White enamel and silver-gilt five pointed cross pattée, each arm of white enamel edged with two rays, the outer ray longer than the inner ray, on laterally-pierced ball suspension; the face with a circular central silver gilt medallion bearing the Malagasy arms of the head of a zebu surmounted by baobab branches, stalks of wheat to either side within a red enamel ring bearing the inscription in gilt letters ‘REPOBLIKA MALAGASY’; the reverse with a circular central medallion circumscribed ‘FAHAFAHANA TANINDRAZANA FANDROSOANA’ (Fatherland, Liberty, Justice) and dated ’14 OCTOBRE 1958’; please note the red enamel below the letters ‘GAS’ has been damaged and repaired; on original ribbon with rosette denoting an award of the Officer class.
The Order was created on 14 October 1958, the date on which the Malagasy Republic was proclaimed. Initially an autonomous state tied to France, it became fully independent on 26 June 1960. In June 1975, a socialist regime was established under Didier Ratsiraka and the word ‘DEMOKRATIKA’ was added to the inscription on the face. (As usual, with any regime terming itself ‘democratic’, it was anything but).
This example dates from the period 1958 to 1975 and was awarded to a German diplomat who served at Antananarivo in the late 1960s.