Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The First Verifiable Supercentenarian

The Last Waterloo Veteran & The First Verifiable Supercentenarian
Geert Adriaans Boomgaard, one of the oldest veterans, at his 107th birthday in 1895 (source).

On of the last surviving veterans of the Napoleontic Wars was Dutchman Geert Adriaans Boomgaard (Groningen, 21 September 1788 – 3 February 1899). He was Europe's oldest man at the time of his death at the respectable age of 110 years and 135 days.

Geert Adriaans Boomgaard
He also was the first documented and verified supercentenarian. A supercentenarian is someone who has reached the age of 110 years, something achieved by only one in a thousand centenarians. Furthermore, only 2% of supercentenarians live to be 115.

When he was young he wanted to be a sailor but he was forced to serve in Napoleon’s army as a drummer. With the 33e Regiment d'Infanterie de Ligne he witnessed several major battles. After Napoleon’s downfall he became a skipper for many years. In 1818 he married Stijntje Bus, and after her death he married Grietje Jonker in 1831.

In 1871 he received the Sainte-Hélène medal and a certificate which states that 'Adriaans, Gerrit, à Groningue, Pays-Bas' received this medal on behalf of his active military service during the reign of Napoleon I’ (source).

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  1. It's amazing to think he was born in 1788, survived the war and lived to be 110 years old! When I googled the life expectancy for a man born in 1788, I didn't find it. A man born in 1750 could expect to live to the age of 30 - 36 years old according to two online sources. Interesting topic.

  2. A true survivor. I wonder why it is when we see these very old people there’s a bit of curiosity about what they looked like when young. That’s me and old photos though.

  3. What a remarkable existence! To think of all the things he saw.

  4. Truly remarkable. The stories he could tell!

  5. Wow, very good article, if anyone is interested in current supercentenarians we track all verified living supercentenarians at http://www.livingsupercentenarians.com .

  6. What a strength, that Geert Adriaans Boomgaard! :-)
    He almost visited 1700, 1800 and 1900!

  7. Wow, what a long life he lived and surviving battle to boot!

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