This exhibition of Latin American orders and medals from the Robert L. Ross Collection at Princeton University spans the two centuries from the rise of movements for political independence through to the present. It includes the Spanish religious-military orders that had their origin in the Crusades and the Reconquista, the first medals issued in colonial Latin America, the many decorations awarded during the nineteenth century, and a new generation of twentieth-century republican orders for diplomatic, military, political, and cultural achievements.

The medals on display were awarded for service in regional wars, internal insurgencies, and foreign invasions. By contrast, the orders illustrate the desire of Latin American governments to promote diplomatic and political goals and to create a national identity and culture in a region where language, religion, and laws derived from a common colonial heritage.

This exhibition is accompanied by a definitive catalogue for sale in the office of the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections at the end of this hall. Parenthetical numbers in labels correspond to the catalogue listings. Pieces labeled RLR are on loan from the personal collection of Robert L. Ross; those labeled PUNC are in the Princeton University Numismatic Collection.


There will be three public curatorial tours of the exhibition: Friday, February 28, 3 p.m.; Sunday, April 13, 1:30 p.m.; and Thursday, May 29, 3 p.m. On Sunday, April 13, at 3 p.m., Professor Miguel Angel Centeno of the Department of Sociology and the Woodrow Wilson School will give a public lecture on the exhibition in McCormick Hall 101.

A full color catalogue of the exhibition, containing 736 pages with 969 color photographs, is available for $125 from the Friends of Princeton University Library, One Washington Road, Princeton, NJ 08544. Inquiries about ordering can made to Linda Oliveira at or at (609) 258-3155.