Peterhead (pētərhĕdˈ) [key], town (1991 pop. 16,804), Aberdeenshire, NE Scotland, on a peninsula on the North Sea. It is the easternmost town, with a good harbor, of Scotland. Chiefly a center of herring fisheries, Peterhead has fish canneries, distilleries, and woolen mills. The town was founded in 1593 by George Keith, 5th earl marischal of Scotland. James Francis Stuart, the Old Pretender, landed secretly at Peterhead in 1715. The local economy benefited from the discovery of North Sea oil in the early 1970s.