Gaston de Raousset-Boulbon

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Gaston de Raousset-Boulbon
Gaston de Raousset-Boulbon.jpg
Born May 5, 1817
Avignon, Vaucluse, Kingdom of France
Died August 13, 1854
Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico
Cause of death execution by firing squad
Occupation Adventurer, filibuster, businessman

Charles Rene Gaston Gustave de Raousset-Boulbon (May 5, 1817 - August 13, 1854) was a French adventurer, filibuster and entrepreneur and, by some accounts a pirate, and a theoretician of colonialism.

Filibuster (military) adventurer, imperialist and/or mercenary

A filibuster or freebooter, in the context of foreign policy, is someone who engages in an unauthorized military expedition into a foreign country or territory to foment or support a revolution. The term is usually used to describe United States citizens who fomented insurrections in Latin America, particularly in the mid-19th century. Filibuster expeditions have also occasionally been used as cover for government-approved deniable operations.

Colonialism Creation, and maintenance of colonies by people from another territory

Colonialism is the policy of a nation seeking to extend or retain its authority over other people or territories, generally with the aim of opening trade opportunities. The colonizing country seeks to benefit from the colonized country or land mass. In the process, colonizers imposed their religion, economics, and medicinal practices on the natives. Some argue this was a positive move toward modernization, while other scholars counter that this is an intrinsically Eurocentric rationalization, given that modernization is itself a concept introduced by Europeans. Colonialism is largely regarded as a relationship of domination of an indigenous majority by a minority of foreign invaders where the latter rule in pursuit of its interests.


Early life

Gaston de Raousset-Boulbon was born in Avignon, Vaucluse, Kingdom of France. [1] He inherited the title of count.

Avignon Prefecture and commune in Provence-Alpes-Côte dAzur, France

Avignon is a commune in south-eastern France in the department of Vaucluse on the left bank of the Rhône river. Of the 90,194 inhabitants of the city, about 12,000 live in the ancient town centre enclosed by its medieval ramparts.

Vaucluse Department of France in Provence-Alpes-Côte dAzur

Vaucluse is a department in Southeastern France, located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region. It is named after the famous spring, the Fontaine de Vaucluse; the name Vaucluse itself derives from the Latin Vallis Clausa as the valley ends in a cliff face from which emanates a spring whose origin is so far in and so deep that it remains to be defined. The department's prefecture is Avignon; it had a population of 559,014 as of 2016.

Bourbon Restoration Period of French history, 1814-1830

The Bourbon Restoration was the period of French history following the first fall of Napoleon in 1814, and his final defeat in the Hundred Days in 1815, until the July Revolution of 1830. The brothers of the executed Louis XVI came to power, and reigned in highly conservative fashion; exiled supporters of the monarchy returned to France. They were nonetheless unable to reverse most of the changes made by the French Revolution and Napoleon. At the Congress of Vienna they were treated respectfully, but had to give up nearly all the territorial gains made since 1789.


Raousset-Boulbon moved to Algiers, where his first theories about colonialism were born; the French Revolution of 1848 killed his hopes of making a new fortune on Africa and he returned to Paris, where he failed to integrate into a society where aristocrats were fading and giving way to a new bourgeoisie.

Algiers City in Algiers Province, Algeria

Algiers is the capital and largest city of Algeria. In 2011, the city's population was estimated to be around 3,500,000. An estimate puts the population of the larger metropolitan city to be around 5,000,000. Algiers is located on the Mediterranean Sea and in the north-central portion of Algeria.

French Revolution of 1848 End of the reign of King Louis Philippe and start of the Second Republic

The 1848 Revolution in France, sometimes known as the February Revolution, was one of a wave of revolutions in 1848 in Europe. In France the revolutionary events ended the July Monarchy (1830–1848) and led to the creation of the French Second Republic.

Bourgeoisie polysemous French term which denotes the wealthy stratum of the middle class that originated during the latter part of the Middle Ages

The bourgeoisie is a polysemous French term that can mean:

Unable to survive in France, he boarded a ship sailing to the Americas as a third-class passenger, disembarking in a Colombian port. His impressions are typical of a 19th-century aristocrat: A letter to a friend describes Colombia as:

Colombia Country in South America

Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia, is a sovereign state largely situated in the northwest of South America, with territories in Central America. Colombia shares a border to the northwest with Panama, to the east with Venezuela and Brazil and to the south with Ecuador and Peru. It shares its maritime limits with Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Jamaica, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. Colombia is a unitary, constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments, with the capital in Bogota.

...the true America, the Spanish America. Ruins, mendicants, racial degradation, the haphazard mixture of all kins of blood, vagabonds playing guitar... naked children, little savages running everywhere amongst dogs... All of it in an admirable state of Nature.

The flag of Sonora created by Raousset in 1853 - modeled on the Flag of France rather than on any of Sonora's own political or social traditions. Bandera de Sonora (Gaston de Raousset-Boulbon).png
The flag of Sonora created by Raousset in 1853 - modeled on the Flag of France rather than on any of Sonora's own political or social traditions.

Raousset-Boulbon arrived in San Francisco and felt deeply disillusioned after not receiving the treatment he thought was deserved for a Count.

San Francisco Consolidated city-county in California, United States

San Francisco, officially the City and County of San Francisco, is the cultural, commercial, and financial center of Northern California. San Francisco is the 13th-most populous city in the United States, and the fourth-most populous in California, with 884,363 residents as of 2017. It covers an area of about 46.89 square miles (121.4 km2), mostly at the north end of the San Francisco Peninsula in the San Francisco Bay Area, making it the second-most densely populated large US city, and the fifth-most densely populated U.S. county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs. San Francisco is also part of the fifth-most populous primary statistical area in the United States, the San Jose–San Francisco–Oakland, CA Combined Statistical Area.

After a series of failed enterprises as a gold prospector he became involved in a conflict in the Mexican state of Sonora. A group of mercenaries under the command of the Count Raousset-Boulbon sailed from the port of San Francisco, California, attempting two separate filibuster expeditions, in 1852 and 1854, against the government of Sonora, Mexico. The main objective of the invaders was to attain independence for the State of Sonora, forming a new country separate from Mexico, following the example of Texas, which had achieved its independence in 1836. The first expedition was under the guise of a mining company known as La Compania Restauradora de la Mina de la Arizona. Raousset-Boulbon and his forces captured Hermosillo, Sonora, the capital of the state, in 1852. A retreat to Guaymas resulted in his surrender to General Miguel Blanco. In 1854 Raousset-Boulbon returned to Sonora, but his forces did not get the popular support they needed. They were defeated in Guaymas by a small army led by Jose Maria Yanez, in the Battle of Guaymas, on July 13, 1854.

Sonora State of Mexico

Sonora, officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Sonora, is one of 31 states that, with Mexico City, comprise the 32 federal entities of United Mexican States. It is divided into 72 municipalities; the capital city is Hermosillo. Sonora is bordered by the states of Chihuahua to the east, Baja California to the northwest and Sinaloa to the south. To the north, it shares the U.S.–Mexico border with the states of Arizona and New Mexico, and on the west has a significant share of the coastline of the Gulf of California.

Texas State of the United States of America

Texas is the second largest state in the United States by both area and population. Geographically located in the South Central region of the country, Texas shares borders with the U.S. states of Louisiana to the east, Arkansas to the northeast, Oklahoma to the north, New Mexico to the west, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to the southwest, while the Gulf of Mexico is to the southeast.

Hermosillo City in Sonora, Mexico

Hermosillo, formerly called Pitic, is a city located centrally in the northwestern Mexican state of Sonora. It is the capital and largest city as well as the main economic center for the state and region. As of 2015, the city has a population of 812,229 inhabitants, making it the 16th largest city in Mexico. The recent city population spur is due to its recent strong industrialization, especially in the automotive industry.


On August 13, 1854 the Count Raousset-Boulbon was executed by a firing squad in Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico. He refused to wear a blindfold. Don José Márquez [ disambiguation needed ], an eye-witness to the execution, stated that Raousset-Boulbon's remains were buried in Guaymas until 1866, when, while Mexico was under the rule of Maximilian, they were exhumed by French naval officers and taken to France for final burial. [2]

See also

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  1. "El Conde de Raousett-Boulbon: Mosquetero Frances de Sonora". Hispano-America. San Francisco: La Crónica Inc. June 10, 1933. p. 7. Retrieved 26 December 2013.
  2. Wyllys, Rufus Kay (1932). The French in Sonora, 1850-1854: The story of French adventurers from California into México. University of California Publications in History, Volume 21. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. p. 244.