So what is a surname?
A surname is a hereditary name common to all members of a family. It’s also known as last name and family name.
So does everyone have a surname?
Yes, not everyone has a last name. Some people have only one name, they are known as mononymous — people who are known and addressed by a mononym, or a “single name”. Before colonization, westernization and globalization, a lot of people were mononymous. Mononymous names are still existent and common in Indonesia, Iceland, South India and Malaysia. Surnames were only introduced after World War I in Turkey by their first president as part of his plan to westernize and modernize the country. Most countries actually have laws requiring citizens and residents within their jurisdiction to have a surname. So if you believe surnames to be innate, well they are not. They are simply another human construct.
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