Liang (surname)

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"Leung" redirects here. For the Chinese weight unit, see tael.
Liang (梁)
Leung Writing.svg
Origin
Meaning "a beam," "a bridge," or "an elevation," or "a mast"
Other names
Variant(s) Leung, Leong, Lyang, Yang
Transliteration Regions
Liang China, Indonesia
Leung Hong Kong
Leong Macau, Malaysia, Singapore
Neo/Nio/Niu Hokkien, Teochew, Hainan
Nio Indonesia
Ryang, Yaung, Lyang Japan
Yang(양)/Ryang(량) Korea
Lương Vietnam
Diang(son, zon) Pampanga

Liang[1] (Romanization used in China, Chinese: ) is an East Asian surname of Chinese origin. Meaning "a beam", "a bridge", or "an elevation", or "a mast",[2] the surname is often transliterated as Leung (in Hong Kong) or Leong (in Macau, Malaysia, and Singapore) according to its Cantonese pronunciation, or Neo / Nio / Niu (Hokkien, Teochew, Hainan). To Indonesia, it is known as Liang or Nio. It is also common in Korea, where it is pronounced Yang 양 or Ryang 량 . In Vietnam, it's pronounced as Lương.

History[edit]

The first Liang was Liang Kang (梁康)and was conferred the title "Bo" or "伯" (third ranking noble- equivalent to a Count or Earl) who was the ruler of the State of Liang, in what is now Shaanxi Province in the northwestern part of China. He was a younger son of Qin Zhong (秦仲- ancestor to the Qin Duchy and subsequent Qin Dynasty)who was killed in battle against barbarians to the west (西戎)in the service of the Zhou emperor. Liang Kang, amongst the five sons of Qin Zhong requested assistance from the Zhou emperor to retaliate and triumphed. The eldest son inherited the Qin state with the younger son being conferred the State of Liang and became the first Liang- henceforth also known as Liang Bo (梁伯 Count of Liang). The State of Liang lasted from 770BC to 641BC.

Wedged between the superpowers of the time, Qin and Jin, the Liang rulers were known for their Earthworks. They are regarded to be amongst the earliest wall builders, attempting to encircle the tiny county with a wall. Such was the quality of the works parts of the walls still remain standing today, despite predating the Qin Dynasty's original Great Wall of China by some 400 years. In the process it triggered an uprising, providing the opportunity for Qin to invade and conquer. The descendants of Liang Kang retained the name Liang as their surname in memory of the Liang state when it was annexed by the neighboring State of Qin in 641 BC.

During the Eastern Han period, a time when the Han Dynasty was in chaos and decline, a power struggle ensued between three rival groups, the powerful eunuchs, the cliques of officials and the consort families of which the Liang was one. This was largely because, starting in 88 AD, minors were placed on the throne and hence effective control of the Dynasty was in the hands of Regents. There were three successive empresses starting with Liang Na, Liang Ji and Liang Mengnu.

According to Witold Rodziński's The Walled Kingdom (1984), "the Liang family, by providing three empresses, became the effective ruler of the country by the middle of the second century, and its members accumulated a vast number of key posts. However, its rivals, the eunuchs, were able, due to their influence on the new emperor, to bring about its downfall, and the whole Liang clan was reduced in 159AD."

In 159AD a eunuch gang in the service of Emperor Huan of Han slaughtered relatives of the Empress Dowager Liang, effectively bringing an end to the Imperial aspirations of the Liang family.

Notable people with the surname 梁[edit]

Characters

Chinese

Filipino

Vietnamese

Korean

References[edit]

  1. ^ The approximate pronunciation in English is /ˈljɑːŋ/.
  2. ^ 康熙字典, page: 528