|Giant squid peeking at audience|
in Legion Fantastique parlor
Although the term Victorian is used often, and many characters portrayed are British, important technological, political and cultural changes occurred throughout the world between the mid-1800's and the early 1900's. Steampunk stories and characters may be rooted in any part of the world, using an alternate history based on real people and/or events.
Whatever the year or territory covered, you can count on a certain ethos, a common spirit of steampunk that many find as appealing as the handcrafts and costuming.