Dialect Variants

Huang, Hwang(Mandarin)
Wong (Cantonese/Yue, Fuzhou, Hakka/Kejia, Gan)
Bong (Hakka/Kejia)
Huynh, Hoang (Vietnamese)
Hwang, Whang (Korean)
Ng (Hokkien/Min, Teochiew/Chaoshan)
Oei, Ooi, Oi, Uy, Wee (Hokkien/Min)
Ong (erroneous transliteration of "Ng")


The Huang Surname- Introduction

Huang2 is Chinese surname no.96 in "Bai Jia Xing " 百家姓 (Hundreds Family Surnames), a list of Chinese surnames compiled during the Song dynasty. Huang is the 7th most common surname in China in 2006 (Yuan Yida, 2006). The population of Huangs in China (including Taiwan) was estimated at more than 29 million in 2000; it was also the surname of more than 2 million overseas Chinese, many Vietnamese (no data available) and an estimated 1 million Koreans (The 2000 census of South Korea revealed Huang was the surname of 644,294 South Koreans, ranked 17th) .


Huang is an ancient surname which origin could be traced back more than 4,200 years to the days of the legendary sage emperors preceding the Xia dynasty. During the reign of Emperor Yao 尧帝, Hui Lian 惠连, son of Lu Zhong 陆终, a descendant of the Yellow Emperor 黄帝 (Huang Di) scored a merit in harnessing river floods, and Emperor Yao conferred on Hui Lian the state of Can'hu 参胡 (in present-day region of Fenyang 汾阳, Shanxi province 山西省, China). It was in the 96th year of Emperor Yao (2220 BC). Emperor Yao renamed Can'hu "the State of Huang" 黄国, and bestowed on Hui Lian the surname "Huang" and the name "Yun" . Hence, Hui Lian was also known as Huang Yun 黄云. Hui Lian became the Progenitor of the Huang Surname Clan. The descendants of Huang Yun (Hui Lian) ruled the Huang State of Shanxi until the early "Spring and Autumn Period" 春秋时代 (722 BC-481 BC) when it was conquered by the State of Jin 晋国.

Development and Emigration

In 891 BC, King Xiao of Zhou (Zhou Xiao Wang) 周孝王 conferred on a direct descendant of Hui Lian, Huang Xi 黄熙 (also known as Huang Shi 黄石), the nobility title of "Hou" (Marquis) and a fiefdom in the region east of the Han river 汉水 (in present-day region of Yicheng 宜城, Hubei 湖北 province) called "Huang" (Not to be confused with the Huang State of Fenyang, Shanxi) with the four neighbouring states, Jiang , Huang (founded by 伯益 Bo Yi's descendants and which was known as Huang tribe/barbarians 黄夷 during the Xia dynasty), Dao , and Bo in the Huang river 潢水 valley as vassals. The Huang State of Yicheng, Hubei was known as the "Western Huang" (Xi Huang 西黄) in history.

In 845 BC, Marquis Wen
文侯 Huang Meng 黄孟 (aka Huang Zhang 黄璋) moved the capital of the State of Huang from Yicheng to Huangchuan 潢川 (present-day Huangchuan 潢川, Henan 河南省) and founded a new Huang State. Huang Xi's descendants ruled State of Huang until 648 BC when it was destroyed by the State of Chu 楚国. The Marquis of Huang, Marquis Mu 穆侯 (Huang Qisheng 黄企生), narrowly escaped and fled to the State of Qi 齐国 (in present-day Linzi, Shandong province 山东省). The people of Huang were forced to relocate to Chu, to the region of present-day Hubei province, known as the Jiangxia Prefecture 江夏郡 during the Han dynasty (206 BC-AD 220) 汉朝. There are many places in this region today that were named after Huang e.g Huanggang 黄冈, Huangpi 黄陂, Huangmei 黄梅, Huangshi 黄石 etc. A large number of the people of Huang were also relocated to regions south of the Changjiang/Yangtze River 长江, to the lands of the aboriginal Man tribes. Among them were descendants of the aristocratic Huang family, who later assimilated with the aboriginal tribes and became the Huangs of the ethnic minorities. For example, the famous Huang Dong Man tribe 黄洞蛮 during the Tang dynasty. Those assimilated Huangs in the Yue tribe also moved with the tribe into present-day Vietnam. In 356 BC, the Huang Clan also spread its branch into Korea.

After three centuries in decline, the Huang Clan resurged when
Huang Xie 黄歇, a descendant of the aristocratic family of the vanquished Huang State was elevated as the Prime Minister of the State of Chu. Huang Xie was conferred the title "Lord of Chunshen" 春申君 (314 BC-238 BC). During the Han dynasty, Huang Ba  黄霸 (130 BC- 51 BC) also became prime minister. It was during the Han dynasty that the Huang clan reached the zenith of preestige and power.

From Jiangxia, the Huang Clan later spread to other parts of China and later on to other parts of the world. Hence Jiangxia is regarded as the Cradle of the Huang Clan and the name "Jiangxia" was adopted as the clan's "Hall name" 堂号. Today, the Huang surname Clan is known as the "Huang Clan of Jiangxia". The name "Jiangxia" has become a synonym of Huang Surname Clan.

During the Jin dynasty
晋朝 (AD 265-AD 420), northern China was invaded by the barbarian tribes, many northerners (especially the aristocratic clans) moved to south China with the Jin court. It was during this period that the Huang2 Clansmen migrated to Fujian 福建省.

According to Min Shu
闽书 (Book of Min) (Quoted from Chung Yoon-Ngan):
"During the second year (of the reign) of Yong Jia (308AD) the Central Plain was in chaos and the eight (aristocratic) Clans:- Lin , Huang, Chen, Zheng, Zhan, Qiu, He, and Hu, entered Min (present day Fujian province, China)."

From the Tang dynasty (AD 618-AD 907) onwards, Huang Clansmen migrated from Fujian to Guangdong 广东省 and to the other southern provinces. Huang Clan developed into a big Clan in south China and became the 3rd biggest surname clan in South China today. (Related Article: How The Han Chinese Became The World's Biggest Tribe)

Migration to Taiwan 台湾 began during the transition period from the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) to Qingdynasty (1644-1912), when many Huang2 Clansmen followed the Anti-Manchu Ming loyalist forces under Zheng Chenggong 郑成功, crossed the Taiwan straits to Taiwan island.

Huang migration overseas began as early as the 14th century during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) to destinations in Southeast Asia. One notable early Huang emigrant was Huang Senping 黄森屏 (better known as Ong Sum Ping), who went to Brunei in 1375. Migration to Americas began only in the mid-19th century following the forced opening of China's ports by the West. Today, the population of overseas Chinese Huangs is estimated at more than 2 million.

Copyright Ng Poh Sing 2003-2006