This ancient surname has an ancestry which dates back to the earliest of known languages, the Indo-Persian of at least 4000 B.C. It is a contracted form of "Khagan", meaning chief or ruler, and was originally a title borne by the early Mongol leaders. Its most famous holder was the legendary Genghis Khan (see below), who in a twenty year period established the world's greatest empire stretching from Turkey to China. He was followed by his grandson, Kublai Khan, who added China to the Empire and established the Yuan dynasty (1279 - 1388). In the Afghan and Kashmir regions "Khan" was specifically applied to persons of high status, and appeared before the tribal name as in Khushal Khan Khatak. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of More recently the tribal name has been dropped, and this has resulted in a greatly increased popularity of Khan as a surname. Whilst, "Khan" as "Kan" appears in Chinese records in the 15th Century, in Europe it is first found in Holland in 1883, when one Josef Khan was born at Hoogeven. Curiously, the name is recorded in France as Caen or Caan, a Latinized, and probably Crusader variation of 14th Century origins. which was dated Genghis Khan, during the reign of believed to have been born in Asia Minor in 1184, and Chief of the Mongol Empire from 1207 to 1227 A.D. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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