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115-year-old Spaniard claims title of oldest woman in Europe

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115-year-old Spaniard claims title of oldest woman in Europe
Ana Vela on her 110th birthday in 2011. Photo: La Verneda Nursing Home
13:55 CEST+02:00
A Spaniard has become the oldest woman in Europe, claiming the title from Italian Emma Morano who died on Saturday at the grand old age of 117.

Ana Vela Rubio, who celebrated her 115th birthday at a nursing home in Barcelona last October, is recognised as the oldest living person in Spain but now claims the title of oldest in Europe too.

She is almost two years younger than Morano, who died on Saturday at the age of 117 and was the oldest person in the world and the last survivor of the 19th century.

READ MORE: Emma Morano last survivor of the 19th century dies


Italian Emma Morano, born on November 29th 1899 and the oldest person in the world, died on Saturday.

Vela was born in Córdoba on October 30th 1901 and moved to Barcelona in the 1940s to work as a dressmaker.

She now lives in La Verneda old people’s home in Barcelona, close to her daughter, who is 89-years-old. 

"She doesn't look 115. We have residents a lot younger who look older than Ana does," revealed David González, director of the La Verneda home for the elderly in Barcelona, in an interview with Efe to mark her birthday on October 31, 2016.

"Although she's very special to us, we don't treat her as a 115-year-old lady; we treat her as one of the group.

"She's always been a super-friendly, super-affectionate and very optimistic person – perhaps that's the secret to her long life.

"And she's very physically strong, which has helped her get through the deaths of three of her four children, and of her brothers and sisters – the last of whom died this year."

In June, Vela took the crown as the longest living Spaniard ever recorded when she reached 114 years and 221 days old, surpassing the record of María Antonia Castro, an Andalucian who died twenty years ago.

Spaniards have one of the highest life expectancies in the world, which is often attributed to the Mediterranean diet and traditional slower pace of life. 

READ MORE: Six Spanish secrets on how to live to the age of one hundred

But one Spaniard who lived to the ripe old age of 107 did so on a diet that consisted mainly of... red wine. 

The crown of the world's oldest human now goes to Jamaican Violet Brown, who was born on March 10th, 1900.

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