|Maria de Jesus|
|Birth:||10 September 1893|
|Death:||2 January 2009|
|Age:||115 years, 114 days|
Maria de Jesus dos Santos (10 September 1893 - 2 January 2009) was a Portuguese supercentenarian, and, between the November 26, 2008 death of American Edna Parker, who died at 115 years 220 days until her death, was the world's verified oldest living person. She became the oldest verified living person in Portugal at age 111 years, 318 days, with the death of 114-year-old Maria do Couto Maia-Lopes on July 25, 2005, and the oldest in Europe with the death of another 114-year-old, French Woman Camille Loiseau, on August 12, 2006 at age 112 years, 336 days. De Jesus was the last validated living person born in 1893.(Born illegitimate,"Maria de Jesus" was a given name that was her entire name at birth,"dos Santos" was the surname of her husband but she made little use of it in life).
Born as Maria dos Santos, she married in 1919 and became a widow in 1951 (when she was 57 years old). From that relationship, five children were born, three of whom are still living. One of those, a daughter, Madalena, was born on December 25, 1924 and lives with her. She also has 11 grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren and 6 great-great-grandchildren. During her lifetime, she visited the hospital only once and was long in very good health, with the exception of her ambulation. Maria worked on the land for her entire life and still lived in her own house instead of a nursing home (like the majority of supercentenarians), where she wakes up every morning at 11AM to do her daily hand exercises. Although she was still responsive as of November 2008, she could no longer recognize her family, and had serious problems with her sight and hearing, although she was still able to smile and wave at visitors. She still walked around with the aid of a walker. She enjoyed looking through her old family albums, sunbathing at her porch, eating Portuguese rice pudding and ice cream, as well as taking baths. Reportedly, she never smoked or drank alcohol. She also avoided eating meat, preferring to eat fish and vegetables.
On June 11, 2008 , at age 114 years 275 days, Maria de Jesus surpassed Maria do Couto Maia-Lopes as the oldest verified Portuguese person of all time.
- Report on Maria de Jesus' 115th birthday
- Gerontology Research Group, featuring a report on her
- British documentary about the oldest people