Colonial Merits Badge widely known as the Lion Order was instituted in two classes in 1922 by the German Colonial Veterans Union (Deutschen Kolonialkrieger-Bund, DKKB) that was founded by the retired Major-General (Generalmajor a.D. [außer Dienst]) Georg Ludwig Rudolf Maercker (21.09.1865-31.12.1924).
Lion Order 1st Class was issued to former military personnel of the Imperial German colonial troops (Kämpfer der Schutztruppen), East Asian expeditionary Corps (Ostasiatische Expeditionskorps), occupation forces in China (Besatzungstruppen in China) as well as to former sailors of the Imperial Navy (Kaiserliche Marine) who served overseas.
Colonial Merits Badge 2nd Class was presented to German settlers who hadn’t directly took part in combat actions being civilians but rendered service to colonial authorities. Those who remained in the territory of the former German Empire but contributed considerably to implementation of the colonial policy, even if they were not actually members of the Deutschen Kolonialkrieger-Bund, were also eligible for decoration with the Lion Order 2nd Class.
Design of the Löwenorden was elaborated by the Berlin-based German sculptor, artist and engraver Karl Richard Möbius (20.05.1876-1953).
Colonial Merits Badge had a shape of an eight-pointed star with a superimposed circular medallion bordered with a wide rim that bore an inscription “For merits in colonies” (“Für Verdienste um die Kolonien”). Roaring lion facing left was laying against a background featuring a palm tree. A composition blocking three lower points of a star was situated at the bottom of the badge. It consisted of a traditional wide-brimmed hat of colonial troops, or Südwester superimposed on a pair of crossed swords facing upwards and bordered with two oak branches.
A reverse bore a horizontal inscription “As a remembrance” (“In memoriam”) in two rows and a patent number “Ges.Gesch. Nr.34162” running in semicircle at its bottom.
Kolonialauszeichnung 1st Class that measured 45х45-
Kolonialauszeichnung 2 nd Class measuring 45x45 mm was made of bronze and was worn suspended from a silk ribbon symbolizing colours of collars and cuffs of German colonial troops. Thus it had a central wide red stripe (standing for Togo and Cameroon), flanked by a wide blue stripe at its right (German Southwest Africa) and a wide white stripe at its left (German East Africa). A ribbon was edged by thin saffron yellow stripes that stood for Asian German protectorates.
Löwenorden was issued in 1922-1935, approximately 10,000 pieces of both classes were presented.