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"lai" family name, ancestry, and history


Lai (Traditional Chinese: 賴; Simplified Chinese: 赖; Pinyin: Lài) is a common Chinese surname that is pronounced similarly in both Cantonese and Mandarin. It is also a Taiwanese surname that is romanized as "Luā". In Cantonese, a different last name "黎" is also romanized into "Lai". It is pronounced Li in Mandarin: see Lí (黎) (surname). The Lai's ancestry is from the state of Lai in the Spring and Autumn Period. Many Lais dispersed to the south during their defeat by the Chu state, many even changed their surname to escape persecution. The brother of Zhou Wu Wang, Shu Ying, was awarded as Duke of Lai (northeast of Shi in Henan). In 583 B.C the Lai kingdom was destroyed by Chu Ling Wang. Some of its people fled to neighboring kingdoms of Luo (羅) and Fu (傅), others migrated north and settled in Da Yan (Yanling in Henan). They adopted the name Lai to commemorate their old kingdom. Today, the largest Lai clans are in Taiwan, Philippines, Indonesia, Xingning, Meixian and Melbourne. A 2006 census shows that Lai is the 90th most common surname in China.

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