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Macau History Articles


This article appeared in the March 2007 “Casa de Macau Australia Newsletter”.

‘Portuguese Awards to Hong Kong Residents’
Stuart Braga

Over many years, several members of the Macaense community of Hong Kong have been honoured with awards in one of several Portuguese Orders.Foremost among these Orders, despite its recent origin, is Ordem do Infante Dom Henrique, the Order of Prince Henry the Navigator. This Order was created in 1960 to commemorate the five hundredth anniversary of the death of Prince Henry, who was born in Porto in 1394 and died in Sagres in 1460. He was the son of King John I of Portugal and Queen Philippa, whose grandfather was King Edward III of England). He goes back, therefore, to the early days of the very long alliance between England and Portugal.


He is credited with being the mastermind behind the great century of Portuguese expansion throughout the world in the century following his death.

A recent publication in London, World Orders of Knighthood & Merit, details the elaborate insignia of this highly significant award. The Order of Prince Henry is given for relevant services to Portugal and for services in the expansion of Portuguese culture, its history and its values. It ranks after Ordem de S. Tiago da Espada, the Order of Saint James of the Sword, and before the Order of Liberty. The Order comprises five classes. The grand collar is conferred exclusively upon foreign heads of state. As with the other Portuguese Orders, it has a restricted number of members in each grade, which can only be exceeded, exceptionally, by the will of the President of the Republic as Grand Master of the Order. These are fifty grand crosses, one hundred and fifty grand officers, three hundred commanders and four hundred officers with an unlimited number of knights.

The Order may be conferred on nationals and foreigners who become its honorary members. Noncommercial institutions with more than twenty-five years' existence can also be awarded the title of honorary member. Together with the Order of Liberty, the Order of Prince Henry has a chancellor appointed by the President of the Republic for a five-year term and a council composed of eight members, also appointed by the Grand Master from among members of the highest three classes of the same Order.


The badge of the Order is a gold-edged Mantau cross enamelled red. The star of the Order is a nine-pointed gold star (silver for commanders) with plain rays, charged with a smaller nine-pointed star, having in the centre, upon a silver field, the badge encircled by a black band, having thereon the motto, TALANT DE BIEN FAIRE ('It Is a Gift To Be Able To Do Well') in gold letters, within a garlanded laurel in gold, measuring 75 mm in diameter. The grand collar, in gold, is composed, alternately, of crosses of the Order and double oak wreaths, enamelled in gold, surmounting a wreath of laurel in gold, from which is suspended the larger badge, measuring 55 mm x 65 mm.
Grand Star Cross of the Order of Prince Henry


Recipients of the grand collar also wear the grand cross riband and breast star; grand crosses wear the larger badge suspended from a riband, and a gold breast star; grand officers wear the badge suspended from a neck ribbon and a gold breast star; commanders wear the larger badge, pendant by a ribbon Grand Cross Star of the Order of Prince Henry

The Infante Dom Henrique Medal (343), the Grand Collar (340), Badge (341), and Star (342) of the Order of Prince Henry Volume 19 Issue 2 Casa Down Under March 2007 Page 4 round the neck and a silver breast star; officers wear the smaller badge, measuring 30 mm x 35 mm, suspended from a 30 mm wide breast ribbon adorned with a rosette measuring 10 mm across; knights wear the badge on an unadorned breast ribbon. The ribbon consists of three equal sized stripes in blue, white and black.


Grand Cross Ribbon and Badge of the Order of Prince Henry
The Grand Collar (340), Badge (341) and Star (342) of the Order of Prince Henry
The Infante Dom Henrique Medal (343)

Hong Kong Macaense holders of awards in the Ordem do Infante Dom Henrique include:

Arnaldo de Oliveira Sales
, born in 1920, a distinguished member of the Portuguese community of Hong Kong. His eminent career in public affairs,community service and sporting administration began in 1952 and has continued for more than half a century. He has held, among many other high public offices, those of Chairman of the Victoria Recreation Club, President of Club de Recreio and, President and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Club Lusitano. As well as numerous British
and other awards, Mr Sales has received the following Portuguese decorations:
Oficial da Ordem do Imperio, 1952 Comendador, Ordem do Infante Dom Henrique, 1968 Grande Oficial, Ordem do Infante Dom Henrique, 1984 Grã Cruz da Ordem do Infante Dom Henrique, 1999.
He is therefore one of only fifty people honoured with the award at this high level.

Jack Braga, 1897-1988, the eminent historian, who was posthumously awarded the rank of Grande Oficial, Ordem do Infante Dom Henrique, shortly after his death.
Jack Braga had earlier, in 1949, been made a Grande Cavaleiro da Ordem de S. Tiago da Espada.
Gustavo Uriel da Roza Jr., the noted Macaense architect, who designed the new 27-story building for Club Lusitano, opened in June 2002. He was awarded Comendador da Ordem do Infante Dom Henrique in 1985.

Gabriel Dias Azedo, who is currently the President of Club Lusitano, is also a Comendador da Ordem do Infante Dom Henrique.

Other prominent members of the Portuguese community of Hong Kong had received other Portuguese decorations as early as 1866. They include:

João Joaquim dos Remédios, born in Macau in 1807, was among the first Portuguese to move to Hong Kong in 1841 and became a successful businessman and company director. He was decorated as Cavaleiro da Ordem de Na. Sra. de Conceição de Vila Viçosa in 1866.

Carlos Augusto da Rosa (Roza), born in 1884, who became a prominent Hong Kong businessman. He was active in the promotion of many local enterprises and institutions. He was President of Club Lusitano several times, and Vice President of Associação Portuguesa de Socorros Mútuos. He received the honour of Comendador da Ordem de Cristo from the Portuguese Government in 1926.

José Pedro Braga, after a long and prominent career in journalism and public affairs, was in 1929 the first Portuguese appointed to the Hong Kong Legislative Council.
As well as a British decoration, he was appointed Comendador da Ordem de Cristo in recognition of a lifetime of representing the interests of Portuguese people in Hong Kong. He was an outspoken and fearless critic of government policy, especially when the lives of poor Chinese people were concerned.

Francisco Paulo de Vasconcellos ‘Frank’ Soares, another prominent businessman, was appointed Chancellor of the Portuguese Consulate in Hong Kong in 1939. He assisted hundreds of Portuguese, first by protecting them against the worst atrocities of the invaders, and then by assisting them to escape to Macau when the Japanese occupied Hong Kong in December 1941. He was earlier given the title Cavaleiro da Ordem de Cristo by the Portuguese Government in 1930.

Leonardo Horácio d’Almada e Castro, 1904-1996, besides a distinguished war service, dedicated many years of his long career to the Government of Hong Kong, serving in the Legislative Council and Executive Grand Cross Ribbon and Badge of the Order of Prince Henry Council between 1937 and 1959. The Portuguese Government honoured him with the Ordem de Cristo for his service to the Portuguese Community in Hong Kong. As well as these important personal awards, the Portuguese
Government has bestowed awards on two major community organisations, Club Lusitano and Club de Recreio. Club Lusitano has received two awards: Oficial da Ordem Militar de Cristo in October 1949 and Ordem do Infante Dom Henrique in March 1991. Club de Recreio received the honour of Oficial da Ordem Militar de Cristo in 1949.

Sources: World Orders of Knighthood & Merit, edited by Guy Stair Sainty and Rafal Heydel-Mankoo, Burke’s Peerage & Gentry, Wilmington, 2006, pages 1484-5.
Orders, Medals and Decorations of Britain and Europe by Paul Hieronymussen, Blandford Press, London, second edition, 1970.
The Portuguese Community in Hong Kong, a Pictorial History, by António M. Pacheco Jorge da Silva, in course of publication.
The assistance of Ralph Kelly, Past President of the Flag Society of Australia, is gratefully acknowledged.

: Our heartfelt thanks to Stuart Braga for writing this article. Stuart would like to point out that the people mentioned in the article do not constitute an exhaustive list of those honoured,
but rather, that those mentioned are some of the recipients of various Portuguese honours. There may well be others whose achievements can be celebrated in future issues.