Gilt cross flory (Cross of Aviz) with loop for ribbon suspension; the face with a circular central medallion bearing the five escutcheons from the Portuguese coat of arms on a stippled ground within a ring inscribed ‘LEGIÃO PORTUGUESA · MERITO’, the arms stippled; the reverse plain gilt; on replaced incorrect ribbon with original gilt buckle bearing a cross flory (Cross of Aviz).
The Legião Portuguesa was a paramilitary organisation founded in 1936 in support of the right-wing dictatorship of António de Oliveira Salazar then threatened by internal dissent and Spanish Republicans as the Civil War in neighbouring Spain flared.
Its aim was ‘defender o património espiritual da Nação e combater a ameaça comunista e o anarquismo’ (to defend the spiritual heritage of the nation and combat the threat of Communism and Anarchism).
From the 1940s, the regime’s grip on power secure, it became largely a civil defence force. It was dissolved on 25 April 1974 after the fall of the Salazar government.
The Cross is rare.