When it comes to living a long and healthy lifestyle, who doesn’t want to know the secrets. While the average lifespan of humans is nearly 79 years old, this number fades in comparison to how long the oldest person in the world has lived. Believe it or not, the oldest people in the world have outlived the average lifespan by over 30 years, lived through World Wars, the sinking of the Titanic, the space race and much more. What is even more astounding is that some of these people were born in the 19th century! Let’s take a look at top 10 oldest people in the world.
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1. Jeanne Calment (122 years, 164 days)
122 years 164 days is the greatest verified age to which any human has ever lived. This milestone was achieved by Jeanne Calment of France. She was born on 21 February 1875 when Abraham Lincoln had only been dead for 10 years, the Eiffel Tower and Statue of Liberty didn’t exist, and World War I was still a lifetime away. She outlived her husband by over 50 years, her only daughter by over 60 years, and her only grandchild by over 30 years. The world died around Jeanne Calment and she just kept on living.
2. Sarah Knauss (119 years, 97 days)
Had Sarah Knauss been alive for just 2 more days, she would have seen her third century of human existence. She was born in Pennsylvania in 1880 and lived the last years of the 19th century and the whole of the 20th century, until her death on December 30, 1999. To put her insanely-long life into perspective, she had several grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren, and even some great-great-great-grandchildren!
3. Lucy Hannah (117 years, 248 days)
Lucy Hannah’s longevity was consistently overshadowed by Jeanne Calmet. When she turned 117, Jeanne Calmet was still alive and 5 months older than Hannah. Since Hannah died on 21 March 1993, she has been forever known to be the oldest person to have never held the record of world’s oldest living person.
4. Marie-Louise Meilleur (117 years, 230 days)
Marie-Louise Meilleur is the oldest Canadian in historical records. According to her, there was one simple secret for her long life, which may not be liked by many. The secret was to work hard, really hard! Surprisingly, there was news that she smoked like a chimney through out her nineties. During her insanely long life, Meilleur had 12 kids, 8 of whom she eventually outlived.
5. Emma Morano (117 years, 137 days)
Emma Morano became the oldest person in Italy and one of the oldest person throughout the world. She attributed eating raw eggs and not being in a relationship since 1938 for her insanely long life. There was even a study conducted on Emma Morano 2011 to study the secret of her longevity.
6. Violet Brown (117 years, 130 days and counting)
Violet Brown is one of the few living pieces of history. A resident of Jamaica, Violet Brown was born in the same part of Island as Olympic champion Usain Bolt. She attributes her long age to her faith and also credits eating fish and mutton. Violet Brown has now also set up a charity to help and care for the elderly.
7. Misao Okawa (117 years, 27 days)
Misao Okawa became the 5th oldest person ever verified and the oldest ever in Asia. Okawa was born in Japan when the 20th century was about to end. She witnessed the vicious rise of Imperial Japan, the devastating defeat the allies handed the country in World War II, and the economic miracle of post-war Japan. She even saw her country transform from one of the most militaristic to a peaceful country.
8. Nabi Tajima (116 years, 348 days and counting)
Nabi Tajima is currently the 2nd oldest person living after Violet Brown and the oldest person living in Asia. She currently lives in the city of Kagoshima and had more than 140 descendants including 35 great-great-grandchildren. In 2014, Tajima stated that the key to longevity is eating ramen noodles, beef stew, as well as rice mackerel sushi.
9. Maria Capovilla (116 years, 347 days)
Maria Capovilla of Ecuador was declared as the oldest person living in the world in 2005. She had 5 children, 4 grandchildren, 9 great-grandchildren, and 2 great-great-grandchildren. As a girl at the turn of the century, Mrs. Capovilla’s favorite pastime was going to parties, but she never drank alcohol. Interestingly, she once stated that she disliked the fact that presently, it’s acceptable for women to pursue men.
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10. Susannah Mushatt Jones (116 years, 311 days)
This Alabama-born supercentenarian is the 10th oldest person to have ever lived. She originally intended to become a teacher but instead worked as nanny due to lack of finance. She credited her longevity as a result of sleeping many hours at night, never drinking and smoking, being single, and never using cosmetics or hair dye.