svg
III Class
TCH Rad Bileho Lva 3 tridy (pre1990) BAR.svg
TCH Rad Bileho Lva 3 tridy (1990) BAR.svg
CZE Rad Bileho Lva 3 tridy BAR.svg
IV Class not created
TCH Rad Bileho Lva 4 tridy (1990) BAR.svg
CZE Rad Bileho Lva 4 tridy BAR.svg
V Class not created
TCH Rad Bileho Lva 5 tridy (1990) BAR.svg
CZE Rad Bileho Lva 5 tridy BAR.svg

External links[edit]