In the 20th century, the life expectancy increased from 50 to almost 70 years.Life expectancy at the time of the Roman Empire was below 25 years. In early 1900 the average global life expectancy was 30 years and by mid-1980s it was 62 years. Presently life expectancy is about 70 years. Several factors have made people live longer than the past generations, and chief among them is the improved quality of life through nutrition and medicine. However, there are individuals who have lived exceptionally longer than average people, and most of them are women.
The Life History Of The Oldest Individuals
Jeanne was born on February 21st, 1875, in Arles. Nicolas Calment, her father, worked as a shipbuilder while Marguerite Gilles, her mother, came from a miller’s family. Jeanne had an older brother named Francois. Some of her close family members lived for more than an average lifespan but none compared to Jeanne’s lifespan. Her father lived for 93 years, her mother 86 years and her brother 97 years.
At age 21, Jeanne married Fernand Nicolas Calment (who was a double second cousin). Due to her husband’s wealth, Jeanne lived a life of leisure since she never worked. Her husband, Fernand, died from food poisoning in 1942 at the age of 73. They had only one child called Yvonne Marie Nicolle Calment who later gave birth to their grandson Frederic Billiot. Both Yvonne and Frederic died on their 36th birthdays.
Times Mistress released a four-track CD with Jeanne talking over a rap background in 1996. In 1995, a film documenting her life (beyond 120 years with Jeanne Calment) was also released.She was the oldest actress to feature in a motion picture when she briefly appeared in a film named “Vincent and me” in 1990.Jeanne later died of natural causes at the age of 122 years.
Sarah was born on September 24th, 1880 in Hollywood, Pennsylvania. She is considered the oldest person ever from the US and the second most elderly person worldwide after Jeanne Calment. In 1901, she married Abraham Lincoln Knauss. She managed an insurance agency as well as being a homemaker. When she was 116 years, she was recognized as the reigning record holder of the US Longevity previously held by Carrie C. White.
Sarah accredited her longevity to her happiness and not allowing anything upset her. During her time of death, Sarah was only 33 hours shy of living in 3 centuries and two millennia. On December 30th, 1999, Sarah died. She lived at the Phoebe-Devitt Homes, a foundation nursing home up to her death.
She was an extraordinary lady who pushed the longevity limits and lived an eventful life.
Born on July 16th, 1875, Lucy is the second American supercentenarian after Sarah Knauss and the third world’s oldest person. She is also the first African-American to reach 117 years. In 1901, she got married to John Hannah and gave birth to eight children. It is also believed that longevity was present in her family since her mother lived for 99 years while her two sisters lived to be 100 years. Lucy was also born the same year as Jeanne Calment (the 1st oldest person to live). She died in March 1993 at the age of 117 years and 248 days.
A Canadian, Marie was born on August 29th, 1880. She is the world’s fourth oldest person. She believed that the secret to a long life was hard work. Meilleur had ten children from two marriages. She had many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. In 1900, she married her first husband, Etienne Leclerc. (Whom she had four children with) and then married her second husband Hector Meilleur in 1915. (With whom they had six children) Marie died at the age of 117 due to the blood clot.
Improved Life Expectancies
The overall expectancy in the world has been rising steadily over the years, and people are now living longer than the past generations because of nutrition and medicine. Advancement in medicine such development of antibiotics that controlled infectious diseases and vaccinations has dramatically changed the live expectancy in the world. Improvement of safety measures in workplaces and realizing the harmful effects of smoking has contributed to the longevity of lives as well. Currently, Japan has the highest life expectancy of 82 years and in second place is Hong Kong at 82.2 years. Iceland has a life expectancy of 81.8 years while the UK has a life expectancy of 79.4 years.
Who Was the Oldest Person Who Ever Lived?
Jeanne Calment of France was the oldest person to have ever lived. She lived until the age of 122 years.
Oldest People Ever Confirmed To Live
|Rank||Name, Country||Age Achieved|
|1||Jeanne Calment, France||122.45 years|
|2||Sarah Knauss, United States||119.27 years|
|3||Lucy Hannah, United States||117.68 years|
|4||Marie-Louise Meilleur, Canada||117.63 years|
|5||Misao Okawa, Japan||117.07 years|
|6||Maria Capovilla, Ecuador||116.95 years|
|7||Susannah Jones, United States||116.85 years|
|8||Gertrude Weaver, United States||116.76 years|
|9||Emma Morano, Italy||116.63 years (and counting)|
|10||Tane Ikai, Japan||116.48 years|
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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