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Oldest man on earth is Spanish...again
23 August 2021 @ 09:20

FOR the second time in less than four years, Spain is home to the world's oldest man – Saturnino, who is 112-and-a-half, now holds the title after Emilio Flores from Puerto Rico passed away just over a week ago.

Saturnino de la Fuente García celebrating his 111th birthday in February 2020 (photo by regional daily newspaper Leónoticias)

Saturnino de la Fuente García, from León, may already have been officially the earliest-born surviving male on the planet, since there has been some dispute over whether Emilio Flores could be legally considered as such.

Flores had given his date of birth as being a few months before Saturnino's, but did not have a proper birth certificate since, at the time, in many countries, either these were not automatic, did not exist at all, or contained errors.

In fact, although Saturnino's national ID card gives his date of birth as February 12, 1909, his son-in-law Bernardo Marcos explains he was actually born on February 8, 1909.

This is because it was habitual in the early years of the last century to wait about four days before registering a birth – at a time when infant mortality was very high all over the world, it was often considered that there was no point in going through the paperwork until you were fairly confident the newborn was going to live.

Briefly, Spain was once home to the oldest man and the oldest woman in Europe – Ana María Vela Rubio, from Barcelona, turned 116 in October 2017, but passed away in December that year; from August 11, 2017, Francisco Núñez Olivera, from Extremadura, became the oldest man on earth, turning 113 on December 13 that year, but passed away on January 29, 2018.

It is much harder to live long enough to be the planet's oldest woman – for men, this title can reach them within months of their 112th birthdays, but women normally have to live to be over 117. 

Ana Vela became the world's third-oldest, but at present, the longest-living woman on earth who is still alive is Kane Tanaka, from Japan, who will be exactly 118 and nine months if she survives until September 2, having been born the day after New Year in 1903.



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