- Khan (title)
Khan, alternately spelled lowercase as khan and sometimes spelled as "Han", "Xan", "Ke-Han", Turkic: "khān",cite web|url=http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/khan|title="khan."|work=Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary|accessdate=2008-04-25|publisher=
Merriam-Webster] cite web|url=http://www.bartleby.com/61/93/K0049300.html|title="khan."|work=The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language|accessdate=2008-04-25|publisher= Bartleby.com] , _mn. "qāān" , Chinese: 可汗, kehan or khan) is an originally Central Asian title for a sovereign or military ruler, first used by medieval Altaic-speaking nomadic tribes living to the north of China. 'Khan' is first seen as a title in the Xianbeiconfederation [Henning, W. B., 'A Farewell to the Khagan of the Aq-Aqataran',"Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African studies - University of London", Vol 14, No 3, p501-522. ,] for their chief between 283 - 289 [Zhou 1985, p. 3-6] and was used as a state title by the Rouranconfederation.cite book
title = The Empire of the Steppes: A History of Central Asia
publisher = Rutgers University Press
year = 1988
page = 585
isbn = 0813513049] It was subsequently adopted by the
Göktürksbefore Turkic peoplesand the Mongolsbrought it to the rest of Asia. In the middle of the sixth century it was known as "Kagan - King of the Turks" to the Persians[Henning, W. B., 'A Farewell to the Khagan of the Aq-Aqataran',"Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African studies - University of London", Vol 14, No 3, p501-522. ,] .
It now has many equivalent meanings such as commander, leader, or ruler. Presently Khans exist mostly in
South Asia, Central Asia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran. The female alternatives are Khatunand Khanum. Various Mongolic and Turkic peoples from Central Asia had given the title new prominence after the Mongol invasion and later brought the title "Khan" into Afghanistan and Northern India, which later was adopted by locals in the country as a name. Khaganis rendered as "Khan of Khans" and was the title of Genghis Khanand the other Khagans (his direct male descendants). [Fairbank, John King. "The Cambridge History of China ". Cambridge University Press, 1978. [http://books.google.com/books?id=iN9Tdfdap5MC&pg=PA367&dq=khan+turkic+title&lr=&hl=tr&sig=nn4X0pxXK9qe9ByEr-NmoDl1Yog p. 367] ]
Khanate rulers and dynasties
A khan controls a
khanate(sometimes spelled "chanat"). Whenever appropriate as ruler of a monarchy, Khan is also translated, albeit incorrectly, as king or prince.
Originally khans only headed relatively minor tribal entities, generally in or near the vast Eurasian steppe, the scene of an almost endless procession of nomadic people riding out into the history of the neighbouring sedentary regions, mainly Europe and the Far East.
Some managed to establish principalities of some importance for a while, as their military might repeatedly proved a serious threat to such empires as China, Rome and Byzantium.
One of the earliest notable examples of such principalities in Europe was Danube Bulgaria (presumably also
Old Great Bulgaria), ruled by a "khan" or a "kan" at least from the 7th to the 9th century. It should be noted that the title "khan" is not attested directly in inscriptions and texts referring to Bulgar rulers - the only similar title found so far, "Kanasubigi", has been found solely in the inscriptions of three consecutive Bulgarian rulers, namely Krum, Omurtagand Malamir(a grandfather, son and grandson). Starting from the compound, non-ruler titles that were attested among Bulgarian noble class such as "kavkhan" (vicekhan), "tarkhan", and "boritarkhan", scholars derive the title "khan" or "kan" for the early Bulgarian leader — if there was a vicekhan ("kavkhan") there was probably a "full" "khan", too. Compare also the rendition of the name of early Bulgarian ruler Pagan as polytonic|Καμπαγάνος ("Kampaganos"), likely resulting from a misinterpretation of "Kan Pagan", in Patriarch Nicephorus's so-called Breviarium[Източници за българската история - Fontes historiae bulgaricae. VI. Fontes graeci historiae Bulgaricae. БАН, София. p.305 (in Byzantine Greek and Bulgarian). [http://kroraina.com/NI/izvori/GIBI_III/GIBI%20III.djvu Also available online] ] In general, however, the inscriptions as well as other sources designate the supreme ruler of Danube Bulgaria with titles that exist in the language in which they are written - "archontеs", meaning 'commander or magistrate' in Greek, and " knyaze", meaning 'duke' or 'prince' in Slavic. Among the best known Bulgar khans were: Khan Kubrat, founder of Great Bulgaria; Khan Asparukh, founder of "Danubian Bulgaria" (today's Bulgaria); Khan Tervel, sometimes credited for having defeated the Arabinvaders, thus "saving Europe"; Khan Krum, "the Terrible". "Khan" was the official title of the ruler until 864CE, when Kniaz Boris (known also as Tsar Boris I) adopted the Eastern Orthodoxfaith.
The title Khan became unprecedently prominent when the tribal Mongol Temüjin proved himself a military genius by creating the
Mongol empire, the greatest land empire the world ever saw, which he ruled as Genghis Khan. His title was khagan'Khan of Khans', see below, but is often 'shortened' to Khan (rather like the Persian "Shahanshah" -also meaning ' King of Kings'- is usually called Shah, equally incorrect, in most Western languages) or described as 'Great Khan' (like the Ottoman Padishah being called 'Great Sultan').
After Genghis' death, the empire would soon start a process of gradual disintegration, with his successors initially preserving the title "khan". Soon the Mongol element waned nearly everywhere, except in desolate regions like its native Outer Mongolia (even in China's 'Inner Mongolia') by sedentary people, and mainly Turkic, nomadic tribes that entered the scene rather like the Mongols had done before, conquering on horseback, to be in turn either sedentarized or overrun. Still, Genghis' prestige was such that a claim to descent from him was as prized as would be descent from Caesar in the West.
Ming Dynasty Chinese Emperors were also known as Khans by Mongols and Jurchens.
The title Khan was also used to designate the rulers of the
Jurchens, who, later when known as the Manchus, founded the Qing dynastyof China. The Mongolian title of the Qingemperors, Bogd Khan, would later be used by the eighth Jebtsundamba Khutuktu after Mongolia's declaration of independence in 1911.
Once more, there would be numerous khanates in the steppe in and around Central Asia, often more of a people than a territorial state, e.g.:
Kazakhs(founded 1465; since 1601 divided into three geographical " Jüz" or Hordes, each under a bey; in 1718 split into three different khanates; eliminated by the Russian Empireby 1847)
Uzbekistan, the main khanate, named after its capital Buchara, was founded in 1500 and restyled emiratein 1753 (after three Persian governors since 1747); the Ferghana(valley's) khanate broke way from it by 1694 and became known as the Khanate of Kokandafter its capital Kokandfrom its establishment in 1732; the khanate of Khwarezm, dating from c.1500, became the Khanate of Khivain 1804 but fell soon under Russian protectorate; Karakalpakstanhad its own rulers (khans?) since c. 1600.
While most Afghan principalities were styled emirate, there was a khanate of ethnic Uzbeks in
Khan was the title of the rulers of various break-away states later reintegrated in
Iran, e.g. 1747 - 1808 Khanate of Ardabil(in northwestern Iran east of Sarab and west of the southwest corner of the Caspian Sea), 1747 - 1813 Khanate of Khoy(northwestern Iran, north of Lake Urmia, between Tabriz and Lake Van), 1747 - 1829 Khanate of Maku(in extreme northwestern Iran, northwest of Khoy, and 60 miles south of Yerevan, Armenia), 1747 - 1790s Khanate of Sarab(northwestern Iran east of Tabrizlol), 1747 - c.1800 Khanate of Tabriz(capital of Iranian Azerbeidjan).
There were various small khanates in and near
Transcaucasia. In present Armenia, there was a khanate of Erivan (sole incumbent 1807 - 1827 Hosein Quli Khan Qajar). Diverse khanates existed in Azerbaijan, including Baku (present capital), Ganja, Jawad, Quba (Kuba), Salyan, Shakki ( Sheki, ruler style "Bashchi" since 1743) and Shirvan=Shamakha (1748 - 1786 temporarily split into Khoja Shamakhaand Yeni Shamakha), Talysh (1747-1814); Nakhichevan and (Nagorno) Karabakh.
As hinted above, the title Khan was also common in some of the polities of the various - generally Islamic - peoples in the territories of the Mongol
Golden Hordeand its successor states, which, like the Mongols in general, were commonly called Ta(r)tars [The spelling with 'r' is due to a confusion with " tartaros", the classical Greek hell. Genghis Khan's conquering, ransacking Mongol hordes terrorized Islam and Christianity without precedent, as if the apocalypse had started.] by Europeans and Russians, and were all eventually subdued by Muscovia which became the Russian Empire. The most important of these states were:
Khanate of Kazan(the Mongol term khan became active since Genghizide dynasty was settled in Kazan Duchyin 1430s; imperial Russian added to its titles the former Kazan khanatewith the royal style tsar.
SibirKhanate (giving its name to Siberia as the first significant conquest during Russia's great eastern expansion across the Ural range) * Sibirean Khanate(giving its name to Siberia as the first significant conquest during Russia's great eastern expansion across the Ural range)
Examples of other, humbler Tatar khanate dynasties made vassals of Muscovy/ Russia are:
Qasim Khanate(hence modern Kasimov), named after its founder, a vassal of Moscovia/Russia
* the nomadic state founded in 1801 as the
Inner Horde(also called Buqei Horde, under Russian suzerainty) between Volga and Yaik(Ural) rivers by 5,000 families of Kazakhs from Younger Kazakh Zhuz tribe under a Sultanwas restyled by the same in 1812 as Khanate of the Inner Horde; in 1845 the post of Khan was abolished);
Kalmyk khanate(established c.1632 by the Torghut branch of the Mongolian Oirats, settled along the lower Volga River (in modern Russia and Kazakhstan)
* the khanate of
Tuvanear Outer Mongolia.
Further east, in imperial China's western
Dörben Oyriad('Four Confederates') or Dzungar(Kalmyk or Kalmuck people branch) Khanate formed in 1626, covering Xinjiangregion of China, Kyrgyzstan, eastern Kazakhstan and western Mongolia; 2 Dec 1717 - 1720 also styled Protector of Tibet; 1755 tributary to China, 1756 annexed and dissolved in 1757
* Khanate of
Kashgariafounded in 1514 as part of Djagataide Khanate; 17th century divided into several minor khanates without importance, real power going to the so-called Khwaja, Arabic islamic religious leaders; title changed to AmirKhan in 1873, annexed by China in 1877.
Compound and derived princely titles
The higher, rather imperial title
Khagan("Khan of Khans") applies to probably the most famous rulers known as "Khan": the Mongolimperial dynasty of Genghis Khan(his name was Temüjin, "Genghis" Khan a never fully understood unique title), and his successors, especially grandson Kublai Khan: the former founded the Mongol Empireand the latter founded the Yuan Dynastyin China. The ruling descendants of the main branch of Genghis Khan's dynasty are referred to as the "Great Khans".
The title "Khan of Khans" was among numerous titles used by the
Sultans of the Ottoman empireas well as the rulers of the Golden Hordeand its descendant states. The title "Khan" was also used in the Seljuk Turk dynasties of the near-east to designate a head of multiple tribes, clans or nations, who was below an Atabegin rank. Jurchenand Manchurulers also used the title Khan ("Han" in Manchu); for example, Nurhaciwas called Genggiyen Han. Rulers of the Göktürks, Avars and Khazarsused the higher title Kaghan, as rulers of distinct nations.
*Gur Khan, meaning supreme or universal Khan, was the ruler of the Turkic
Kara-Kitai, and has occasionally been used by the Mongols as well
Ilkhan, both a generic term for a 'provincial Khan' "and" traditional royal style for one of the four khanates in Genghis's succession, based in Persia. See the main article for more details.
* Khan-i-Khanan 'Lord of Lords'
Khan Sahib Shri Babiwas the complex title of the ruler of the Indian princely stateof Bantva-Manavadar(state founded 1760; September 1947 acceded to Pakistan, but 15 February 1948 rescinded accession to Pakistan, to accede to India).
* In southern
Korean states, the word "Han" or "Gan", meaning "leader", possibly derived from Khan, was used for various ruling princes, until Silla, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, united them under a now hereditary king, titled Maripgan, meaning the 'head of kings' (e.g. King Naemul Maripgan).
*Khatun, or Khatan ( _fa. خاتون) is roughly equal to a King's queen in Mongolic and
Turkic languages, as by this title a ruling Khan's Queen-consort (wife) is designated with similar respect after their proclamation as Khan and Khatun. Also used in Hazari(instead of Khanum). Famous Khatuns include:
*Khanum ( _fa. خانم) is another female derivation of Khan, notably in Turkic languages, for a Khan's Queen-consort, or in some traditions extended as a courtesy title (a bit like Lady for women not married to a Lord, which is the situation modern Turkish) to the wives of holders of various other (lower) titles; in Afghanistan, for example, it ended up as the common term for 'Miss', any unmarried woman. In the modern
Kazakh language, Khatun is a derogatory term for women, while Khanum has a respectful meaning.
** The compound Galin Khanum - literally, "lady bride" - was the title accorded to the principal noble wife of a
* Khanzada ( _fa. خانزادہ)(the Persian suffix "-zadeh" means son or more generally male descendant; not to be confused with "Khannazad": female harem attendant; for analogous titles see
Prince of the Bloodand links there) is a title conferred to princes of the dynasties of certain princely states, such as
Jandala(Muslim Jadoon dynasty, Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province), always before the personal name, but itself preceded by Mir, both being maintained by the ruling Khan (who uses that title after his name)
Sardargarh-Bantva(Muslim Babi dynasty, fifth class state in Kathiawar, Gujarat) in front of the personal name, Shriin between; the ruler replaces Khanzada by khan.
The title "khan" was also used as a military officer rank in certain armies, especially following the decimal organisation (already known from Achaemenid Persia) of
Genghis Khan's armies.Dubious|date=March 2008
Nobiliar and honorary titles
Persia, Khan (female form "Khanum") was the title of a nobleman, higher than Beg (or bey) and usually used after the given name. At the Qajar court, precedence for those not belonging to the dynasty was mainly structured in eight classes, each being granted an honorary rank title, the fourth of which was Khan, or in this context synonymously Amir, granted to commanders of armed forces, provincial tribal leaders; in descending order, they thus ranked below Nawab(for princes), Shakhs-i-Awwal and Janab(both for high officials), but above 'Ali Jah Muqarrab, 'Ali Jah, 'Ali Sha'an (these three for lower military ranks and civil servants) and finally 'Ali Qadir (masters of guilds, etc.)
The titles Khan (the lowest commonly awarded) and Khan Bahadur ("Bahadur" from Turkish "
baatar" 'brave, hero'; but in India meaning simply 'one class higher') were also bestowed in feudal India by the Great mughal(whose protocol was largely Persian-inspired) upon Muslims and Parsis, and later by the British Raj, as an honor akin to the ranks of nobility, often for loyalty to the crown. Khan Sahib was another title of honour, one degree higher than Khan, conferred on Muslims and Parsis; again like Khan Bahadur, it was also awarded with a decoration during British rule.
In the major Indian Muslim state of Hyderabad, Khan was the lowest of the aristocratic titles bestowed by the ruling
Nizamupon Muslim retainers, ranking under "Khan Bahadur", Nawab(homonymous with a high Muslim ruler's title), Jang, Daula, Mulk, Umara, Jah. The equivalent for the courts Hindu retainers was Rai.
In Swat, a presently Pakistani Frontier State, it was the title of the secular elite, who, together with the
Mullahs (Muslim clerics), proceeded to elect a new Amir-i-Shariyatin 1914.
It seems unclear whether the series of titles known from the Bengal sultanate, including Khan, "Khan ul Muazzam", "Khan-ul-Azam", "Khan-ul-Azam-ul-Muazzam" etc. and Khaqan, "Khaqan-ul-Muazzam", "Khaqan-ul-Azam", "Khaqan-ul-Azam-ul-Muazzam" etc., are merely honorific or perhaps relate to a military hierarchy.
Other uses (surname)
Like many titles, the meaning of the term has also extended downwards, until in Persia and Afghanistan it has become an affix to the name of any Muslim gentleman, like
Effendiin Osmanli, Esquirein English.
jirgafor local mediators called Khan.
Khan and its female forms occur in many personal names, generally without any nobiliary of political relevance (although it remains a common part of noble names as well). Notably on the Indian subcontinent it has become a part of many South Asian Muslim names, especially when
Pashtundescent is claimed.
Russian Civil Warfollowing the Bolsheviktakeover of 1917, White general Roman Ungern von Sternberg, who, admittedly was trying to reconstitute the empire of Genghis Khan, was often styled as "Ungern Khan" between 1919 and his death in 1921.
* Khanzadeh ( _tt. Xanzadä) - a
prince, khan's son
* Khanbikeh ( _tt. Xanbikä) - a queen, khan's wife
YurukKhans in Ardemush or Erdemuş Village in Kailar. (see : Ottoman Tapu Archivies)
List of Mongol Khans
ources and references
* [http://banglapedia.search.com.bd/HT/K_0154.htm on-line encyclopaedia on all Bengal, in English]
* [http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=khan&searchmode=none Etymology OnLine]
* [http://www.4dw.net/royalark/index.html RoyalArk- see under each present country]
* [http://www.uq.net.au/~zzhsoszy/ips/ Princely states in British India] - look each up by name, in that section, BUT a taluq in Oudh in that section
* [http://www.worldstatesmen.org/ WorldStatesmen- see under each present country]
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