The territory of the Žilina region belonged to the Liptov, Orava and Turiec County since Middle Ages up to 1923. The western part of the Region together with Bytča, Žilina, Kysucké Nové Mesto and Čadca districts belonged to the Trenčín County. The Žilina region was constituted in 1949, involving also Považská Bystrica and Ilava districts – currently they belong to the Trenčín Region. The Region administratively operated until 1960.
The Žilina region was reconstituted in July 1996 through the Act No. 221/1996 on Administrative and Territorial Division of the Slovak republic. Currently, according to new territorial – administrative system, as defined by the end of 2001, this territory belongs to the Žilina self-governing region (Higher territorial unit).
Citizens of the Slovak republic gave to the self-governing authorities for the first time the mandate to manage public affairs in 2001.
Reform of the public administration and new state organization are characteristic features of the period, that precedes the constitution of the Žilina self governing region. Parliament of the Slovak republic adopted Act No. 302/2001 on self-government of higher territorial units and Act No. 303/2001 on elections to the organs of self-government regions during its session on 4th July 2001. President of the Slovak Parliament declared elections to the representative bodies of higher territorial units (regional parliaments, assemblies) and election of their Presidents that were held on 1st December 2001.