Central was one of the 12 regions into which Scotland was divided from 1975 to 1996. During that period the Central Regional Council provided a range of local government services across a swathe of Scotland extending from the River Forth to the southern highlands.
Some of the regional names introduced in 1975 like Lothian, Strathclyde and Dumfries & Galloway, harked back to dark age kingdoms. The name of Central Region on the other hand, appears to have been chosen simply because of where the region appeared on a map of Scotland.
Central was formed in 1975 by bringing together the traditional county areas of Stirlingshire and Clackmannanshire, plus parts of the west side of the traditional county of West Lothian around Bo'ness. It also incorporated a large part of the west side of the traditional county of Perthshire extending from Killin in the north east to Tyndrum in the north west, and south past Crianlarich to take in Callander, Aberfoyle, Doune and Dunblane.
Central was bordered by the regions of Strathclyde, Tayside, Fife and Lothian. As a region, Central was the upper of two tiers of local government. The lower tier comprised three district councils: Clackmannan, Stirling and Falkirk. Falkirk was a new local authority area, formed by joining together the east end of what had been Stirlingshire with parts of the west and north of what had been West Lothian. The other two were largely based on traditional counties.
In 1996, a further major reorganisation swept away Scotland's regions and districts and replaced them with 32 unitary councils. Central's three district council areas were all translated into unitary council areas: and the area is now divided among the unitary councils of Stirling, Falkirk and Clackmannanshire.
Although Central disappeared in 1996 as a local government unit, its name and coverage live on in bodies such as Central Scotland Police and Central Scotland Fire and Rescue, and its coverage is preserved in NHS Forth Valley.