Maria Gomes Valentim
About to turn 115

Guinness World Records confirms that Brazilian Maria Gomes Valentim has taken the title of 'Oldest Living Person' aged 114 years and 313 days. Maria was born on July 9, 1896, in Carangola, Brazil, where she has resided all her life. She attributes her longevity to a healthy diet.

How did the Guiness Book of World Records get started?

On May 4, 1951, Sir Hugh Beaver, then the managing director of the Guinness Brewery, went on a shooting party in North Slob in County Wexford, Ireland. He became involved in an argument over which was the fastest game bird in Europe, then later realized it was impossible to confirm in reference books. He then thought that a book supplying answers to such questions could be popular.

The first 197-page edition of the "Guinness Book of Records" was bound on Aug. 27, 1955, and went on to the top of the British best-seller list by Christmas. Over 400 million copies have sold since. The most recent one to hit the shelves is the "Guinness World Records 2011."