Established in the February 1807, it was intended as a reward for "undaunted courage" by the lower ranks (soldiers, sailors and NCOs) of the military. Article four of the decree ordered the decoration to hang from the same ribbon as the Order of St. George. There was only a single class with no restriction as to the number of awards per person.
An 1856 royal decree divided the decoration into four classes. A person initially received the fourth class and would subsequently be promoted to higher classes for further acts of bravery; one who received all four classes was called a "Full Cavalier of Saint George". The first and second classes were made of gold, the third and fourth were made of silver. The numbering on the reverse began anew for each class of the decoration.
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