Raousset-Boulbon, Gaston Raul de (1817–1854)

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Raousset-Boulbon, Gaston Raul de (1817–1854)

Gaston Raul de Raousset-Boulbon (b. 2 December 1817; d. 12 August 1854), French filibuster. Scion of a French noble family, adventurer in the new colony of Algeria, and supporter of the 1848 Revolution, Raousset saw in the California gold rush the next opportunity to make his fortune. But the ambitions of most French immigrants there were frustrated. Encouraged by Mexican officials who sought European colonists on the northern frontier as an impediment to further U.S. expansion, three expeditions of French colonists from California to Sonora were attempted in the early 1850s, the last and most audacious led by Raousset. It was caught up in the struggle between two powerful foreign banking houses for the right to exploit the fabled mines of Arizona, on the present northwest border of Sonora. Raousset was the colonizing partner of Jecker de la Torre y Cia; state officials supported Barron, Forbes and Company. When Raousset ignored state regulations and the company cut off his supplies, he tried to foment an independence movement on the frontier. Defeated by state forces, he was deported. Undaunted, he returned two years later. Xenophobic feelings were now growing and Raousset's expedition of 400 men was met and defeated at the port of Guaymas on 13 July 1854. He was executed; his men were deported.

See alsoExplorers and Exploration: Spanish America; Filibustering.


Rufus K. Wyllys, The French in Sonora, 1850–1854 (1932).

Horacio Sobarzo, Crónica de la aventura de Raousset Boulbon en Sonora (1959).

Hypolite Coppey, El Conde Raousset Boulbon en Sonora, translated from the French ed. (1855) by Alberto Cubillas (1962).

Margo Glantz, Un folletín realizado: La aventura del Conde Raousset Boulbon en Sonora (1973).

Additional Bibliography

Bonaparte-Wyse, Louis-Napoléon, and Marie-Christine d' Aragon. Gaston Ier: Le rêve mexicain du comte de Raousset-Boulbon. Paris: France-Empire, 2000.

                                      Stuart F. Voss