An Amir is a Bahite ruler who is not descended from an imperial dynasty. Literally, the title means "leader". Some Amirs rule de facto independent kingdoms which in principle recognize the suzerainty of a universal state ruled by a caliph, sultan, shah, or khan. Others are little more than regional governors appointed by imperial authority, and serving at its pleasure. Some amirs in states that are distant from imperial centers are able to establish their own dynasties, others are temporary appointments who may get rotated to govern other locations to prevent them from putting down deep roots. Some amirs are military commanders in the households of khans or shahs. Though an imperial ruler may create amirs at will, generally, those that bear the title do at least descend from a prominent line of warriors or notables. Children of amirs are often referred to as mirza (short of amir zade - 'child of the amir').