The world’s oldest man is 112 years old and Spanish

by Deborah Cater
world's oldest man is Spanish and lives in León province

Saturnino de la Fuente from the province of León turned 112 in February and is now the world’s oldest man. The Guinness World Records certified the record.

On August 12th, the Puerto Rican Emilio Flores, who until then was officially the oldest man in the world, died. Flores and Saturnino de la Fuente contested the title of world’s oldest man for a few months. Despite the Puerto Rican claiming to have been born a few months earlier, de la Fuente had no official documentation of his birth to prove that, his son-in-law, explained to the EFE news agency.

His birth certificate has him 4 days younger

At the time of his birth, many babies were not registered or there were errors in their registration. Even the Leonese’s DNI states he was born on February 12, 1909, while he was born on the 8th, his son-in-law has explained. His parents didn’t register him until four days after he was born. That was a common practice to avoid paperwork, as newborns often died when very young.

Now, Saturnino de la Fuente is officially the oldest man in the world as verified by the Guinness World Records. There are, however, older women, such as the Japanese Kane Tanaka, born on January 2, 1903. She is now 118.

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Saturnino’s family welcomed the news that he is the oldest man in the world with the same joy with which they received his title of oldest man in Europe. The man from León has carried this title for several years.

A life full of experiences

Saturnino de la Fuente was born during the reign of Alfonso XIII, lived through the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera, knew the Second Republic and suffered the civil war and the dictatorship of Franco. He didn’t fight in the civil war because he couldn’t handle the task. However, his shoe factory, which was used to make boots for the National Army, was taken. Three of his eight children have already died. The latest died in 2020 during the second wave of the corona pandemic that Saturnino also survived. Just like the Spanish flu in 1918.

First man vaccinated in León

Saturnino de la Fuente was this year also the first man to be vaccinated against the coronavirus in the province of León. In his long life, in which he has witnessed the birth of fourteen grandchildren and twenty-two great-grandchildren, he has looked death in the eye several times. His worst situation came in 1937 when he nearly died under the rubble of a crashed Condor Legion plane on La Rúa de León street.

Saturnino started as a shoemaker when he was thirteen, working in a shoe factory. He spent over 30 years there. The factory was closed and this forced De La Fuente to start his own business in his hometown of Puente Castro. He has lived there for years and founded a football team, CD Puente Castro. That club is still active and Saturnino is an honorary member.

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