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Zaro Aga (16 Feb 1774/1777? – 29 June 1934) was a Turkish-Kurdish man who was claimed to be one of the longest-living humans ever. He claimed to be born between 1774 and 1777, and died on 29 June 1934 in Istanbul, Turkey. He was allegedly aged 157/160 years and 133 days old when he died, and thus claimed to be one of the longest-living humans ever. Subsequent research, and the facts of history, place this story in the realm of longevity myth, suggesting that he was just 97 years old.

Biography

Zaro Agha was born at an uncertain date (claimed 16 February 1774) in Medan village (present-day: Meydan) in Mutki (Bitlis Province, Ottoman Empire). He worked as a construction worker when he was young, and then moved to Istanbul, where he worked as a porter for more than 150 years and finally retired as a janitor. He claimed to have met Napoleon, to have fought in six wars, and to have fought in the Battle of Plevna, when he was 100. He was not sure if he had been married eleven or twelve times, but claimed to have roughly 36 children. He was a major attraction to press during his last years as the world's oldest living man and one who had traveled to many countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Italy. His body was sent to the US for research purposes after he died. His tombstone is located in Eyüp Sultan Cemetery in Istanbul, Turkey.

Zaro Aga had come into Mustafa Kemal Atatürk's presence twice and called him "Sultan". Turkish newspaper Taraf claimed that when Zaro met with Mustafa Kemal, he mentioned his having done very good jobs, but he allegedly criticized his giving much freedom to the women.[1][2][3]

Debate

There is a debate as to his actual age when he died. According to the death certificate given by his Turkish doctor, Zaro Aga's age was 157. He died in Istanbul, although there exists some confusion about the death place, probably because the body was sent to the US right after his death. However, an investigation report published by Walter Bowermann in 1939 indicated that Zaro Aga was around 97, not 157.

References

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