Dictionary of Irish Latin American Biography

O'Connor, Eduardo (1858-1921), naval officer and explorer of the lake Nahuel Huapi, was born on 18 October 1858 in Mercedes, Buenos Aires, the eldest son of Juan Nepomuceno O'Connor (1830-1878) and his wife, Juana Crespin (d.1861). Juan N. O'Connor, an army officer and landowner, was the eldest son of Edward O'Connor (d.1854) and Mary Hamond. Edward O'Connor emigrated from the United States to Argentina and settled in Mercedes. 

At the age of fifteen, Eduardo O'Connor joined on 23 April 1874 the newly created Naval School. On 17 October 1874 O'Connor was promoted to midshipman and was sent to France in order to complete his studies. At the Toulon base he received intensive training in cartography, which he would apply successfully upon return to Argentina.

By the end of 1880, Eduardo O'Connor was sent to Río Negro and commanded the steamer Río Neuquén. O'Connor was the first to sail the river Limay in its entirety, weighing anchor at Carmen de Patagones and reaching lake Nahuel Huapi in 1883. O'Connor and his men explored the lake and nearby regions, discovered lakes Moreno and Correntoso, and reached Puerto Blest near the border with Chile. After his return to Buenos Aires, on 12 February 1885 Eduardo O'Connor married Modesta (d.1929), daughter of Gregorio Castro and Lina Higueras. Eduardo and Modesta had a daughter and a son.

In 1890, O'Connor was a member of the revolutionary forces led by Aristóbulo del Valle, Leandro N. Alem, Bernardo de Irigoyen, Mitre, and others against President Juárez Celman. During these events, he became the commander of the insurgent navy. After four days of fierce fighting the rebels surrendered but Juárez Celman resigned in favour of Carlos Pellegrini. O'Connor was not discharged but he had to face military trial. By the end of 1891, he was sent to Tierra del Fuego, where he conducted hydrographical and topographic research. O'Connor was appointed naval attaché in Paris, and promoted to admiral in 1918.

Eduardo O'Connor died on 5 April 1921 in Buenos Aires. A street at San Carlos de Bariloche, on the lake Nahuel Huapi, bears his name.

Gonzalo Cané


- Barroetaveña, Francisco, La Unión Cívica (Buenos Aires, 1891).

- Ruiz Moreno, Isidoro, La Marina Revolucionaria 1874-1963 (Buenos Aires, 1998).

- Balestra, Juan, La Revolución del 90 (Buenos Aires, 1959).

- Coghlan, Eduardo A., Los Irlandeses en la Argentina: Su Actuación y Descendencia (Buenos Aires, 1987), p. 171.

Copyright © Society for Irish Latin American Studies

Online published: 1 April 2004
Edited: 07 May 2009

Cané, Gonzalo, '
O'Connor, Eduardo (1858-1921)' in "Irish Migration Studies in Latin America" November-December 2005 (


The Society for Irish Latin American Studies, 2005

 Copyright Information