Dictionary of Irish Latin American Biography

John Creaghe
(Ephéméride anarchiste,

Creaghe, John [Juan] (1841-1920), physician and anarchist, was born in 1841 in Limerick. After qualifying as a physician in 1865 at the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin, he took up his practice at Mitchelstown, Co. Cork the following year. He was fully licensed as a medical practitioner in 1869 from the King's and Queen's Colleges of Physicians in Ireland. Creaghe remained in practice in Mitchelstown until 1874, when he emigrated to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and quickly became a follower of anarchism. It is likely that he became an anarchist at least in part under the influence of Errico Malatesta (1853-1932), the seminal anarchist thinker and activist. By 1890, Creaghe had relocated to Sheffield, where he worked in a poor, working-class district of the English city, populated by a great many Irish immigrants, having arrived there from Dublin the previous year. He soon involved himself with the local branch of the famous designer William Morris' Socialist League, but they broke away early in 1891 to form a specifically anarchist group in Sheffield. The Sheffield Anarchist newspaper was founded by Creaghe and Fred Charles.

In 1892 Creaghe left Sheffield and traveled to Liverpool, London, Spain and finally, Argentina. Once there, he began another publishing venture with El Oprimido (1893-97), which became La Protesta Humana (1897-1903), and the hugely influential La Protesta (1903 to present day). In each case, Creaghe invested considerable time, energy and money into these propagandist ventures which would eventually bear fruit in the form of the Regional Workers Federation of Argentina (FORA), the mighty anarcho-syndicalist union which won the hearts and loyalties of 20,000 Argentine labourers by the time of the events of the "Tragic Week" of 1919. Creaghe was also heavily involved in the Free School movement in Buenos Aires, and was director of the Rationalist School in Luján, an anarchist educational experiment along the lines of those founded by the Spanish anarchist Francisco Ferrer (1859-1909). Creaghe also rallied to the defense of a young Polish immigrant who killed the chief of police in Buenos Aires at an anarchist demonstration in 1909. At the same time, he worked as a doctor from his base in Luján, Buenos Aires province, combining easily the roles of local physician and anarchist militant.

Creaghe took on his travels again in 1911, settling eventually in Los Angeles among Mexican anarchists. He took part in producing yet another influential anarchist newspaper, La Regeneración, and struck up a good friendship with the leading Mexican anarchist, Ricardo Flores Magón (1874-1922), who died in Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary in Kansas. He, along with Creaghe, was involved in the Baja California revolt of 1910 as well as giving support to the fragmented anarchist movement in Mexico in the years after the start of the Mexican revolution of 1910-1914.

John Creaghe's name is most often associated with anarchism in England and Argentina, though he was also active in the United States in support of exiled Mexican anarchists. Dr. Creaghe helped pioneer a movement of critical importance to Argentine and South American labour history. John Creaghe died on 19 February 1920 in Washington D.C. while in prison.

Edmundo Murray


- Ó Catháin, Máirtín, Dr. John O'Dwyer Creaghe: Irish-Argentine Anarchist (1841-1920). "Irish Migration Studies in Latin America" (, cited 11 December 2004.

- O'Tool, Alan, With The Poor People Of The Earth: A Biography Of Doctor John Creaghe of Sheffield & Buenos Aires (London: Kate Sharpley Library, 2005).

- Pasini, Francisco José. Anecdotario Lujanero. Luján: Librería de Mayo, 1977.

Copyright © Society for Irish Latin American Studies, 2005

Online published: 1 November 2005
Edited: 07 May 2009

Murray, Edmundo, '
Creaghe, John [Juan] (1841-1920)' in "Irish Migration Studies in Latin America" November-December 2005 (


The Society for Irish Latin American Studies, 2005

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