Adelina Domingues (February 19, 1888 – August 21, 2002) was a Cape Verdean American supercentenarian who was the world’s oldest person from the May 28, 2002 death of fellow 114-year-old American woman Grace Clawson until her own death less than three months later. Domingues was only posthumously and retroactively recognized as the world’s oldest person in 2012, since before that point the case of Kamato Hongo of Japan was considered to be valid by the Gerontology Research Group (serious doubts were cast upon Hongo’s age by Belgian researcher Michel Poulain in 2010).
Domingues was born in February 1888 in Brava, Cape Verde. Her family was not very well off financially at the time of her birth. Domingues’s Italian father was a harbor pilot by profession and was young when he fathered Adelina. Domingues’s mother was Portuguese by ethnicity. She married a ship captain named Jose in 1907, and also moved to theUnited States that year. Jose died from cancer in 1950. Domingues was a missionary from the Church of the Nazarene in Cape Verde and other parts of Africa and was also a religious preacher when she lived in Massachusetts, as well as an expert seamstress. Domingues was a firm believer in the American Dream, was deeply religious, had conservativepolitical views, and was a pen pal of U.S. President Ronald Reagan. Domingues ate beans and vegetables every day, and also avoided tobacco and alcohol. She refused to take medication as well. She had four children, but only one of them (by the name of Frank) reached adulthood. Frank died in 1998 at the age of 71, with Adelina outliving him by four years. Domingues died at a nursing home in the San Diego, California area in August 2002, at age 114 years and 183 days. At the time of her death, Domingues was the oldest verified person ever born in Cape Verde. Also, at the time of her death, Domingues was the oldest verified person ever from a Portuguese-speaking country, a record which was later broken by Maria do Couto Maia-Lopes of Portugal in 2005. Wedding documents would have made her 115 years old at the time of her death, but her family and Cape Verdean diplomats did some research and discovered her baptismal information, from which they concluded that Domingues was 114 years old when she died.