This noble and honourable surname is of Persian, Turkish and Hindi origin, and was given to one connected in some manner with a king's household. A shah is a ruler of certain Middle Eastern countries, especially Persia (now Iran), and derives from the Persian "shah", king. In Nepal, Shah is the family name of members of the royal family. Jahan Shah (see below) was Mogul emperor from 1628 to 1658. During his reign the finest monuments of Mogul architecture in India were built, including the Taj Mahal and the Pearl Mosque at Agra. The city of Sahjahanpur in northern India was founded in 1647, during his reign. In 1739, Nadir Shah of Persia conquered India, he then ordered a general massacre, in which one hundred and fifty thousand people perished. He carried away treasure amounting to 125,000,000 Sterling. After the death of Mahomed Shah in 1748 the Mogul Empire became merely nominal, with independent sovereignties being formed by petty princes. In 1761, Shah Alum 11 was defeated at Patna, where he attacked the English, and after the Battle of Buxar in 1764, he was thrown upon the protection of the English, who established him at Allahabad. After the victory at Delhi in 1803, General Lake restored the aged monarch to a nominal sovereignty, which descended at his death to his son, Akbar Shah. Akbar died in 1837, and was succeeded by his son, the last king of Delhi. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Jahan Shah, which was dated 1592, born in India, during the reign of Akbar, greatest sovereign of Hindostan, 1556 - 1605. 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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