Fife lies on a peninsula between the Forth and Tay estuaries. Its name derives from a Pictish lordship, extending rather further west than the present boundary; the present region is still occasionally called the kingdom of Fife, particularly by those resisting attempts to divide its administration. In the 1973 local government reorganization of Scotland, Fife fought a successful campaign to be a region, and not to be divided between the neighbouring areas (Tayside and Lothian) to which it looks for significant employment, and in the 1996 changes it was Fife, rather than its erstwhile districts (Dunfermline, Kirkcaldy, North East Fife), which became the all-purpose authority. Though in recent times it has had an in-built Labour majority, Fife continues to display diversity in both political and economic life. It has good agricultural land, partly underlain by coal seams, which formerly provided much employment, and, particularly round its coastline, there is a remarkable concentration of small towns, formerly royal burghs, now mainly inhabited by commuters or retired people. The main population centres are Kirkcaldy (once a major site for linoleum manufacture) and Glenrothes new town (in which the microcomputer industry is an important employer).
Charlotte M. Lythe
Fife Region in e central Scotland between the firths of Tay and Forth; the capital is Glenrothes. The central part is mostly low-lying farmland. Coalfields are situated in the w and e. Along the North Sea coast there are many fishing villages. St Andrews is the seat of Scotland's oldest university (1410), and the home of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club. Area: 1305sq km (504sq mi). Pop. (2000) 350,400.
fife / fīf/ • n. a kind of small shrill flute used esp. in military bands.DERIVATIVES: fif·er n.
fife flute-like instrument. XVI. — G. pfeife PIPE1 or F. fifre — Swiss G. pfifre (G. pfeifer) piper.
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