Texas Day by Day

On this day in Texas history…

Pirate resigns as ruler of Galveston Island

July 31st, 1817

On this day in 1817, pirate Louis Michel Aury resigned his Mexican commission to rule Galveston Island. Aury, born in Paris about 1788, served in the French navy and on French privateers from 1802 or 1803 until 1810, when he became master of his own vessels, which cruised the Caribbean in search of prizes. He joined a group of New Orleans associates who were planning a Mexican revolt against Spain in 1816. Rebel envoy José Manuel de Herrera proclaimed Galveston a port of the Mexican republic, made Aury resident commissioner, and raised the rebel flag on September 13 of that year. Aury's tenure was stormy. Henry Perry, who commanded troops sent by the New Orleans associates for the invasion of Texas, refused obedience to Aury, who also initially refused to cooperate with Francisco Xavier Mina, leader of a filibustering expedition that reached Galveston in November. In the spring of 1817, while Aury was convoying Mina's forces to the Santander River, Jean Laffite seized the opportunity to undermine the skeleton "government" left behind. After resigning his commission, Aury sailed to Florida. He is believed to have died in 1821, though some sources claim he was living in Havana in 1845.

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