Rao (surname)


Rao (surname)

Rao is a common surname across India, Pakistan, China, Taiwan, Italy and Brazil. Rao is also used as an addition to ones name or as a suffix to a male name in some places.

Rao's of India

Rao is a common suffix to male given names among natives of southern and western India, chiefly in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Punjab, and Rajasthan. Rao is a title derived from “Rao Bahaddur” and is a suffix for male names (given names). As such it is not a family name (surname or last name). However, some Telugu families adopted Rao as their family name (surname or last name), relinquishing their original family names (surnames or last names), if they had any.

Large members of Madhava brahmin community in South India have Rao as their surname.

Variations of the name suffix "Rao" include "Rai", "Rayulu", "Rayawar", "Rayar", "Raut", "Raya" and some others. One or the other of these variations is found in most parts of India, but mainly in south India and the deccan region. The name "Rai" is usually found in north India and in the Punjab province of Pakistan, as well as the western coast of the state of Karnataka predominant in cities such as Mangalore.

Rao is very commanly used surname amongst Shivalli, Kota, GSB and Daivajna in South Canara and Udupi

Rao is also used as a surname in the Gujarati community, chiefly among the Brahmbhatt or Barot castes. The Barots were given the title Rao by Emperor Akbar "The Great" as a reward for settling the dispute between Akbar and his son Saleem. The reward included ownership of surrounding areas of several villages, and was designated "Rao" of the territory. The descendants of this Rao each went on to administer four localities including Tandadja, Achhalaia, Rasulavaad, and Patan (all in Gujarat).

Traditional Indian affiliations

In Rajasthan, the name generally denotes affiliation to the royal Rajput caste, the traditional landowners of the area.Rao is the title given to the Parmar/Pawar clan of Rajputs as Rajas is to the Pratihar/Parihar and Rana is to Chauhan/Chavan and Rawal is to Solanki/Chaulakiya. Rao title was also given to people of other tribes that fought alongside the pawar Marathas during the Marathe wars as a reward for their bravery. In Punjab, the name "Rai" is generally found in landowning families, often of the Kshattriya caste.In Haryana"RAo" is used by chandravanshi kshatriyas,Yadavas,descendant of lord krishna(aka ahirraos) In the south-western state of Karnataka, the last name Rao is usually maintained by various denominations of Brahmins and other wealthy land-owning classes. In North India, Rao is a name most frequently found in the class of Indians who are wealthy landowners, upper castes, and those who occupy a highly respected place in society.

While it is most often associated with particular castes, Rao does not necessarily denote a caste affiliation, particularly in Southern India and Maharashtra, since people of every caste have adopted the surname. In Maharashtra and Karnataka, the suffix "Rao" / "Rayaru" is often used in casual conversation as an honorific for people whose surname is something else. This usage indicates the origin of the word itself, which dates at least to the Vijayanagara Empire, in which the emperor was referred to as "Raya".This name is also affiliated with Pakistan's Waziristan region and is linked to tribesman and goat hearders from as early as the fifteenth century.

Rao's of Pakistan

The majority of Raos in Pakistan are Muslim Punwar (Pawar) Rajputs. Raos can be found all across Pakistan and are found in large numbers in the Punjab Province. Raos are the brave people of the country as the majority of Raos are in Army forces of Pakistan. Rao belongs to the sub continent and they also had a state Rajputana in india. Raos are the Heroes of Rajputana.It is an irony that both the Indian and pakistani Armies have a huge concentration of Pawars in them. The Indian army has nearly 70% Pawars from the Shekhawati region of the famous Pawar Warrior Rao Sheka.

Rao's of China and Taiwan

The surname Rao (zh-cp|c=饒|p=Ráo) is found in China and Taiwan. However, it is not limited to just those geographical areas, but is also found in many other places in the world where people of Chinese descent reside.Literally, the surname means "abundant", "plentiful", "to spare", or "to forgive".

The surname Rao is approximately 2200 years old, originated in the area near present-day Linfen county in Shanxi province. Its origin derives from Ji Fa, the leader of the powerful Zhou Clan, which destroyed the Shang Dynasty (1783BC to 1122BC) and established the Zhou Dynasty (1134BC to 256BC). Ji Fa was installed as King Wu of Zhou who moved his capital from Qishan (present day Qishan city in Shaanxiprovince) to Hao (present day Xi'an city in Shaanxi province).

King Wu of Zhou inherited a vast country, but the primitive communications at that time made it impossible to govern such a big country efficiently. He was desperately in need of capable personnel to administer his empire. Sohe delegated authority to his relatives, officials, generals and aristocrats to rule on his behalf. By doing so he created a large number of vassal states in the land. No one really knew how many of them. According to the historical records there were more than 170 vassal States during the Zhou Dynasty. All the vassal States must acknowledged Zhou King Wu and later the future Kings' suzerainty.

King Wu rewarded his commander-in-chief named Jiang Ziya with authority to rule a district called Yingqiu (present day Linzi county in Shandong province). King Wu also bestowed upon him the inheritable title of Marquis. District of Yingqiu was renamed as the State of Qi. Jiang Ziya was known as Jiang Hou. He appointed an official to administer a settlement called Rao'an (present day in the area of Qingzhou city in Shandong province).

In 543BC Zhao Wu Xu , a powerful general in the armed forces of the State of Jin (present day Yi Cheng county in Shanxi province), plotted with two of the most powerful families in the State: the family of Han, and the family of Wei to have the State of Jin carved up into three States. These three States were: the State of Zhao (present day Handan county in Hebei province), the State of Wei (present day Anyi county in Shanxiprovince) and the State of Han (present day Lin Fen county in Shanxi provunce).

Dao Xiang Wang was the ruler of the State of Zhao. He ruled Zhao from 244BC to 235BC. There was a general by the name Pang Nuan in the Zhao armed forces. In 241BC the States of Zhao and Yan (present day Beijing) were at war. Pang Nuan, who was in command of the Zhao forces, defeated the Yan army. The State of Qi was in friendly term with the State of Qin (present day Fengxiang county in Shaanxi province). The State of Zhao was in antagonism with the State of Qin. In order to show the State of Qi that it should not be in friendly term with Qin, Pang Nuan occupied the town Rao'an which was under the jurisdiction of Qi. General Pang Nuan told Qi that he would not withdraw unless Qi broke off the friendship with Qin. However, the ruler of the State of Qi did not budge and General Pang Nuan annexed Rao'an as a part of the State of Zhao.

The offspring of the administrator of Rao'an adopted Rao as their surname in remembrance of their fallen city.

(cited from: [http://www.asiawind.com/pub/forum/fhakka/mhonarc/msg02068.html] , 4/11/2007)

Rao's of Italy

The Sicilian-Italian surname Rao is pronounced in the Italian language similarly to the Indian pronunciation, although in the United States many Raos of Italian descent pronounce the name "RAY-O." One such example is Rao's in New York City, or the Rao family of Rhode Island. The name arrived in Sicily via Persian settlers and is currently used by many Italians as their surname.

Rao's of Brazil

Most of the people with Rao surname in Brazil are the descendants of Italian settlers in Brazil. Quite a few people in Brazil still have Rao as their surname.


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