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  • Julia Flores Colque, the oldest known woman in Bolivia

    Julia Flores Colque, the oldest known woman in Bolivia "Mamá Julia" and probably in the world celebrating her birthday. | Photo: EFE

Published 28 February 2019

118-year-old "Mama Julia," an Indigenous woman who speaks only the Quechua language, was admitted to a hospital Wednesday. She was born in 1900.

Bolivia's oldest living woman, 118-year-old Julia "Mama Julia" Flores Colque, was admitted to a hospital Wednesday in Cochabamba.

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Flores had been hospitalized two weeks ago and has been recuperating, her grandniece Agustina Verna Flores Colque said. "But she had a relapse due to a series of complications, and as a result has to be admitted to hospital again," she added.

"We were very sad when we took her to the hospital because I think that at any moment she is going to leave us. Being with her is a joy, but we are also very concerned about her health," her grandniece said.

“Mama Julia,”  born on Oct. 26, 1900, in Charcas in the province of Potosi, is considered Bolivia's oldest living woman. She is potentially the oldest woman in the world after Guinness World Record-winning Violet Brown in Jamaica died in 2017 with 117 years of life and experience to account for. The current woman holding the record title is Kane Tanaka in Japan, who is 116-years-old.

Flores Colque, however, has never heard of the Guinness Book of World Records. Birth certificates did not exist in Bolivia until 1940, and births previously were registered with baptism certificates provided by Roman Catholic priests, CBS reported. Flores Colque's national identity card, however, has been certified by the Bolivian government.

Flores Colque, who only speaks Quechua, a native South American language, currently lives in Cochabamba with the family of one of her distant nieces.

She has lived through two world wars, multiple revolutions in her native Bolivia, and the five-decade-long transformation of her town of Sacaba from a rural province of 3,000 people to a city of more than 175,000. The mayor of Sacaba has named Flores Colque a living heritage.

 

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