Fife, council area (1993 est. pop. 351,200), 510 sq mi (1,322 sq km), and former county, E Scotland, between the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Tay. The land rises to 1,500 ft (457 m) in the Lomond Hills. Fishing villages of great antiquity dot the eastern coast. One of Scotland's most prosperous areas, Fife has pastures and productive farmland in the central valleys of the Leven and Eden and rich coal fields in the west and east. One of the new towns, Glenrothes was opened there in 1959 and has since become industrially diversified. Kirkcaldy was a center of linoleum manufacture. Other industries are linen weaving and brewing.
Fife was once a Pictish kingdom. Saint Andrews, seat of Scotland's oldest university, was the ecclesiastical capital of Scotland until the Reformation, and Dunfermline was once a royal burgh. Under the Local Government Act of 1973, the county of Fife became a region in 1975, and in the local government reorganization of 1996, the region became a council area.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.