Peninsular War

This section – the only obeying to a given period of the history of Portugal, which witnessed the beginning of the concession of decorations – will include all decorations – except orders of chivalry – created after the French Revolution and the wars which took place against the France, like the Campaigns of Roussillon and Catalonia (1793-95) and the Peninsular War, which begun with the Franco-Spanish invasion of Portugal in 1807 and lasted till 1814 with the invasion of France by the Allied Armies under the command of Lord Wellington.

The decorations then created are thus divided into two groups:

Firstly, those created or sanctioned by the Junta Governativa do Reino, which include those of the Academic Battalion of Coimbra; those of the Ecclesiastic Corps of Coimbra and Oporto and the Distinction Laces to reward the national uprising against the invaders. A reference also to the Olhão Restoration Medal which although created at Rio de Janeiro was intended to reward the upheaval of the population of this Algarve town against the French.

Secondly, those created after the end of the Peninsular War in order to reward the military (Officers and Soldiers) who with courage and sacrifice in the long years of campaign had fought the French. Apart from Portuguese subjects, all British and Hanoverian Officers who served in the Portuguese Army and had the necessary prerequisites established in the Rules also received the awards.

Later, also the civilians, including British subjects, who had served in the Army were awarded a specific medal.

Thus, the official decorations of the Peninsular War, despite several types and special circumstances, were:

  • Medal of Command for the Peninsular War;
  • The Decoration Cross for the Peninsular War for Officers
  • The Decoration Cross for the Peninsular War for soldiers
  • Two Medals for Civilians of the Army (superior and inferior)

By Paulo Jorge Estrela

Further reading: Paulo Jorge Estrela. «Ordens e Condecorações Portuguesas 1793-1824», Lisboa, Tribuna da História, 2008, pp. 94-137

Medals of Command of the PW – Digital infogram (1-12 actions)
Medal of Command PW –  “5”  Reverse
Decoration Cross PW for Offciers, gold, “6” Reverse 
Decoration Cross PW for Offciers, in silver, “2”  
Decoration Cross PW for soldiers  
Decoration Cross PW for Offciers, “6”, Britsh made
Medal for Civilians PW (Superior),  “4”, «Royalist» ribbon  Reverse
Medal for Civilians PW (Superior),  “4”, «Liberal» ribbon Reverse 

Medal for Civilians PW (Inferior)