Military prowess a strength of Huas

THE origins of the surname Hua have a few branches in different regions in China. 

THE origins of the surname Hua have a few branches in different regions in China. The first is derived from the royal surname Ji in the Western Zhou Dynasty (c.11th century-770 BC).

A branch of the descendants of Zhou Wenwang used the first name Hua (华) as their family name. The character of Hua (花) didn’t exist then and it later appeared during the Northern Dynasty (AD 386-581). The branch of Hua (华) mistakenly changed their surname to Hua (花) at that time.

Another branch originated from foreign countries. Some envoys to the Sui Dynasty (AD 581-618) from Poli (an ancient country in today’s Brunei) and Heling (an ancient country in today’s Indonesia) decided to settle in China instead of returning to their homelands. They chose Hua to be their Chinese surname because its ancient pronunciation was the same as their home country’s name “He.” Today some of the Huas in Fujian Province still claim that they have their roots in Indonesia.

The third branch of this surname came from minority ethnic groups such as Nuzhen, Man, Hui and Dai ethnic groups. They chose the character Hua to be their surname while changing names from their own language to Mandarin.

As the origins of the surname have different historical and regional backgrounds, today the Huas are scattered around China in many provinces including Sichuan, Anhui, Jiangsu, Fujian, Guangdong and Yunnan. Around 69 percent of Huas live in Liaoning Province.

The Huas are known for their military talents. The earliest recorded celebrity surnamed Hua was Hua Jingding from Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907). He was a brave general in Chengdu, Sichuan Province who defeated the rebellion of Duan Zizhang. Hua Yun, who helped Zhu Yuanzhang establish the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), was another brave and successful general.

Some fictional characters in many classical works were given the surname Hua to emphasize their military strength. The most famous is Hua Mulan, the female general from folklore featured in many traditional opera forms, TV series and a Disney animation. Hua Rong in Shui Hu Zhuan (Water Margin) is another example. He ranks ninth in the 108 heroes of the story and is known for his bowmanship.

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