Glenrothes, United Kingdom
Coordinates: 56 12 N 3 10 W
Population: 38,679 (2001 est.)
Since the mid-1970s the list of silicon-related geographical nicknames has expanded to include half a dozen valleys, two alleys, a forest, a gulf, a desert, a fen (or marsh if you prefer American English), and a glen. For this we have the microelectronics industry to thank. Glenrothes in the Kingdom of Fife, to take one example, happens to fall within the boundaries of Scotland’s Silicon Glen. A new town created after World War II in response to the growth of the coal mining in this part of the country, Glenrothes, a short distance inland from the Firth of Forth, successfully adapted to the modern economy and now helps Scotland produce approximately 30 percent of Europe’s personal computers.
Ben Keene is the editor of Oxford Atlas of the World. Check out some of his previous places of the week.