Patel (Gujarati પટેલ, paṭel, pronounced petil) is a surname of Indian origin, originally meaning "headman" or "village chief" The name Patel derives from Patlikh, the record keeper named by princely rulers in Gujarat to keep track of the crops, pat being a parcel of land. Patels in northern Gujarat were very prominent farmers as well. The name is found primarily in the Indian states of Gujarat and spread all over the world.
Within the United Kingdom, it is the twenty-fourth most common surname nationally and the third most common in the Greater London region.In the US, the surname "Patel" ranks 174 among the top 500 list of most common last names.Though the name is common Hindu name,a small number of Parsis and Muslims also carry the surname "Patel along with a sizable number of Kolis.
There are two main groups of Patels in Gujarat that make up the Patidar community: 1. Leuva Patel/Patidar and 2. Kadva Patel/Patidar. The Kadva Patidar sub-caste is found mostly in districts of the Saurashtra region like Rajkot, Junagadh, Jamnagar, Bhavnagar, kachh, Banaskantha, Sabarkantha, and Mahesana. The Leuva Patidar sub-caste is primarily concentrated in the Charotar Region (which are also known as Charotar Leuva Patidars), Kheda, Anand, Kanam, Baroda, Dahod, Bharuch, Panchmahal, Surat and Valsad and Amadavad, Mehsana and Gandhinagar. Other Gujaratis who migrated out of what is now the state of Gujarat during the British Raj to British East Africa (Kenya and Uganda) sometimes adopted the surname 'Patel', and this surname was then subsequently passed onto their descendants (who now mainly reside outside Kenya and Uganda). Also, during the British Raj, some 'Patels' who migrated to British East Africa and the Union of South Africa (South Africa) adopted different surnames, usually the name of their village, their trade or even their grandfather's name. Subsequently, these surnames have been passed down to their descendants.
Most of the Patels of Gujarat and Rajasthan are believed to be one of the branches of the Gurjars.