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  • Writer's picture@ Cynthia Adina Kirkwood

Portugal’s Oldest Woman Dies at 113, Outliving a King, 2 Pandemics and 2 World Wars

Updated: Jul 24, 2022

Encarnaçao Sousa died at 113 years and 123 days old


The last king of Portugal, Dom Manuel II, sat on the throne of Portugal in Lisbon when a baby was born 300 kilometers northeast in the country’s rural interior.

Manuel II died in 1932 at 42 years old. Encarnaçao Sousa, the baby, died just days ago in the early hours of July 21 at the age of 113.

She was the oldest woman in Portugal and one of the oldest in Europe, according to Correio da Manha (July 22).

On March 20, 1909, Encarnaçao Sousa was born in the village of Tourais in the municipality of Seia and the district of Gouveia.

“She was always in a good mood, liked to talk and every day, at mealtime, she drank a glass of wine from the Vila Nova de Tazem cellar,” said Maria Helena Batista, who works at the Nossa Senhora Assunçao Parish Social Center, where Encarnaçao lived for the last 13 years, reported Correio da Manha.


Encarnaçao Sousa with her husband and seven of their nine children


Encarnaçao Sousa married by proxy and moved to Africa to join her husband.

“She went through two world wars and suffered with her children through the colonial wars,” reported Correio da Manha.

In April, she overcame COVID-19 without symptoms. She also triumphed over the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918.

In 1969 around the age of 60, she returned to Portugal. Encarnaçao worked as a domestic and as an agricultural worker.

Encarnaçao Sousa had nine children, 14 grandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren. Her daughter, Manuela Sousa Santos, 76, told Correio da Manha:

“She was an example for all her children and a fighter who always made us proud with her courage.”

In the last few days, she had lost her appetite. On July 20, she was transported to the Hospital da Fundaçao Aurelio Amaro Diniz in Oliveira do Hospital, where she drew her last breath.

Several hundred people are expected to attend the 7 p.m. funeral Mass at the Igregia Matriz de Vila Nova de Tazem on July 23, according to Correio da Manha.

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