After John Munro Longyear, 1850-1922, American business man and mine owner of Marquette, MI, USA. He visited Spitsbergen for the first time in 1901 on board the "Auguste Victoria" of the Hamburg-America Line when he in Recherchefjorden met a Norwegian expedition prospecting for coal, sent out by Chr. Michelsen in Bergen. In 1903 he visited the iron or deposits in Sørvaranger in North-Norway sailing from there to Spitsbergen. In Adventfjorden he met a Norwegian expedition led by captain Henrik B. Næss, who supplied him with coal samples and information about the coal fields there (see also Næssfjellet). In 1904 he and his associate, Frederick Ayer of Boston, bought Norwegian coal fields on the western side of Adventfjorden and in 1905 the property was considerably extended by large claims executed by an expedition led by his cousin William D. Munroe, d. 1907. The Adventfjord area was transferred in 1906 to the Arctic Coal Co. of Boston, with Longyear and Ayer as the main shareholders. This company built the first houses in Longyearbyen the same year. The mine (No. 1) was opened during the winter of 1906-07, when the dock was also built. The properties of Ayer and Longyear and the Arctic Coal Co. were purchased in 1916 by Store Norske Spitsbergen Kulkompani Aktieselskap of Oslo, Norway. Longyear also visited Spitsbergen in 1907, 1909, 1911, 1913 and 1914. Most of the approx. 1400 Norwegians in Svalbard in 2002 live in Longyearbyen, which has developed into a modern, family-based community. While the Norwegian mining company Store Norske AS still is administered from Longyearbyen, most of the mining activites have been transferred to Sveagruva. Tourism, education and scientific research are the main sources of income in addition to coal mining. From 1993, Longyearbyen has hosted The University Centre on Svalbard (UNIS) - established by the Norwegian government and owned by Norway's four universities. L.= Longyear city. The name was originally given by the Arctic Coal Co.
Svalbardkommissær (1927) map 26 Svalbard chart S. 5 (1933)