Chinese Ruan

Why is Nguyen a dominant Vietnamese last name?

Clarification: Are you asking why the surname Nguyen is so common among those in Vietnam and with Vietnamese ancestry? If so . . .

According to:

http://genealogy.about.com/od/surname_meaning/p/nguyen.htm

Quote: "Nguyen is of Chinese origin, from the Chinese ruan, a plucked string instrument. Nguyen was the family name of a major Vietnamese royal dynasty. It is said that during the Tran Dynasty in the 11th to 13th centuries, many members of the Ly family of the prior dynasty changed their name to Nguyen to avoid persecution."

Approximately 40% of Vietnamese people have that surname.

You can read a bit more about the surname on this message board:

http://www.chinahistoryforum.com/index.php?/topic/35069-meaning-behind-chinese-surnames/

This is a link to a similar question asked on Y!A (different category - with good and quite a few not so good answers) about 2 years ago:

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090503001905AAwfZzk

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