Two key questions motivate this short Prolegomenon. How might history fruitfully contribute to a better understanding of regional socio-economic development? And how might the study of regional socio-economic development inform not just the practice of historical enquiry but also our understanding of the process of social economic change and progress? We identify five comparative research methodologies that can help address these interrelated questions, and suggest that these in turn might usefully utilize concepts and ideas from the relatively new paradigm of evolutionary economic geography.