[Excerpted from http://www.yutopian.com/names/]

Origin of Yao

The 64th most common last name in China. Descendents of one of the five ancient kings, Shun Di (who was a descendent of Zhuan Xu). Since Shun was born at Yao Xu (Fan in Henan), his descendents named themselves Yao. There were others who changed their names to Yao in history. Among them, were the people of the Jiang tribe. During the Han Dynasty, this tribe migrated to China. They claimed to be the descendents of Shun Di and changed their names to Yao. The tribe leader Yao Yizhong had a son called Yao Zhangjian, who established Qin, one of the 16 kingdoms at that time.

Hometown: Wuxing in Zhejiang Province.

Shun Di- or Yu Shun  (2,255 - 2,205 B.C.)

Yu Shun's original name was Yao (this Yao although rhymes with Yao of Di Yao, are two different words). He was known for his piety and won the support of the pheasants. Di Yao appointed Shun as his successor. Shun Di made Qi his capital. He fought the flood, improved on the calendar, and standardized weights and measures. A sophisticated education system existed during Shun's reign. Shun died in the wilderness of Can Wu during a journey to the south (18 years after he took over the throne). Since none of his sons were righteous, Yu was named his successor.

Famous People in History

Tang Dynasty- Yao Song (prime minister)

Song Dynasty- Yao Pingzhong (general), Yao Xide (deputy prime minister)

Ming Dynasty- Yao GuangXiao (king’s teacher)