Mexican Imperial Orders

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Chains of the Order of Our Lady of Guadalupe (below) and of the Order of the Mexican Eagle

There were three Imperial Orders of the Mexican Empire, created to reward those subjects loyal to the Monarchy during the two periods of the Mexican Empire – the Order of Guadalupe (Spanish: la Orden de Guadalupe), the Order of the Mexican Eagle (Spanish: la Orden del Águila Mexicana), and the Order of Saint Charles (Spanish: la Orden de San Carlos).

All three were abolished after the fall of the Second Mexican Empire and the execution of Maximilian I in 1867. Today, Article 12 of the Constitution of Mexico bans the creation and award of titles of nobility and other hereditary honours. Additionally, Article 37 strips Mexican citizenship from those who accept titles that require allegiance to a foreign government or monarch. Foreign awards that do not require allegiance to a foreign government can be accepted after being approved by the Mexican Congress.

Order of Guadalupe[edit]

Cross of "National Order of Our Lady of Guadalupe"

The Order of Guadalupe (originally: "National Order of Our Lady of Guadalupe") was established by Emperor Agustín I of Mexico in the fall of 1821, although its statutes would not be published until February 1822. It was originally divided into two classes: Grand Cross and Numerary Member. After the death of the Agustin I, the Order fell out of use and remained inactive for 30 years until Antonio López de Santa Anna convinced Pope Pius IX to recognize it in 1854. It fell into disuse again in August of that same year after the successful Ayutla Revolution and the ousting of Santa Anna from government.

The third and last period of the Order began on June 30, 1863, before the arrival of Maximilian I, by decree of the Provisional Imperial Government. Maximilian I modified the statutes of the Order for the last time on April 10, 1865, renaming the order "Imperial" (instead of "National") and divided it into four ranks, each with civilian and military divisions:

  • Grand Cross, limited to 30 recipients.
  • Grand Officer, limited to 100 recipients.
  • Commander, limited to 200 recipients.
  • Knight, limited to 500 recipients.

Among those who received this honour were Vicente Guerrero, Agustín de Iturbide, Alexander von Humboldt and Léopold I of Belgium.

Order of the Mexican Eagle[edit]

The Imperial Order of the Mexican Eagle was created by Maximilian I on January 1, 1865. It consisted of two classes: the Superior Class only available to Heads of State, awarded a Grand Cross with Collar; and the Ordinary Class, consisting of the following ranks:

  • Grand Cross
  • Grand Officer
  • Commander
  • Officer
  • Knight

The award survives partially (in name at least) in the modern Mexican Order of the Aztec Eagle.

Imperial Order of Saint Charles[edit]

Cross of the Order of Saint Charles

The Imperial Order of Saint Charles was created by Maximilian I on April 10, 1866. It was awarded exclusively to women who excelled in the service of their community. The Order honoured Saint Charles Borromeo, Patron Saint of Empress Carlota, sovereign of the Order. It was divided into two classes: the Grand Cross, awarded to only 24 Ladies; and the Cross, without any limit upon the number of women who might receive it.

Grand Crosses[edit]

Empress Charlotte wearing the sash and insignia of the Order of Saint Charles

Some Ladies Grand Cross of the Order of Saint Charles include:[1]

See also[edit]



External links[edit]