Surname Zhang, with a population of more that 100 million, enjoys great popularity in today's China. According to the historical records, Zhang people were the direct descendants of the Yellow Emperor, with their earliest ancestor being Hui, grandson of Yellow Emperor. Once, Hui made a set of bow and arrow with a single star as a model. The Emperor was well pleased with the bow and arrow, and conferred the surname Zhang to him. This is the earliest origin of Zhang family.
Another branch of surname Zhang emerged during Spring and Autumn Period and Warring State Period. A senior official Xie Zhang in the State of Jin, brave and battlewise, was cited for his outstanding service in the battles, and granted with the title of Marquis Zhang. Later on, his offspring took on surname Zhang.
During Three Kingdoms Period, another branch of Zhang family took shape. Long Youna in State of Shu was granted the surname Zhang because prime minister at that time Zhuge Liang had a high opinion of him. Now most descendants of this branch live in Yunnan province.
In Eastern Jin Dynasty and the Sixteen States Period, many ethnic minorities moved to Central Plains. Among them, some have changed their surnames to Zhang.
By People's Daily Online