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US cartoon on the Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty
The Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty with Panama, which had recently split off from Colombia, gives the USA the Panama Canal Zone .
Orville flies into Kitty Hawk
The Wright brothers build the first piloted powered airplane .
Aleksandar and Draga Obrenović
The Serbian King Alexander I
and his wife Draga
murdered by Serbian officers in the royal palace.
Scene from The Great Train Robbery
Edwin S. Porter shoots the first western : The Great Train Robbery .
1903 in other calendars
Armenian calendar 1351/52 (turn of the year July)
Ethiopian calendar 1895/96 (turn of the year 11/12 September)
Baha'i calendar 59/60 (turn of the year 20/21 March)
Bengali solar calendar 1308/09 (beginning of April 14th or 15th)
Buddhist calendar 2446/47 (southern Buddhism); 2445/46 (alternative calculation according to Buddhas Parinirvana )
Chinese calendar 76th (77th) cycle

Year of the Water Rabbit 癸卯 ( since January 29th , before that Water Tiger 壬寅)

Chula Sakarat (Siam, Myanmar) / Dai calendar (Vietnam) 1265/66 (turn of the year April)
Dangun era (Korea) 4236/37 (October 2/3)
Iranian calendar 1281/82 (around March 21)
Islamic calendar 1320/21 (March 30/31)
Japanese calendar Meiji 36 ( 明治 36 年 );
Kōki 2563
Jewish calendar 5663/64 (September 21/22)
Coptic calendar 1619/20 (September 11-12)
Malayalam calendar 1078/79
Rumi Calendar (Ottoman Empire) 1318/19 (March 1st)
Seleucid era Babylon: 2213/14 (turn of the year April)

Syria: 2214/15 (turn of the year October)

Suriyakati Calendar (Thai Solar Calendar) 2445/46 (April 1)
Vikram Sambat (Nepalese Calendar) 1959/60 (turn of the year April)


Politics and world events


  • January 1st : Adolf Deucher becomes President of Switzerland for the third time .
  • January 3rd : A German-Czech reconciliation conference for Bohemia begins in Vienna . The administrative districts are to be restructured into German, Czech and bilingual districts. The conference was broken off on January 20, 1903, after the Czechs demanded equality for both languages.
  • April 2nd : The French government obliges all municipalities to build public school buildings. 1,600 denominational schools had to cease operating by July 31, 1903.
  • April 9 : The Russian Tsar repeals the Finnish constitution. An exceptional law gives the Governor General Nikolay Bobrikov dictatorial powers.
  • April 19 : In Kishinew / Russia there are three days of mass pogroms by Russian Christians against Jews , in which the police do not intervene. After international protests, the Russian Interior Ministry declares the persecution of the Jews with their socialist uprising against Tsar Nicholas II. Journalists suspect more of a scapegoat policy in view of the economic misery, widespread poverty and growing labor unrest.
  • May 1 : King Edward VII's state visit to France ushers in Anglo-French rapprochement; The return visit of French President Émile Loubet with his Foreign Minister Delcassé will follow on July 6th . Relations between the two states had been clouded since the Faschoda crisis in 1898 , but in 1904 it resulted in the conclusion of the Entente Cordiale .
  • May 5 : Great Britain declares the Persian Gulf "part of the Indian border". This is a warning to the German Reich about the construction of the Baghdad Railway and to Russia about its Persian interests.
  • June 11th : The Serbian King Alexander I and his wife Draga are murdered by Serbian officers in the royal palace.
  • June 12 : Two years of military service are introduced in France. The army's peacetime strength is set at 600,000 men.
  • June 16 : In the elections to the 11th German Reichstag , the SPD receives 31.7% and 81 seats, the Center 19.8% and 100 seats, the German Conservatives 10.0% and 54 seats and the National Liberals 13.9 % and 51 mandates. This means that the supporters of protective tariffs and the fleet bill retain a comfortable majority (237 of the 397 seats).
  • June 19 : The Bern canton police put a file on the Italian socialist Benito Mussolini, who had already become a notorious troublemaker in other cantons .
Peter I after his coronation on July 15th
Theodor Herzl
The WSPU at Kingsway in 1911


Holding Up The Wrong Man , cartoon about Roosevelt's interference in Panama



  • Beginning of the British Tibet Campaign
  • The second Delhi Durbar is held.
  • December 1 : The Chinese government orders the modernization and reorganization of the army. Japanese instructors train the garrisons in Beijing and the imperial guards.
  • December 13 : Japanese troops land in Mokpo , Korea, to crack down on striking workers. This leads to clashes.
  • December 20 : The Chinese government enacts railroad regulations that make it difficult to award rail construction concessions and prohibit foreigners from owning more than 50% of the shares in a Chinese company.


  • The Harley-Davidson company is founded in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA in 1903 by William S. "Bill" Harley (1880–1943) and Arthur Davidson (1881–1950), and later William A. Davidson and Walter Davidson (1877–1942) founded as Harley-Davidson Moto Co.
  • The company Kraft or Kraft Foods is founded in Chicago by James Lewis Kraft.
  • The Werther 'sche Zuckerwarenfabrik is from August Storck founded.
  • Maggie Walker founded the Grand United Order the St. Luke Penny Savings Bank . She is the first woman in the United States to start a bank and the first African American woman to run a bank.

science and technology

Inauguration of the Gedser-Warnemünde ferry line
Experimental railcar with Siemens equipment
  • October 27 : On the military railway between Marienfelde and Zossen, a three-phase powered railcar sets the world speed record for rail vehicles with 210.2 km / h.
The first flight



Scene from The Great Train Robbery


Pierre-Auguste Renoir : Baigneuse , 1903, oil on canvas

Music and theater

Claude Monet : Waterloo Bridge - Sun behind a haze , 1903, oil on canvas


Kazimir Malewitsch : Unemployed Girl , 1903, oil on canvas
Richard Ernst Kepler - In the land of the Christ Child with verses by Gerhard Lang




Reconstruction drawing of the accident by
Osvaldo Tofani in L'Actualité No. 187 of August 16, 1903
The Iroquois Theater shortly after the fire

Minor accidents are listed in the sub-articles of Catastrophe .


For entries of athletics world records, see under the respective discipline under athletics

Nobel Prizes

price person country Reason for awarding the prize image
Nobel Price for physics Henri Becquerel
FranceFrance France "In recognition of the extraordinary merit he has earned through the discovery of spontaneous radioactivity " Henri Becquerel
Marie Curie
FranceFrance France (born in Warsaw , Poland , then Russia ) Congress PolandCongress Poland Russian Empire 1883Russian Empire  "In recognition of the extraordinary merit that they have earned through their joint work on the radiation phenomena discovered by H. Becquerel" Marie Curie
Pierre Curie
FranceFrance France Pierre Curie
Nobel Prize in Chemistry Svante August Arrhenius
Sweden 1844Sweden Sweden "In recognition of the extraordinary merit he has earned through his theory of electrolytic dissociation for the development of chemistry" Svante August Arrhenius
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine Niels Ryberg Finsen
DenmarkDenmark Denmark (born in Tórshavn ) "In recognition of his contribution to the treatment of diseases, especially lupus vulgaris , by means of concentrated light rays, through which he opened up a new path for medical science" (Note: Lupus vulgaris , in German skin tuberculosis, is a rare form of tuberculosis) Niels Ryberg Finsen
Nobel Prize in literature Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson
NorwayNorway Norway "As proof of recognition for his noble, magnificent and versatile effectiveness as a poet, who was always distinguished by a unique freshness of inspiration and a rare purity of soul" Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson
Nobel Peace Prize William Randal Cremer
United Kingdom 1801United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland United Kingdom Founder of the “ Inter-Parliamentary Union for International Arbitration ”. William Randal Cremer

Contemporary maps and views

New York City, Hester Street in Manhattan around 1903 ( Little Italy )



Alan Paton


Eugene Kogon
Anaïs Nin in the 1970s


Karl Hamann
Mike Mansfields


Willi Rumpf
Andrei Nikolajewitsch Kolmogorow


Bing Crosby
Bob Hope, 1986


Aram Khachaturian
Theo Lingen, 1976
George Orwell


Alec Douglas-Home, 1986
Olav V., 1957
Willy Dehnkamp


Louis Leakey
Jimmy Rushing


Lothar Bolz (right) 1959
Theodor W. Adorno, 1964
Otto Zirnbauer
Mark Rothko


Evelyn Waugh


Watchman Nope
Konrad Lorenz


Cecil Powell
Johannes Heesters, 1964
Bolesław Kominek

Exact date of birth unknown


January to April

Práxedes Mateo Sagasta
Josiah Willard Gibbs

May to August

Self-portrait , Paul Gauguin 1893
Marcel Renault

September to December

Marie Geistinger
Theodor Mommsen
Self-portrait Camille Pissarro, 1873
George Robert Gissing

Exact date of death unknown

Web links

Commons : 1903  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Commons : 1903  - album containing pictures, videos and audio files