Ana Vela Rubio celebrated her 115th birthday last October at her nursing home in Barcelona, Spain. While she was already said to be the oldest living Spaniard, she can now claim to be the Oldest Person still living in Europe.

Blasting News reported on the story of Emma Morano, who passed away peacefully last Saturday at the age of 117. Morano was believed to be the world’s oldest person and possibly the only remaining survivor of the 19th century. Morano’s secret to longevity was the consumption of two raw eggs every day.

According to a report by The Local, Vela – who is just under two years younger than Morano was at her death – doesn’t claim to have any special dietary tips.

Spaniards are, however, well known for their longevity and good health, mainly due to a healthy Mediterranean diet and Spain’s traditional slower pace of life (including the famous siesta).

However, while Vela is now the oldest person in Europe, she does still have competition on a global basis. Heraldo quotes the GRG World Supercentenarian Rankings List as saying that ahead of her in the world rankings she has Violet Brown in Jamaica at 117 years of age as well as Nabi Tajima and Chiyo Miyakom, both in Japan, aged 116 and 115 years, respectively.

Europe's oldest person was born in October, 1901

According to a report by Heraldo, Europe’s newest oldest person was born in Puente Genil in Córdoba province, Andalucía, Spain on October 30, 1901.

In the 1940s, Vela moved to Barcelona where she worked as a dressmaker. She reportedly now resides in the La Verneda old age home in Barcelona. Her only remaining child, an 89-year-old daughter, Ana Vela, lives nearby.

On the occasion of her 115th birthday on October 31, 2016, David González, the director of the home, told Spanish news service Efe that Vela doesn’t look her age.

He reckons a lot of the younger residents in the home look older than she does. He says the lady is very special to them, but they never treat her as Europe's most elderly person – he says they treat her as part of the group.

According to González, Vela has always been a very friendly and affectionate person, and is always optimistic, adding that maybe that’s her secret to longevity.

He added that physically she is very strong, which has helped her handle the passing of three of her four children, as well as her own brothers and sisters. Reportedly, the last of her siblings passed last year. In keeping with modern times, Vela even has her own Wikipedia page.

Spanish woman became longest-living Spaniard in 2016

It was in June last year that Vela officially took over as being the longest-living Spaniard in recorded history after she reached the age of 114 years and 221 days. This age surpassed the previous record held by María Antonia Castro, a fellow Andalucían, who passed away twenty years ago.

Mediterranean diet and red wine for health and longevity

While the Mediterranean diet and slower way of life is mostly attributed to the higher life expectancy in Spain, The Local did mention one Spaniard who lived to the age of 107 on a steady diet of mainly red wine.