Seven Oldest People Who Ever Lived

It is certainly a great accomplishment to walk this earth at 100-year-old, but it’s an even greater achievement to live well beyond it. Believe it or not, there were super centenarians who lived above 120 years. People who surpassed life expectancy of human beings even though super centenarians are far rarer than centenarians. These people lived through world wars, the sinking of the Titanic, the space race,  saw more social and technological change and endured more late-life congratulations and much more. But what’s even more exceptional is that when they were born, the life expectancy for people in the U.S. was just around 60. Read to see the list of seven oldest people, what killed some of them and what kept some of them alive.

7. Gertrude Weaver

Age: 116 years, 276 days

Country: Arkansas, USA


Gertrude was the oldest person in United States upon the death of Dina Manfredini on December 17, 2012. She was born on July 4th, 1898 and she died on April 6, 2015. She was the oldest living person in the world as at March 31, 2015 (US Central Time) after Misao Okawa died in Osaka, Japan early on April 1, 2015; she remained so until she died five days later. When she died, she was the seventh validated oldest person ever and the third oldest person ever from the United States after Sarah Knauss and Lucy Hannah. According to her words when she was alive, her faith is one recipe that kept her going. She told the Camden News on her 116th birthday

You have to walk in the ways of God. Don’t follow anyone else. Be obedient and follow the laws and don’t worry about anything. I’ve followed him for many, many years and I ain’t tired.

6. María Capovilla

Death Age: 116 years, 347 days

Country: Ecuador


María Capovilla, an Ecuadorian super centenarian was born on 14 September 1889, the same year as Charlie Chaplin and Adolf Hitler, Capovilla was 22 when the Titanic sank and 79 when astronauts first set foot on the Moon. She died on 27 August 2006 at the age of 116 years old. Maria was in sound health for someone of her age and watched TV, read the paper and walked without the aid of a stick (though she was helped by an aide)  Unfortunately, Maria was not able to leave her home in the two years before her death and she shared her home with her eldest daughter Hilda, and her son-in-law. She was said to love painting, embroidery, dancing and walking. In her youth she would also drink fresh milk from the donkeys at her aunt’s farm – something relatives said might be the reason for her longevity. She is said never to have smoked, ate regular small meals, and only drank in moderation. According to reports, she was also fervently religious, and took communion every Friday. She had five children, three of whom are still alive, and 11 grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren. She died of pnemonia

5. Misao Okawa

Death age: 117 years, 27 days

Country: Japan


She was a Japanese super centenarian who was the world’s oldest living person from 12 June 2013 until her own death on 1 April 2015. Okawa is the oldest known Japanese person ever, the oldest person ever born in Asia, and the fifth oldest verified person ever recorded. Okawa was the 30th person known to have reached age 115, the tenth verified person to reach the age of 116 and the fifth verified person to reach the age of 117. She had four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren and was able to walk until she was 110, when she began using a wheelchair to avoid falls. She died from heart failure at her nursing home residence in Higashisumiyoshi-ku, Osaka, Japan at 6:58 AM, on 1 April 2015 less than a month after her 117 birthday after According to her, delicious things including ramen noodles and beef stew, as well as hashed beef and rice mackerel sushi, daily cup of coffee and sleep were the reasons why she lived so long.

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4. Marie-Louise Fébronie Meilleur

Death Age: 117 years, 230 days

Country: Canada


She was born on August 29, 1880 and she died on April 16, 1998. She was a French Canadian supercentenarian who, became the oldest recognized living person upon the death of the world’s oldest person at that time.  Meilleur is the oldest verified Canadian ever and the fourth oldest person in history. By the time she died of a blood clot at age 117 in April 1998 in Corbeil, Ontario, one of her sons was also living in the same nursing home, and her oldest living daughter, Gabrielle Vaughan, was 90 years old. Meilleur had 85 grandchildren, 80 great-grandchildren, 57 great-great-grandchildren and four great-great-great-grandchildren. She was said to be a vegetarian and a devoted cigarette smoker. She took up fencing at 85, still rode a bicycle at 100 and made a rap CD at 121. Many credited her longevity and health to her vegetarian diet including olive oil, port wine and chocolate.

3. Lucy Hannah

Death Age: 117 years, 248 days

Country USA


This American supecentenarian was born on July 16, 1875 and she died March 21, 1993 at the age of 117 years, 248 days.  She is the oldest ever fully documented person born in the U.S. state of Alabama. She is the second-oldest person ever from the United States and the world’s third-oldest validated person ever. She had eight children in her 1901 marriage to John Hannah, but only two of her children survived her.

2. Sarah DeRemer Knauss

Death Age: (119 years, 97 days)

Country: USA


Sarah  was born September 24, 1880 and she died on December 30, 1999. She was an American supercentenarian and was called the world’s oldest living person by Guinness World Records from April 16, 1998, the date of the death of 117-year-old Canadian Marie-Louise Meilleur, until her own death. She is the current second-oldest validated person ever and was the last verified living person to have been born before 1885. She had great passion for  nibbling on milk chocolate turtles, cashews, and potato chips.  She had no known illness at her death except for being about deaf, and appears she died of out of natural causes.

According to reports Sarah died peacefully in her sleep, sitting in her chair in her room. She had a daily dose of chocolate up until her death and was called a chocoholic. Surviving with her daughter, are a grandson, three great-granddaughters, five great-great-grandchildren and a great-great-greatgrandson. Her family credits her longevity to her calm demeanor and acceptance of life as it comes. Rarely, did she get angry said her family memebers. ‘She was a jovial, lovable person to be around,” said Bob Butz, 75, her grandson. ”She was a good sport.”Despite she saw 20th century developments ranging from the advent of the automobile to manned space travel, she stayed faithful to 19th century values of self-sufficiency and family loyalty. She was said to have been going to the hairdresser every Tuesday, and was her weekly custom. She loved wearing a fashionable dress and her trademark smile, she had her hair done in a French twist, the classic style she preferred for decades.

1. Jeanne Louise Calment

Death Age: 122 years, 164 days

Country: France


Jeanne Louise Calment was born on 21 February 1875 – 4 August 1997. She was a French supercentenarian and she even outlived both her daughter and grandson by several decades. She is known to have had the longest confirmed human lifespan on record for living to the age of 122 years, 164 days. Calment became famous from the age of 113, when the centenary of Vincent van Gogh’s visit brought reporters to Arles. Calment credited  her longevity and relatively youthful appearance for her age to diet rich in olive oil  as well as a diet of port wine, and ate nearly one kilogram (2.2 lb) o chocolate every week. She also commended her calmness, saying, “That’s why they call me Calment”. She was reportedly mentally intact until her very end.

Amira Daniel
Amira Daniel
Amira is a personal finance and entertainment writer by trade with several years of experience covering businesses, CEOs, and celebrity profiles, her favourite subjects include business and personal finance, entertainment, celebrities, and travel. When she's not writing, you can find her reading or catching up on any of her favourite series


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