Order of the African Star
|Order of the African Star
Ordre de l'Étoile africaine
|Commander's Cross of the Order of the African Star|
|Awarded by Kingdom of Belgium|
|Type||Order of Merit with five classes and three medals|
|Motto||TRAVAIL ET PROGRES -
ARBEID EN VOORUITGANG
|Awarded for||Promotion of African civilisation|
|Status||Dormant (Members still living,
but no longer conferred since 1962)
|Sovereign||His Majesty King Philippe|
|Grades (w/ post-nominals)||Grand Cross
|Established||1888 - 1908 (Order of Congo Free State)
1908 - 1962 (as Belgian Order)
|Next (higher)||Order of Leopold|
|Next (lower)||Royal Order of the Lion|
The Order of the African Star (Dutch: Orde van de Afrikaanse Ster, French: Ordre de l'Étoile africaine) was established by King Leopold II of the Belgians on 30 December 1888, in his capacity as ruler of the Congo Free State, and was awarded for services to Congo and for the "promotion of African civilisation in general". It was incorporated into the Belgian honours system on 10 October 1908 following the annexation of the Congo Free State by Belgium. The motto of the Order is "Travail et progrès" (French: Labour and progress). The King of the Belgians is its Grand Master. Even though Congo is no longer a Belgian colony, it is still considered to be a Belgian Order.
The Order of the African Star is administered by the FPS Foreign Affairs and has five classes and three medals:
- Grand Cross, which wears the badge on a sash on the right shoulder, plus the star on the left chest;
- Grand Officer, which wears the badge on a necklet and a smaller star on the left chest;
- Commander, which wears the badge on a necklet;
- Officer, which wears the badge on a ribbon with rosette on the left chest;
- Knight, which wears the badge on a ribbon on the left chest;
- Medals in Gold, Silver and Bronze on a ribbon on the left chest.
The Badge of the order is a white enamelled five-pointed star with blue borders, surrounded by a crown of green enamelled palm leaves. The central disk shows a gold star on blue enamelled background surrounded by a gold ring displaying the motto of the order: Travail et Progrès (work and progress). The reverse is similar to the obverse but with a central disc of red enamel with a stylised 'double L' crowned Leopold II monogram superimposed. The whole badge is topped by a royal crown linked to the ribbon.
The Plaque is a 10-pointed star, with (for Grand Cross) alternating faceted golden points and rayed silver points, or (for Grand Officer) made of plain silver with alternating faceted points and rayed points. The central disc shows the obverse of the badge, including the surrounding green enamelled palm leaves, and in the top the 'double L' Leopold II monogram. The whole plaque is topped by a royal crown.
The Medal is round in gold, silver and bronze versions, with a suspension in the form of a royal crown with two pendelia and a ribbon ring. The obverse shows a finely ribbed central area with bead surround, with a star superimposed. The surrounding circlet carries the motto of the order: Travail et Progrès (work and progress) - the later issues are bilingual including the Dutch Arbeid en Vooruitgang in the lower half of the circlet. The reverse is a stylised 'double L' crowned Leopold II monogram within a palm wreath.
The Ribbon of the order is azure blue with a large central pale yellow stripe. When awarded in war time, the ribbon of the Order may be adorned with a silver of gold palm.
The Ribbon bar of the order is worn on the semi-formal dress uniform.
|Collar of the Order|
|Front view - Reverse view|
|Ribbon bars & Decorations|
|Grand Cross||Grand Officer||Commander||Officer||Knight|
|Gold Medal||Silver Medal||Bronze Medal|
The Order of the African Star was awarded for especially meritorious service performed in the Belgian Congo. Its award was rare and required the approval of the Council of Ministers.
- Grand Masters : Leopold II - Albert I - Leopold III - Baudouin - Albert II
- Order of Leopold
- Royal Order of the Lion
- Order of the Crown
- Order of Leopold II
- List of Belgian decorations
- List of Belgian military decorations
- Royal Decree of 26 March 1953 Creating Palms for the Order of the African Star and the Royal Order of the Lion when Awarded in War Time (Moniteur Belge of 14 April 1953)
- Borné A.C., Distinctions honorifiques de la Belgique, 1830-1985 (Bruxelles: 1985)
- Van Hoorebeke P., 175 Ans de l'Ordre de Léopold et les Ordres Nationaux Belges (MRA: 2007)
- Order of the African Star (dead link as of 2013-07-23)
- Order of the African Star - Archived (Archived version of the above, with pictures)
- Order of the African Star - Alternate (Alternate source)