Arago, Jean (1788–1836)

By: Frank Wagner

Type: Biography

Published: November 1, 1994

Dominque François Jean Arago, soldier, was born at Estagel, Pyrénées-Orientales, France, in 1788. In 1815 he was unjustly indicted for official misconduct in the French treasury and fled to the United States, where he joined Francisco Xavier Mina in an attempt to liberate Mexico. He sailed on the Calypso on October 10, 1817, and landed in Galveston, where he joined Louis Michel Aury. Mina made him military commander of Guanajuato. After the departure of the Spanish, Arago supported the Plan de Iguala, proclaimed by Anastasio Bustamante. He participated in the successful Plan de Casamata in 1823 and was put in command of the militia division of Puebla in 1828. His ardent adherence to the York Rite Masons made him a leading liberal influence in the Mexican army. Vicente Guerrero put Arago in command of the Brigade of Zapadores (Sappers) in 1832. He was named director general of the Corps of Engineers in 1833 and was awarded "Ciudadano Benemérito" by the states of Mexico, Veracruz, Guanajuato, and Tamaulipas. He was pardoned after the overthrow of Guerrero under the Plan de Jalapa and named commanding general in the Army of Mexico. He was a general in command of a division of engineers encamped at Las Chimineas on Nueces Bay, about four miles from Corpus Christi, during the Texas Revolution. Owing to a severe illness, possibly malaria, that he contracted in May 1836, Arago went for medical treatment to New Orleans, where he died. He was highly esteemed in Mexico as a French supporter of Mexican liberty. See also MEXICAN WAR OF INDEPENDENCE.

Dominique François Jean Arago, The History of My Youth: An Autobiography of Francis Arago, trans. Rev. Baden-Powell (London: Longmans, Green, and Longmans, 1862). Hobart Huson, Captain Philip Dimmitt's Commandancy of Goliad, 1835–1836 (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1974).
  • Peoples
  • French
  • Military
  • Soldiers
Time Periods:
  • Texas Revolution

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Frank Wagner, “Arago, Jean,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 18, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 1, 1994