In the Nordic countries regions and regionalism have played a central role in politics, administration, economic and cultural life for a long time. The differences in voting behaviour, language, religious views, social structure and attitudes between districts, regions, and provinces within each country are often striking. In addition to these internal regions, there are also greater, transnational regions, cutting across state and national boundaries, and incorporating parts of several present-day states.
The heterogeneous body of recent and ongoing research in regional history provides the foundation and raison d'être of the present volume. The editors have brought together a number of the most active and experienced practitioners in this field, inviting them to present some of the most interesting results from their own research and readings in regional history, in a form accessible also to a non-Nordic readership. We decided to concentrate on the early modern period, in a wide sense, ranging from the fifteenth to the mid-nineteenth century. This is both the period which seems to be best covered by research and publications, and, even more important, it is a crucial period in the integration of the Nordic regions into wider economic, cultural and political units and networks nationally and internationally: the nation-state, the modern world economy, even civilization itself!