This index is for the purpose of understanding this story. It is not the sum total of my (or anyone's) view on the world of the Legend of Zelda games. Even characters within this story will probably disagree with certain 'factual' points and many of the semantic overtones. To gain all the nuances, one should buy and play at least the Legend of Zelda games Minish Cap, Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask, Soul Caliber 2, Twilight Princess and Wind Waker. Other Zelda games may help.
The Deku are an anarchal society, not even possessing a family structure of government. These plant beings range from traders to violent hermits. They live wherever a mixture of sunlight, water and dirt can suit their comfort.
Known primarily as fairies. These beings are becoming increasingly less magical as time progresses. Once, they seemed nearly divine and existed as mostly winged energy balls. Eventually, they take on corpreal forms more and more of the time. They don't really have an economy, and are only sought out for the healing effects of a biological byproduct-fairy dust. They have queens (all of them being female) but these queens aren't rulers, merely fae that are powerful enough to exert their will on an environment-usually a spring surrounded by rock, subterranean if possible.
No one exactly knows how Goron reproduce. They populate Death Mountain, a country which is run by a council of elders. Goron children learn a trade under instruction from a Goron adult (referred to as 'father'). Anyone of adult status and in good standing can be considered a Death Mountain citizen (culturally known as 'bruddah'). This good standing typically means a Goron that has proven himself capable at a job, but in circumstance can refer to people whose unique adventures have earned the respect of the Goron-such as Mayor Bo of Ordon provice of Hyrule. If (usually when) a Goron rises in wisdom and personal strength, they will eventually be on the council of elders and their personal trade becomes governance. Nearly every moment not spent on their trade is spent engaged in the two sole Goron past times-soaking in hot springs and the sport of sumo wrestling. The primary occupations are mining and engineering, and selling the products thereof. The Goron has become an atheistic society, with shrines and meditation becoming secular practices. The deluge kills every last one of them wink.
Humans are unique in that they have multiple ethnicities, probably due to their presence in multiple environments.
Hylians consider themselves human despite obvious elfin features such as pointed ears, universally fair skin, low body density, predisposition to magic and preternatural dexterity. Hylians primarily reside in the Kingdom of Hyrule, which in Twighlight Princess, is a vast expanse of four provinces over plains and forests centered by the capital city (the fifth desert province of Hyrule is unihabited by Hylians, and was only annexed after the damnation of the Gerudo). These provinces are individually centered around springs that are homes to the individual spirits of light, and governed by mayors. The Kingdom of Hyrule is governed by a hereditary monarchy and has been for the known past, even before the times of King Gustaf. Hylians tend to show religious deference the Three Goddesses Naryu, Farore and Din despite the two temples remaining in Hyrule Territory (the Temple of Time and the Forest Temple) falling into disrepair. This is because the Triforce of Wisdom is descended through the Hyrule royal family to the next female heir, who is named Zelda out of tradition. Also, there are many legends that tell of a hero wearing a green tunic and cap who bears the Triforce of Courage arising from circumstance. The Hylian economy is a mix of unregulated capitalism and direct decree from the throne. Hylians practice just about every occupation especially the arts and agriculture.
Sheikah are also human but stockier, stronger and weightier. In ancient times, they lived in secret amongst and behind the Hylians-usually in mountain regions. The most prominent occupation was service rendered to the Hyrule royal family out of deference to the goddesses. The Temple of Shadows was once in Sheikah territory, but no one knows of its fate. In fact, Sheikah territory has only recently been rediscovered.
Gerudo were once upon a time dark skinned humans living in the desert. Their most prominent biological anomoly was that only one male was born every hundred years. An overwhelming portion of their population were a harem of theives, with older or particularly talented people taking up other professions (such as the witches in Ocarina of Time). One day, the last king of the Gerudo-Gannondorf Dragmire-acquired the Triforce of Power and took over all the lands for a number of years. After being dethroned by the Hero of Time and captured by the Sages of the Goddesses, he was sentenced to the realm of Twighlight. When the Gerudo were faced with extinction due to their only male being removed from the population, they turned to dark magic to regain him. The Sages sentenced them to the same fate, ignoring one of the Sages being Gerudo and their care for the Temple of Spirit.
Are the actually elfin creatures. They cannot age past childhood and will become deathly ill upon leaving the forest. They have been assigned the Great Deku Tree as a manifested diety, and are born from it. This being assigns each one a fairy companion for life. The government is an ecclassia, effectively run by the Great Deku Tree itself. The first was assassinated by Gannondorf Dragmire, but one of its seeds grows into a being that wields the same position and power. They have a small, isolated economy.
After the deluge, the second Great Deku Tree seeks to rebuild the land by planting its seeds outside its own woods. To ensure the safe travel of its children, the Kokiri evolve into beings much more tree like than their typical hero costumes-effectively taking the forest with them wherever hey go. Rotoscoping leaves allow them biological flight. Their governement doesn't change but their culture and industry become much more tribal.
A warlike lizard race. They are unique in that their religion doesn't revolve around the three goddesses that created Hyrule, but a fabled paradise that can be physically quested for (in theory). Due to a lack of clues on how, they practice mercenary arts in preparation for the quest and in exchange for clues about it.
The Minish are dimunitive beings that exist with a nigh Hylian culture but at a microscopic scale. They once had informal diplomatic relations (informal mostly due to their own anarchal system of government) with Hyrule. The attack the rogue Minish mage Vaati launched against Hyrule led them to seal the magical space warping portals that could resize Hylians to Minish scale and vice versa were sealed-effectively cutting off the Minish from the rest of the world. There occupations were as varied as Hylians, though they had a proficiency for scholars and magicians.
Moblins are mercenary, golbin like creatures. They currently have a merit based monarch and have a tribal culture, which is the ethnicity Bokoblin. After the deluge, they are decimated beyond having a culture.
Recently rediscovered sky beings, the Oocca have been seperated from nearly everyone else. These creatures live in the City in the Clouds, the most technically advanced society to ever exist due to their usual absence from the wars that wrech havoc on the land. Nearly everything about them is too alien to understand in a Hylian sence.
In the future, after the deluge, the Zora embraced the diety Valoo. They took to living on a mountainous island and evolved into bird like creatures (Valoo personally grants each of them one of his scales which allows them a permanent ability to fly). They become as industrious as Goron with the main profession being air mail, but lose none of their devotion to the goddesses and tend to their new diety with piety.
Having been damned to a world where light dwellers only exist as spirits, the Gerudo eventually managed to become Twili. Twili are completely demonic-stained by sin in the eyes of the Golden Realm, possessing supernatural powers, undead and monstrous in appearance, residents of Twighlight. Being completely cut off from the 'real' world of daylight, the Twili economy is dedicated toward improving their lot and their knowledge with dark magic and the refinement of pure shadow. Their government is merit based monarchy, the crown holder ruling everything until a challenger takes the crown. The most recent upset came from the court jester Zant worshipping Ganon for favor and taking the crown by magical coercion, followed by the previous crown holder Midna regaining the throne by killing him and his benefactor.
Recently discovered (recently evolved to sentience?) creatures. Those that are known to exist live on Snow Peak Mountain that is much colder than the Goron's volcanic Death Mountain. There seem to remain in family unit based tribes...if there is even that amount of political organization. There main occupation is foraging, at which they are nigh supernaturally adept.
Zora are a very devout and traditional people. The Water Temple is in Hyrule Territory but Zora waterspace, and kept in pristine condition by the Domain of the Zora government. The government of the Domain of the Zora is a hereditary monarchy. The regard for tradition has probably been the force that has stunted scientific progress. However, the Zora people have been assigned their own diety, Jabu-Jabu, by the goddesses to watch over them. This leads to a shocking unemployment rate, yet a total abscence of poverty.
These are but some of the legends of which the people speak:
The Hero of Men: King Gustaf united Hyrule with the Minish forged Four Sword (later known as the Master Sword). He also inadvertently started the tradition of Heroes being uniformed in a green tunic.
The Hero of Cap: Link from Minish Cap. Added the cap to the 'uniform'.
The Hero of Time: This Link faced Gannondorf and eventually Ganon by fighting simultaneously as a boy and young man. Shortly after telling the Zelda of his childhood of his future adventure, he dissappeared from existance. The first scene of Majora's Mask illustrates this and explains how he wasn't around to run into his future self in Ocarina of Time.
The Hero of Soul Blade: This Link was discovered before his greatest adventure. When a magician attacked the land, this Link was summoned, equipped and sent to defeat him. He discovered that the magician was actually driven by a demon sword. Link temporarily left his world to defeat the sword but returned triumphantly.
The Hero of Twilight: The Link in this story, from Twilight Princess.
The Hero of Winds: Wind Waker occurs after this story.