A 116-year-old Ecuadorean woman was declared the oldest person in the world on Friday, lifting the title from a U.S. woman previously thought to be the oldest person alive, Guinness World Records said.
Maria Esther Capovilla was confirmed as the oldest living person after her family sent details of her birth and marriage certificates to Guinness World Records.
"We only told her yesterday she was the new Guinness world record holder," Kate White, brand manager at the records publisher told Reuters. "We hadn't heard of her before."
"She's in very good health, she's got good sight, is able to read the papers and watch television, and doesn't walk with a stick," White added.
Capovilla was born in Guayaqull in western Ecuador on September 14, 1889, and lives there today with her daughter-in-law and son.
She had five children, and has four grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.
Her husband died in 1949.
White said Capovilla had been asked what she thought about the changes she had seen over her life.
"She said she disliked the fact that presently it's acceptable for women to pursue men.
And she said that every day she thanks God that she's alive," White said.
As a girl at the turn of the century one of Capovilla's favourite pastimes was going to parties, where she never drank alcohol.
At the time it was the custom for women just to touch the rim of the glass with their lips without drinking, as a sign of accepting hospitality, her family told Guinness World Records.
Elizabeth Bolden, from Memphis, Tennessee, born August 15, 1890, had previously been regarded as the oldest living person.
Edith "Judy" Ingamell, 111 years old, from Enfield north of London, became the oldest woman in Britain after the death on Wednesday of the previous title holder Lucy d'Abreu, Guinness World Records said.
D'Abreu, who lived to 113, attributed her longevity to a daily dose of brandy and dry ginger ale.
Emiliano Mercado Del Toro, from Puerto Rico, born August 21, 1891, is the world's oldest living man, aged 114, says Guinness World Records.