Historical regions (or historical countries) are geographic areas which at some point in time were a cultural, ethnic, linguistic or political unit, regardless of present-day borders. They are used as delimitations for studying and analysing social development of period-specific cultures without any reference to contemporary political, economic or social organisations.
The fundamental principle underlying this view is that older political and mental structures exist which exercise greater influence on the spatial-social identity of individuals than is understood by the contemporary world, bound to and often blinded by its own worldview - e.g. the focus on the nation-state.
Definitions of regions vary, and regions can include macroregions such as Europe, territories of traditional states or smaller microregional areas. A geographic proximity is the often required precondition for emergence of a regional identity. In Europe, the regional identities are often derived from the Migration Period but for the contemporary perspective are often related to the 1918-1920 time of territorial transformation, and another in the post-Cold War period.