Elizabeth Israel

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Mione Elizabeth George Israel (January 27, 1875? – October 14, 2003), known as Mione "Minette" George for much of her life, and as Elizabeth Israel and Ma Pampo later in life, was the focus of one of the most widely publicized longevity claims of recent years.

Biography[edit]

Israel was born in Dominica. Her birthdate of January 27, 1875, was attested by an entry in a baptismal register as reproduced after a 1979 hurricane, and by a birth certificate procured for her in 2000 based on the baptismal register. She was known by the name Mione "Minette" George for much of her life; Israel was her married name. She worked as a crew chief on a plantation into the late 1970s.

In her old age, she became the focus of one of the most widely publicized longevity claims of recent years. In December 1999, she was publicly stated to be 124 years old and the world's oldest person. Disk jockey Alex Bruno was the initial advocate of this claim; Bruno established a foundation and promoted a play about her life, and sought to promote tourism to Dominica based on its being a haven for longevity. Attempted validation of her claim was called both "frenetic" and "barely attempted".[citation needed] Israel was disabled when she was first promoted as the world's oldest person, and did not promote herself.

Her attested birthdate would have made her 128 years old at death. The Guinness Book of World Records rejected her longevity claim based on lack of evidence, while promoters made strongly worded demands that the claim be accepted on its evidence. The longevity claim was supported by the highest ranks of the government of her native Dominica. The observed life expectancy on Dominica, and the extremely high death rates among supercentenarians, were cited as requiring greater evidence than her promoters provided. The baptismal register was a third-generation copy; the entry cited was for "Elizabeth Israel", her married name; and no documents attesting to the birthdate and dating to the first century of her stated lifespan were ever produced.

From February 1991 to her death, Israel was stated to be older than the "world's oldest person" as recognized by the Gerontology Research Group, though this was not publicized until December 1999. Israel had memories of the early 20th century and was believed to be probably at least 128 upon her death in Dominica in 2003.

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