vietnam travel covid 19 updates

Stay updated with the latest news of the COVID-19 situation in Vietnam and information for traveling to Vietnam. Read more here.

Vietnam Travel Information

i Tour Vietnam | Top-rated private Ho Chi Minh City tours and Vietnam travel guides.

Why do many Vietnamese have the Nguyen surname

why-do-so-many-vietnamese-have-the-nguyen-surname

The pie chart shows the proportions of the popular surnames in Vietnam according to a research in 2005. Most of them are the family names of dynasties in Vietnamese history.

Have you ever heard or known a person who has Nguyen as a family name? On the international scale, it is a tip to identify people of Vietnamese descent. But why do nearly 40% of Vietnamese have their surname as Nguyen (according to an unofficial research published in 2005 in Vietnam)? This is in about 37 million people worldwide, making Nguyen one of the most popular family names around the world.

The Use of Surnames in Vietnam

Similar to other countries, Vietnamese names consist of three parts: first name, middle name, and surname. The middle name is not necessary, and thus, some do not have one. For example, the name Nguyen Trai has Nguyen as a surname and Trai as the first name, and there is no middle name in this case. Moreover, contrary to American names, Vietnamese surnames are placed at the beginning of the full names.

In many countries, the surnames play a tremendous role; it can be used to trace back to where you were born, your ancestors, when they emigrated to the countries, your religion, and your social status. However, in Vietnam, the family names do not mean that much. In fact, most Vietnamese could not look up far more than three or five generations of their family tree, and also are not able to use only the surname to learn more about their family.

why do so many vietnamese have the nguyen surname famous people

Famous Vietnamese with the Nguyen surname - Nguyen Tat Thanh (aka Ho Chi Minh) and Nguyen Trai (a politician and poet in the 15th century)

Check out our private motorbike tours with professional local guides
for fun and insightful trips in Ho Chi Minh City!

family outing in ho chi minh city motorcycle

The Reasons behind Many Vietnamese Have the Nguyen Surname

The use of surname did not appear until the colonial period. The conquering nations such as France, China, Spain, Portugal, Germany and the United States of America brought the surnames into practice to differentiate among many people that had the same first names. And thus making it easier to manage taxes.

As for why many Vietnamese have the Nguyen surname, there are many theories about when the Nguyen surname was used in Vietnam and became popular. But most of them were related to the fact that the Nguyen surname was randomly forced on people by the local governors.

1. The Chinese Immigration and Rulers' Law

In the Northern and Southern Dynasties (420 - 589) and later dynasties (907-960), some Chinese moved to the south, where ancient Vietnam was, to avoid the great disturbance, especially people that lived in Anhui, Zhejiang, and Hubei provinces. These people were believed to have the Nguyen surname and gradually assimilated into the indigenous population.

It is also believed that when a new dynasty in ancient Vietnam took reign, the members of the royal families of the previous dynasty had to change their last name to Nguyen to rid and forget that dynasty from the country. Moreover, according to the law of the Nguyen dynasty, the people who had the Nguyen surname could enjoy many special benefits, receive awards, and avoid being arrested for crimes. Consequently, many people changed their surname to Nguyen to avoid being caught and enjoy more freedom.

2. The French Population Statistic

Prior to the 19th century, Vietnamese in the low and middle class usually did not have surnames, only those in the royal families had them. When Vietnam became a French colony, the French started a big population investigation across Vietnam. In the process, they encountered a problem that so many people had the same first names. In order to solve this confusion and continued the statistical data gathering, they assigned the surname Nguyen to all of them because Nguyen was the name of the latest dynasty, ruled from 1802 to 1945. So again, the Nguyen surname was expanded with a great scale once more.

why do so many vietnamese have the nguyen surname bao dai

The portrait of Bao Dai, the last emperor of the Nguyen Dynasty

Summary of Why do many Vietnamese have the Nguyen surname

Now you have an idea for why many Vietnamese have the Nguyen surname. These reasons come down to many historical events throughout Vietnamese history from the Chinese to French-dominated Vietnam.

In case you have great interests in Vietnamese history, there are museums where you can learn more about past events, especially the Vietnam War.

We also provide well-prepared private tours within Ho Chi Minh City, which can be an ideal option for your trips. Check them out at Day Adventure Tour and Cu Chi Tunnels tour.

Get the world-leading travel insurance for your adventure in Vietnam:

 
124
 

Comments

No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Already Registered? Login Here
Guest
Friday, 22 October 2021

Captcha Image

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to https://www.itourvn.com/

 

About itourvn.com

This Vietnam travel information page is written by a team of professional tour guides in Vietnam. More about us or visit home page

Private Ho Chi Minh Tours

private ho chi minh tours

All tours are private, customizable, and led by professional English-speaking guides. For more reference, read our customer reviews or see below for the tour package in Ho Chi Minh that works for you.

Half-day City Tour

Night Tour

Food Tour

Saigon's Other Side

Shore Excursions

Vietnam Travel Information

Check out the necessary information for traveling to Vietnam

First Time in Vietnam

To Pack List for Vietnam

Vietnam Travel Adaptors

Major Cities in Vietnam

Family & Elderly Travel

LGBT Travel

Vietnam Festivals and Holidays

Best Vietnamese Dishes

UNESCO World Heritage in Vietnam

Responsible Travel in Vietnam

Vietnamese Culture

Religions in Vietnam

Ethnicities in Vietnam

Tipping in Vietnam

Vietnamese Currency Guide

Best Dishes to Try in Vietnam

20 Must-try Vietnamese Dishes

Unusual Foods to Try in Vietnam

Street Food in Vietnam

Vietnamese Grilled Dishes

Rice Dishes in Vietnam

Pho Dishes in Vietnam

Holiday Dishes to Try during Tet Holiday

Chinese Dishes in Vietnam

Dishes to Try in Northern Vietnam

Dishes to Try in Central Vietnam

Dishes to Try in Southern Vietnam

What to Eat in Ho Chi Minh City

What to Eat in Hanoi

What to Eat in Hue

What to Eat in Hoi An

What to Eat in Da Lat

What to Eat in the Mekong Delta

Traveling to and within Vietnam

Airport Arrival Tips at Tan Son Nhat International Airport (Ho Chi Minh)

Airport Arrival Tips at Noi Bai International Airport (Hanoi)

Major Airports in Vietnam

Taking Trains in Vietnam

Bringing your Motorbikes on Trains in Vietnam

Bringing Your Own Vehicles to Vietnam

Bringing Your Pets to Vietnam

How to Take Motorbike Taxis

Taking a Ferry in Vietnam

Renting a Car in Vietnam

How to Travel from Hanoi to Da Nang

How to Travel from Hanoi to Hue

How to Travel from Hanoi to Sa Pa

How to Travel from Hanoi to Mai Chau

How to Travel from Hanoi to Moc Chau

How to Travel from Hanoi to Cao Bang

How to Travel from Hanoi to Mu Cang Chai

How to Travel from Hanoi to Ha Giang

How to Travel from Ho Chi Minh to Mui Ne

How to Travel from Ho Chi Minh to Da Lat

How to Travel from Ho Chi Minh to Phu Quoc Island

How to Travel from Da Nang to Hoi An

How to Travel from Hue to Phong Nha

Vietnam Travel Itineraries

Vietnam One-month Itinerary

Vietnam One-week Itinerary

Taking a Gap Year in Vietnam

Backpacking in Vietnam

Expat Tours in Vietnam

Honeymoon in Vietnam

Vietnam Visa, SIM Cards, and WiFi

Visa Info & Where to Buy Sim Cards

Traveling with Wifi in Vietnam

Vietnam Travel Safety Tips

Travel Insurance

Is it Safe to Drink Tap Water?

How to Avoid Mosquitoes

Food Safety in Vietnam

Getting Vaccinations

Common Diseases and How to Prevent

Wearing Face Masks in Vietnam

Can Tourists Drive in Vietnam

How to Avoid Scams

Travel Safety Tips

Best Places to Stay in Vietnam

Deluxe Hotels in Vietnam

Best Hotels in Ho Chi Minh

Best Hotels in Hanoi

Where to Stay in Ha Long Bay

Where to Stay in Mai Chau

Where to Stay in Moc Chau

Where to Stay in Ha Giang

Where to Stay in Cao Bang

Where to Stay in Lang Son

Where to Stay in Sa Pa

Where to Stay in Mu Cang Chai

Where to Stay in Kon Tum

Where to Stay in Da Lat

Where to Stay in Mui Ne

Where to Stay in Hoi An

Homestays in Vietnam

Find more hotels to stay in Vietnam below:

 

Ho Chi Minh Travel Guides

First Time in Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh Attractions & Activities

Places to Eat & Drink

Shopping in Ho Chi Minh

Ho Chi Minh City Districts

Local Activities in Ho Chi Minh

Hanoi Travel Guides

First Time in Hanoi

Hanoi Attractions & Activities

Places to Eat & Drink in Hanoi

Shopping in Hanoi

Hanoi Districts

Local Activities in Hanoi

North Vietnam Travel Guides

First Time in Ninh Binh

First Time in Ha Giang

First Time in Ha Long Bay

First Time in Sa Pa

First Time at Yen Tu Mountain

First Time in Moc Chau

First Time in Mai Chau

First Time in Hai Phong

First Time in Cao Bang

First Time in Lang Son

First Time at Bai Tu Long Bay

Central Vietnam Travel Guides

First Time in Hue

First Time in Hoi An

First Time in Da Nang

First Time in Nha Trang

First Time in Da Lat

First Time in Mui Ne

First Time in Buon Ma Thuot

First Time in Kon Tum

First Time in Phu Yen

South Vietnam Travel Guides

First Time in the Mekong Delta

First Time at Con Dao Island

First Time in Vung Tau

First Time at Phu Quoc Island

First Time in Ca Mau

First Time in Can Tho

Powered by 12Go Asia system