It has no exploitable natural resources. Economic activity is limited to providing services for employees of Norway's radio and meteorological stations located on the island. It has one unpaved airstrip about 1000 meters long, and its 124.1 kilometers of coast include no ports or harbors, only offshore anchorages.
Jan Mayen is a territory of Norway administered from Oslo through a governor (sysselmann) resident in Longyearbyen (Svalbard); however, authority has been delegated to a station commander of the Norwegian Defense Communication Service. The island's defense is the responsibility of Norway.
Henry Hudson discovered the island in 1607 and called it Hudson's Tutches or Touches. Thereafter it was several times observed by navigators who successively claimed its discovery and renamed it. Thus, in 1611 or the following year whalers from Hull named it Trinity Island; in 1612 Jean Vrolicq, a French whaler, called it Île de Richelieu; and in 1614 Joris Carolus named one of its promontories Jan Meys Hoel, after the captain of one of his ships. The present name of the island is derived from this, the claim of its discovery by a Dutch navigator, Jan Mayen, in 1611, being unsupportable.
The island is inhabited by personnel operating a Long Range Navigation (Loran-C) base and a weather services station. The island has no indigenous inhabitants, but is assigned the country code (top level domain) SJ and data code JN.