Ethnicity is usually an inherited status based on the society in which one lives.
Membership of an ethnic group tends to be defined by a shared cultural heritage, ancestry, origin myth, history, homeland, language or dialect, symbolic systems such as religion, mythology and ritual, cuisine, dressing style, art or physical appearance.
Ethnic groups often continue to speak related languages and share a similar gene pool.
480 BC laid the foundation of both historiography and ethnography of the ancient world.The largest ethnic groups in modern times comprise hundreds of millions of individuals (Han Chinese being the largest), while the smallest are limited to a few dozen individuals (numerous indigenous peoples worldwide).Ethnic groups may be subdivided into subgroups or tribes , which over time may become separate ethnic groups themselves due to endogamy or physical isolation from the parent group.The Greeks at this time did not describe foreign nations but had also developed a concept of their own "ethnicity", which they grouped under the name of Hellenes.
Herodotus (8.144.2) gave a famous account of what defined Greek (Hellenic) ethnic identity in his day, enumerating Whether ethnicity qualifies as a cultural universal is to some extent dependent on the exact definition used.The sense of "different cultural groups", and in American English "racial, cultural or national minority group" arises in the 1930s to 1940s, serving as a replacement of the term race which had earlier taken this sense but was now becoming deprecated due to its association with ideological racism.