When Emma Morano entered this world, the Second Boer War had just begun, Cuba had just been freed from Spanish rule, and NYC's Windsor Hotel had recently burned down. Let us complete the history timeline for you: It was November 29, 1899, making Morano—who's still watching the world go by from her home country of Italy—the oldest person in the world, and the only one known to have been born in the 19th century, the BBC reports. Morano, who turned 117 on Tuesday and lives in a one-room apartment in Verbania, took over both of those titles in May, when American Susannah Mushatt Jones died at the age of 116, per CBS News.
Morano links her super-centenarian life to three major factors: genetics (her mom lived to be 91, and at least two of her sisters approached or passed the 100 mark); a diet that, for most of her life, included two raw eggs and one cooked egg daily; and ending what she says was an abusive marriage right after her infant son died in 1938. She never married again, telling the New York Times in 2015 that "I didn't want to be dominated by anyone." How she celebrated her special day Tuesday: listening to a happy birthday message sent from Italy's president, opening presents, and blowing out the three numbered candles that designated "117" on her cake, declaring, per CBS: "I hope I don't have to cut it!" (Read more centenarians stories.)