(Click for the very large map.)
Ethnicity refers to group identity, and group identity is a product of history. In the Levant, ethnicity/group identity can be based on language (e.g., Turkomans), religion (e.g., Alawites/Alaouites, Levantines, Nusairis, Armenians), life style (e.g., Kurds), common history of suffering and persecution (e.g., Jews, Circassians), integrated economy--or a combination of two or more of these or other factors, (e.g., Arabs) or in fact, sometimes unique, criteria (e.g., Druze). To assume that language is the sole or primary source of ethnicity--a fashion popularized by the French Revolution--is to assume that a Jamaican, an Irishman, an American, a New Zealander or a Bahamian are all Englishmen in their ethnicity. Or, that a Croat, a Bosniac or a Montenegrin are all Serbs.Other equally colorful and informative maps can be found at http://gulf2000.columbia.edu/maps.shtml.