There are two sources that give his year of birth as 1912. One is M Pastinha's registry book, opened in 1946, where there's M Cobrinha Verde as a member number 28, so quite in the beginning (see the copy of the page below).
The other is the book called Capoeira and Mandingas from 1991 where on the page 37 M Mau (Marcelino dos Santos) dedicates a ladainha to M Cobrinha, saying that: "This Mestre is Cobrinha / He was born in Santo Amato in 1912". Being that he was an old student of the mestre, we can believe in this year.
of the image-
Rafael Alves França member n° 28
Was born to 24th October 1912
Brazilian Born in Bahia
Son of João Alves França
Mrs. Maria Narciza Bispo
Single, Profession Mason
Category Complete professional
Admitted to 12th August 1955
Resi. Curuzu Vila Operaria de Baixo 17A
We leave here the earlier study, that set the year of his birth on 1908:
Rafael Alves França, the future M Cobrinha Verde, was born the son of João Alves França and Maria Narcisa Bispo in Santo Amaro da Purificação. Basing on the following findings Velhosmestres.com is proposing that the mestre was born in 1908.
74 years in 1982
O Globo, 16/Feb/1982 reveals:
In a poor neighborhood in Itapoã, alternating his 74 well-lived years between beating the bricks of his everyday labor of stonemason and the vigorous stomps of the feet on the old clay-floor, lives the only one of the "old masters" still alive in Bahia. This is mestre "Cobrinha Verde", fearsome disciple of the renowned "Besouro" who, in the last century, amused and terrorized the Bahian Bay Area.
22 years in 1930
Castro, 2007, writes that: [..] the news about the Revolution of 1930 reached his ears and he decided to fight on the rebels side who were commanded by Getúlio Vargas. M Cobrinha Verde says in Capoeira e Mandingas:
«I was only 22 years old.»
17 years in 1925
In Capoeira e Mandingas, M Cobrinha Verde says:
«I went to Lençóis [in 1925] and entered Horácio de Matos's gang. I was 17 years old.»
O Globo, 16/Feb/1982: [M Cobrinha Verde] remembers between laughs that in 1925 he was the target of 18 shots, but no bullet hit him, while he jumped and spinned every direction.
On 17.02.1925 there was a great shoot-out between Major João da Mota Coelho, Commandant of the Companhia Regional da Força Baiana and Colonel Horácio de Matos. Source