The Origin of the Tan Clan (Chen Clan)
The Tan surname, or Mandarin, is called Chen [陈] is the 5th largest Chinese surname in mainland China and ranks 10th in the book “Bai Jia Xing (Hundreds of Chinese Clans)”. Even in Singapore, Hong Kong and Macao, the Tan clan is the clan with the most citizens or ranks first among the other Chinese clans. Besides being used by Chinese citizens, Marga Tan (Chen) is also used by Vietnamese and Korean citizens. The term Marga Tan varies depending on the dialect and language it uses. Some of the designations include Tan (Teochew and Hokkien), Chan (Cantonese), Chin (Hakka) while in Vietnam mention Trần and Japan are Chin.
The origin of the Tan Clan can be traced back to 3000 years ago precisely in 1066 BC which at that time the Shang Dynasty which was ruled by Emperor Shang Zhou Wang [商 纣王] was defeated by Emperor Zhou Wu Wang [周武王] who was also the founder of the Dynasty Zhou [周朝]. To strengthen his power, Emperor Zhou Wu Wang carried out the division of the Dukes’ State and gave it to the officials who served him. Gui Man [妫 满] who is also a descendant of Emperor Shun [舜帝] obtained the Chen [陈] region (now is Huai Yang County, Henan Province, China). Gui Man then founded the Royal Duke of Chen [陈 国] with the title Chen Hou [陈侯]. Wei Man also married the Emperor’s daughter Zhou Wu Wang. After his death, Gui Man gained the promotion of “Gong [公] as Hu Gong Man [胡 公 满].
During the reign of Gui Man, Chen State was one of the strongest countries and its people lived prosperously. But after Gui Man died, Chen State experienced a civil war and power struggle that caused his people to suffer and flee to other areas. Because of its loyalty to the Chen State, the majority of its people and the descendants of Gui Man (Hu Gong Man) used the name of their country as a clan, so that the Chen clan, or more commonly referred to as the Tan clan in the Teochew and Hokkien dialects.
Gui Man as the founder of Chen State is also the ancestor of the Tan Clan. Gui Man’s burial place in Huai Yang City is often visited by the Tan Clans from all over the world to pay homage to the ancestor of the Tan Clan.
Famous Tan (Chen) clans:
Chen Sheng [陈胜], the peasant leader who fought against the cruelty of the Qin Dynasty and crowned himself King when his Military Forces succeeded in conquering Chen County.
Chen Shou [陈寿], historian of the Western Jin Dynasty and also the author of “San Guo Zhi [三国 志] (Samkok)” which is very well known today.
Chen Ba Xian [陈 霸先], Founder of the Chen Dynasty in the Era of the Southern Southern Dynasty (Nan Bei Chao) with the title Chen Wu Di [陈武帝]