Javier Pereira was reputedly over 160 years old at the time of his death. He was a Zenu Indian who lived in Colombia. Although his death is variously said to have been in 1955, 1956, and 1958, sources all claim that he was born in 1789.
He was said to have had five wives and to be seeking another when he was "discovered" in 1954; allegedly his last remaining grandchild had died in 1941 at the age of 85. Interviewed by historians, he was able to supply information about well-known historical events such as the Battle of Cartagena, fought in 1815, as well as about Indian conflicts and a terrible famine that had taken place years before. Asked about the secret of his longevity, Pereira said that one must chew cocoa beans, drink plenty of coffee, smoke a big cigar now and then, and not worry. Pereira was flown to New York City to be checked by teams of modern doctors. He was four feet four inches tall and weighed seventy-five pounds. He had no teeth but his hair was still brown. He had the blood pressure and arterial health of a young man, could easily stand on one leg and pirouette, and walk several blocks and up a couple of flights of stairs without losing his breath. One doctor said he had the appearance of a man "more than 150 years old," which raises the interesting question of how the doctor would know that even if Pereira were actually as old as claimed.
The most specific death date reported is 30 March 1958 in his home town of Monteria. His obituary was reported in Time for 14 April 1958 on page 88. Colombia issued a postage stamp commemorating Pereira.
Biographical, medical information and obituary reference
Pereira's ethnicity, historical recollections, and longevity
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