Gaston de Raousset-Boulbon
Charles Rene Gaston Gustave de Raousset-Boulbon (Avignon
Avignon is a French commune in southeastern France in the départment of the Vaucluse bordered by the left bank of the Rhône river. Of the 94,787 inhabitants of the city on 1 January 2010, 12 000 live in the ancient town centre surrounded by its medieval ramparts.Often referred to as the...

, 1817 - Guaymas
Guaymas is a city and municipality located in the southwest part of the state of Sonora in northwestern Mexico. The city is located 117 km south of the state capital of Hermosillo, and 242 miles from the U.S. border, and is the principal port for the state. The municipality is located in the...

, 1854) was a French adventurer and entrepreneur and, by some accounts a pirate, and a theoretician of colonialism
Colonialism is the establishment, maintenance, acquisition and expansion of colonies in one territory by people from another territory. It is a process whereby the metropole claims sovereignty over the colony and the social structure, government, and economics of the colony are changed by...

. He was born in Avignon in 1817. During his life in France he was a typical "rural nobleman." He inherited the title of count
A count or countess is an aristocratic nobleman in European countries. The word count came into English from the French comte, itself from Latin comes—in its accusative comitem—meaning "companion", and later "companion of the emperor, delegate of the emperor". The adjective form of the word is...

 and, as happened to many members of French nobility after the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

, he spent his fortune gambling and drinking in Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

. He moved to Algiers
' is the capital and largest city of Algeria. According to the 1998 census, the population of the city proper was 1,519,570 and that of the urban agglomeration was 2,135,630. In 2009, the population was about 3,500,000...

, where his first theories about colonialism were born; the French Revolution of 1848
French Revolution of 1848
The 1848 Revolution in France was one of a wave of revolutions in 1848 in Europe. In France, the February revolution ended the Orleans monarchy and led to the creation of the French Second Republic. The February Revolution was really the belated second phase of the Revolution of 1830...

 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
In sociology and political science, bourgeoisie describes a range of groups across history. In the Western world, between the late 18th century and the present day, the bourgeoisie is a social class "characterized by their ownership of capital and their related culture." A member of the...


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

Raousset-Boulbon in Mexico and the Battle of Guaymas

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

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 attempted two filibuster expeditions from San Francisco against Sonora, Mexico in 1852 and 1854. The main objective of the invaders was to attain independence for the province of Sonora to form a new country separate from Mexico, following the example of Texas, which had achieved the same thing in 1836. The first expedition was under the guise of a mining company known as La Compenia Restauradora de la Mina de la Arizona. He captured Hermosillo, Sonora, the capital of the State, in 1852. A retreat to Guaymas resulted in his surrender to General Miguel Blanco. In 1854 he returned to Sonora, but his forces did not get the support they needed. They were defeated in Guaymas by a small army led by Jose Maria Yanez, in the Battle of Guaymas, July 13, 1854.


On August 13, 1854 the Count Raousset-Boulbon was executed by a firing squad in Guaymas. He refused to wear a blindfold.

See also

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