Established on 7 May 1765 by Stanislas August
Poniatowsky, the independent king of Poland, the Order of Saint Stanislas was adopted as a
Russian Order in 1831 by Emperor Nicholas I, who served as its Grand Master until 1917.
Initially awarded to persons who exemplified "Christian virtues," the Order of Saint Stanislas entitled recipients of the first class to hereditary nobility. It was also awarded for a distinguished career in civil or military service. For military valor, recipients received it with crossed swords.