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The town also began to develop around the salt, coal mining and nail making industries.
The production of linen which followed in 1672 was later instrumental in the introduction of floorcloth in 1847 by linen manufacturer, Michael Nairn.
The Battle of Raith in AD 596 is believed to have taken place to the west of the town's site.
The battle was fought between the Angles and an alliance, led by King Áedán mac Gabráin of Dál Riata, of Scots, Picts and Britons.
In 1877 this in turn contributed to linoleum, which became the town's most successful industry: Kirkcaldy was a world producer until well into the mid-1960s.
The town expanded considerably in the 1950s and 1960s, though the decline of the linoleum industry and other manufacturing restricted its growth thereafter.
Construction of a new turnpike from Pettycur to Newport-on-Tay via Cupar in 1790, while improving only one section of Fife's isolated road system, brought a huge increase in traffic along Kirkcaldy's High Street, and helped to strengthen the town's position.
The area around Kirkcaldy has been inhabited since the Bronze Age.The first document to refer to the town is from 1075, when Malcolm III granted the settlement to the church of Dunfermline.David I later gave the burgh to Dunfermline Abbey, which had succeeded the church: a status which was officially recognised by Robert I in 1327.The feu-ferme charter of 1451 between the Abbot of Dunfermline and the burgesses of Kirkcaldy mentioned a small but functioning harbour; it is not known when this harbour was established, or whether it was always located at the mouth of the East Burn.