2003 in History

Events in History

Events 1 - 100 of 147

  • Jan 16 The Space Shuttle Columbia takes off for mission STS-107 which would be its final one. Columbia disintegrated 16 days later on re-entry.
  • Jan 18 A bushfire kills 4 people and destroys more than 500 homes in Canberra, Australia.
  • Jan 22 Last successful contact with NASA spacecraft Pioneer 10, one of the most distant man-made objects
  • Jan 23 Final communication between Earth and NASA space probe Pioneer 10
  • Jan 24 The United States Department of Homeland Security officially begins operation.
  • Jan 29 Sally Clark cleared of murdering her 2 sons after more than 3 years of prison in what was a life sentence
  • Jan 30 Belgium legally recognizes same-sex marriage.
  • Jan 30 Richard Reid sentenced to life in prison for attempting to bomb an American Airlines flight with 197 on board
  • Jan 31 The Waterfall rail accident occurs near Waterfall, New South Wales, Australia.
  • Feb 1 Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrates during reentry into the Earth's atmosphere, killing all seven astronauts aboard.
  • Feb 4 The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is officially renamed Serbia and Montenegro and adopts a new constitution.
  • Feb 6 53rd Berlin International Film Festival: "In This World" wins the Golden Bear
  • Feb 10 France and Belgium break the NATO procedure of silent approval concerning the timing of protective measures for Turkey in case of a possible war with Iraq.
  • Feb 15 An estimated 6-11 million people around the world take to the streets to protest against war with Iraq
  • Feb 16 45th Daytona 500: Michael Waltrip wins (133.87 MPH)
  • Feb 17 The London Congestion Charge scheme begins.
  • Feb 18 Comet C/2002 V1 (NEAT) makes perihelion, seen by SOHO.
  • Feb 18 Nearly 200 people die in the Daegu subway fire in South Korea.
  • Feb 20 During a Great White concert in West Warwick, Rhode Island, a pyrotechnics display sets the club ablaze, killing 100 and injuring over 300 others.
  • Feb 27 Former Bosnian Serb leader Biljana Plavsic is sentenced by the U.N. tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, to 11 years in prison
  • Feb 27 Rowan Williams is enthroned as the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury.
  • Mar 1 Management of the United States Customs Service and the United States Secret Service move to the United States Department of Homeland Security.
  • Mar 2 The first International Symposium on Taiwan Sign Language Linguistics is held at Chung Cheng University.
  • Mar 5 In Haifa, 17 Israeli civilians are killed by a Hamas suicide bomb in the Haifa bus 37 massacre.
  • Mar 11 The International Criminal Court holds its inaugural session in The Hague.
  • Mar 12 Zoran Đinđić, Prime Minister of Serbia, is assassinated in Belgrade.
  • Mar 12 Elizabeth Smart, was found after having been missing for 9 months.
  • Mar 13 Human evolution: The journal Nature reports that 350,000-year-old footprints of an upright-walking human have been found in Italy.
  • Mar 14 Start of weekend of protests against war in Iraq that are attended by millions
  • Mar 15 Hu Jintao takes over presidency for the People's Republic of China.
  • Mar 16 The largest coordinated worldwide vigil takes place, as part of the global protests against Iraq war.
  • Mar 17 British Cabinet Minister Robin Cook, resigns over government plans for the war with Iraq.
  • Mar 18 FBI agents raid the corporate headquarters of HealthSouth Corporation in Birmingham, Alabama on suspicion of massive corporate fraud led by the company's top executives.
  • Mar 18 British Sign Language is recognised as an official British language.
  • Mar 19 Invasion of Iraq by American and British led coalition begins without United Nations support and in defiance of world opinion
  • Mar 23 In Nasiriyah, Iraq, 11 soldiers of the 507th Maintenance Company as well as 18 U.S. Marines are killed during the first major conflict of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
  • Mar 24 The Arab League votes 21-1 in favor of a resolution demanding the immediate and unconditional removal of U.S. and British soldiers from Iraq.
  • Mar 28 In a "friendly fire" incident, two A-10 Thunderbolt II attack aircraft from the United States Idaho Air National Guard's 190th Fighter Squadron attack British tanks participating in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, killing British soldier Matty Hull.

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Apr 7 U.S. troops capture Baghdad; Saddam Hussein's regime falls two days later.

Iraqi President Saddam Hussein
Iraqi President
Saddam Hussein
  • Apr 9 Baghdad falls to U.S. forces ending the invasion of Iraqi but resulting in widespread looting
  • Apr 14 The Human Genome Project is completed with 99% of the human genome sequenced to an accuracy of 99.99%
  • Apr 14 U.S. troops in Baghdad capture Abu Abbas, leader of the Palestinian group that killed an American on the hijacked cruise liner the Achille Lauro in 1985.
  • Apr 16 The Treaty of Accession is signed in Athens admitting 10 new member states to the European Union.
  • Apr 23 Beijing closes all schools for two weeks because of the SARS virus.

Event of interestEvent of Interest

May 1 2003 invasion of Iraq: In what becomes known as the "Mission Accomplished" speech, U.S. President George W. Bush declares that "major combat operations in Iraq have ended" on board the USS Abraham Lincoln off the coast of California.

43rd US President George W. Bush
43rd US President
George W. Bush
  • May 3 New Hampshire's famous Old Man of the Mountain collapses.
  • May 10 The May 2003 tornado outbreak sequence takes place.
  • May 12 The Riyadh compound bombings, carried out by Al Qaeda, kill 26.
  • May 12 Fifty-nine Democratic lawmakers bring the Texas Legislature to a standstill by going into hiding in a dispute over a Republican congressional redistricting plan.
  • May 16 In Casablanca, Morocco, 33 civilians are killed and more than 100 people are injured in the Casablanca terrorist attacks.
  • May 21 An earthquake hits northern Algeria killing more than 2,000 people.
  • May 23 The Euro exceeds its initial trading value as it hits $1.18 for the first time since its introduction in 1999.
  • May 25 Néstor Kirchner becomes President of Argentina after defeating Carlos Menem. He is the first elected President since the economic crisis.
  • May 26 Only three days after a previous record, Sherpa Lakpa Gelu climbs Mount Everest in 10 hours 56 minutes. The tourism ministry of Nepal confirms this record in July that year.
  • May 28 Peter Hollingworth becomes the first Governor-General of Australia to resign his office as a result of criticism of his conduct.
  • Jun 1 The People's Republic of China begins filling the reservoir behind the Three Gorges Dam.
  • Jun 2 Europe launches its first voyage to another planet, Mars. The European Space Agency's Mars Express probe launches from the Baikonur space centre in Kazakhstan.
  • Jun 5 A severe heat wave across Pakistan and India reaches its peak, as temperatures exceed 50°C (122°F) in the region.
  • Jun 8 57th Tony Awards: Hairspray & Take Me Out win
  • Jun 10 The Spirit Rover is launched, beginning NASA's Mars Exploration Rover mission.
  • Jun 18 Google launches AdSense, a program that enables website publishers to serve ads targeted to the specific content of their individual web pages, many of which like HistoryOrb.com go on to start their own publishing businesses

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jun 21 "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" the 5th book of the series by J. K. Rowling is published worldwide in English

Novelist J. K. Rowling
J. K. Rowling
  • Jun 26 The U.S. Supreme Court rules in Lawrence v. Texas that gender-based sodomy laws are unconstitutional.
  • Jun 27 The United States National Do Not Call Registry, formed to combat unwanted telemarketing calls and administered by the Federal Trade Commission, enrolls almost three-quarters of a million phone numbers on its first day.
  • Jul 1 Aerobie Pro thrown by Erin Hemmings sets world record for longest throw at 1,333 feet (406.3 meters) at Fort Funston
  • Jul 2 Silvio Berlusconi, Prime Minister of Italy, insults German MP Martin Schulz by calling him a "kapo" during a session of the European Parliament.
  • Jul 5 SARS is declared "contained" by the WHO
  • Jul 6 70-meter Eupatoria Planetary Radar sends a METI message (Cosmic Call 2) to 5 stars: Hip 4872, HD 245409, 55 Cancri, HD 10307 and 47 Ursae Majoris that will arrive in 2036, 2040, 2044, 2044 and 2049 respectively
  • Jul 7 The United Communist Party of Armenia is formed.
  • Jul 8 Sudan Airways Flight 39, with 116 people on board, crashes in Sudan; the only survivor is a two-year-old boy who subsequently dies as a result of his injuries.
  • Jul 10 A Neoplan bus, owned by Kowloon Motor Bus, collides with a truck, falls off a bridge on Tuen Mun Road, Hong Kong, and plunges into the underlying valley, killing 21 people. This is the deadliest traffic accident to date in Hong Kong.
  • Jul 15 AOL Time Warner disbands Netscape Communications Corporation. The Mozilla Foundation is established on the same day.
  • Jul 20 France: Sixteen people are injured after two bombs explode outside a tax office in Nice.
  • Jul 22 Members of 101st Airborne of the United States, aided by Special Forces, attack a compound in Iraq, killing Saddam Hussein's sons Uday and Qusay, along with Mustapha Hussein, Qusay's 14-year old son, and a bodyguard.

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Jul 27 A group of 321 Filipino armed soldiers called "Magdalo" took over the Oakwood Premier Ayala Center in Makati City to show the Filipino people the alleged corruption of the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration

14th President of the Philippines Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
14th President of the Philippines
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
  • Jul 30 The last 'old style' Volkswagen Beetle rolls off the assembly line in Mexico
  • Aug 5 A car bomb explodes in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta outside the Marriott Hotel killing 12 and injuring 150.
  • Aug 10 The highest temperature ever recorded in the UK - 38.5°C (101.3°F) in Kent . It is the first time the UK has recorded a temperature over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Aug 11 Jemaah Islamiyah leader Riduan Isamuddin, better known as Hambali, is arrested in Bangkok, Thailand.
  • Aug 11 A heat wave in Paris results in temperatures rising to 112°F (44° C), leaving about 144 people dead.
  • Aug 11 NATO takes over command of the peacekeeping force in Afghanistan, marking its first major operation outside Europe in its 54-year-history.
  • Aug 14 Widescale power blackout in the northeast United States and Canada.
  • Aug 19 A Hamas planned suicide attack on a bus in Jerusalem kills 23 Israelis, 7 of them children
  • Aug 19 A car-bomb attack on United Nations headquarters in Iraq kills the agency's top envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello and 21 other employees.
  • Aug 22 Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is suspended after refusing to comply with a federal court order to remove a rock inscribed with the Ten Commandments from the lobby of the Alabama Supreme Court building.
  • Aug 25 The Tli Cho land claims agreement is signed between the Dogrib First Nations and the Canadian federal government in Rae-Edzo (now called Behchoko).
  • Aug 26 The Columbia Accident Investigation Board releases its final reports on Space Shuttle Columbia disaster.
  • Aug 27 Mars makes its closest approach to Earth in nearly 60,000 years, passing 34,646,418 miles (55,758,005 km) distant.
  • Aug 28 An electricity blackout cuts off power to around 500,000 people living in south east England and brings 60% of London's underground rail network to a halt.
  • Aug 29 Ayatollah Sayed Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim, the Shia Muslim leader in Iraq, is assassinated in a terrorist bombing, along with nearly 100 worshippers as they leave a mosque in Najaf.
  • Sep 11 Swedish foreign minister Anna Lindh dies after being assaulted and fatally wounded on September 10.
  • Sep 11 The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety enters into effect.
  • Sep 12 In Fallujah, US forces mistakenly shoot and kill eight Iraqi police officers.
  • Sep 12 The United Nations lifts sanctions against Libya after that country agreed to accept responsibility and recompense the families of victims in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.
  • Sep 13 28th Toronto International Film Festival: "Zatoichi" directed by Takeshi Kitano wins the People's Choice Award
  • Sep 14 Sweden rejects adopting the Euro in a referendum
  • Sep 14 Estonia approves joining the European Union in a referendum.
  • Sep 18 The United Kingdom's Local Government Act 2003, repealing controversial Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988, receives Royal Assent.
  • Sep 20 Maldives civil unrest: the death of prisoner Hassan Evan Naseem sparks a day of rioting in Malé
  • Sep 20 A referendum is held in Latvia to decide the country's accession to the European Union

Birthdays in History

  • Apr 29 Maud Behn, Princess of Norway
  • Jul 4 Alessia di Matteo, Italian medical figure (d. 2005)
  • Aug 20 Prince Gabriel of Belgium
  • Aug 24 Alexandre Coste, son of Albert II, Prince of Monaco
  • Nov 8 Lady Louise Windsor, British royal
  • Dec 7 Princess Catharina-Amalia of the Netherlands

Weddings in History

  • Apr 12 Prince Laurent of Belgium (39)marries Claire Coombs (29) in Belgium
  • May 10 Fashion designer Shoshanna Lonstein (28) weds investment analyst Joshua Gruss at the Metropolitan Club in New York City
  • Aug 10 Yuri Ivanovich Malenchenko becomes the first person to marry in space, marrying Ekaterina Dmitriev (on earth)
  • Aug 10 Fox News correspondent Geraldo Rivera (60) weds former Rivera Live producer Erica Levy (28) at Manhattan's Central Synagogue
  • Aug 30 Daughter of Paul McCartney and fashion designer Stella McCartney (31) weds British publisher Alasdhair Willis on the 300-acre Gothic Estate in Scotland's Isle of Bute
  • Oct 11 American Pie star Alyson Hannigan (29) weds Angel's Alexis Denisof (37) at the Two Bunch Palms Resort & Spa in Palm Springs, California

Deaths in History

Deaths 1 - 100 of 270

  • Jan 1 F. William Free, American advertising executive (b. 1928)
  • Jan 4 Sabine Ulibarri, Mexican American writer (b. 1919)
  • Jan 4 Conrad Hall, American cinematographer (b. 1927)
  • Jan 5 Roy Jenkins, British politician (b. 1920)
  • Jan 5 Jean Kerr, American author (b. 1923)
  • Jan 12 Dean Amadon, American ornithologist (b. 1912)
  • Jan 12 Kinji Fukasaku, Japanese director (b. 1930)
  • Jan 12 Leopoldo Galtieri, dictator of Argentina (b. 1926)
  • Jan 12 Allan Nunn May, English physicist and Soviet spy (b. 1911)
  • Jan 14 Koloman Sokol, Slovak painter (b. 1902)
  • Jan 16 Richard Wainwright, English politician (b. 1918)
  • Jan 19 Françoise Giroud, French writer and journalist (b. 1916)
  • Jan 20 Al Hirschfeld, American caricaturist (b. 1903)
  • Jan 20 Bill Werbeniuk, Canadian snooker player (b. 1947)
  • Jan 21 Paul Haines, American-born Canadian poet (b. 1933)
  • Jan 22 Bill Mauldin, American World War II cartoonist (b. 1921)
  • Jan 24 Gianni Agnelli, Italian auto executive (b. 1921)
  • Jan 25 Samuel Weems, Arkansas judge (b. 1936)
  • Jan 26 Hugh Trevor-Roper, Baron Dacre of Glanton, English historian (b. 1917)
  • Jan 26 George Younger, 4th Viscount Younger of Leckie, British politician (b. 1931)
  • Jan 27 Henryk Jabłoński, President of Poland (b. 1909)
  • Jan 27 Louis Archambault, Quebec sculptor (b. 1915)
  • Jan 29 Frank Moss, American politician (b. 1911)
  • Jan 31 Michael Ogden, British barrister and judge (Ogden Tables), dies at 76
  • Feb 1 Michael P. Anderson - crew of the STS-107 Mission (Space Shuttle Columbia disaster) (b. 1959)
  • Feb 1 David Brown - crew of the STS-107 Mission (Space Shuttle Columbia disaster) (b. 1956)
  • Feb 1 Kalpana Chawla - crew of the STS-107 Mission (Space Shuttle Columbia disaster) (b. 1961)
  • Feb 1 Laurel Clark - crew of the STS-107 Mission (Space Shuttle Columbia disaster) (b. 1961)
  • Feb 1 Rick D. Husband - crew of the STS-107 Mission (Space Shuttle Columbia disaster) (b. 1957)
  • Feb 1 Willie McCool - crew of the STS-107 Mission (Space Shuttle Columbia disaster) (b. 1961)
  • Feb 1 Ilan Ramon - crew of the STS-107 Mission (Space Shuttle Columbia disaster) (b. 1954)
  • Feb 4 Benyoucef Ben Khedda, Algerian politician (b. 1920)
  • Feb 5 Helge Boes, American Central Intelligence Agency officer
  • Feb 7 Augusto Monterroso, Guatemalan author (b. 1921)
  • Feb 7 John Reading, Mayor of Oakland, California (b. 1917)
  • Feb 10 Edgar de Evia, American photographer (b. 1910)
  • Feb 10 Clark MacGregor, United States Congressman from Minnesota (b. 1922)
  • Feb 10 Al Ruffo, Mayor of San Jose, California (b. 1908)
  • Feb 10 Ron Ziegler, press secretary to Richard Nixon (b. 1939)
  • Feb 10 Bengt Edlén, Swedish Astrophysicist who specialized in spectroscopy and discovered the source of unidentified emission lines in solar spectrum, dies at 86
  • Feb 12 Vali Myers, Australian painter (b. 1930)
  • Feb 13 Axel Jensen, Norwegian author (b. 1932)
  • Feb 13 Walt Rostow, U.S. government official (b. 1916)

Person of interestPerson of Interest

Feb 14 Dolly the Sheep, first mammal to be cloned from an adult cell dies young form a progressive lung disease aged 6

  • Feb 16 Eleanor "Sis" Daley, wife of Chicago mayor Richard J. Daley (b. 1907)
  • Feb 18 Isser Harel, Israeli Mossad leader (b. 1912)
  • Feb 20 Maurice Blanchot, French author (b. 1907)
  • Feb 20 Orville Freeman, American politician (b. 1918)
  • Feb 20 Mushaf Ali Mir, Pakistani Chief of the Air Staff (b. 1947)
  • Feb 23 Robert K. Merton, American sociologist (b. 1910)
  • Feb 24 John Edward Christopher Hill, English historian (b. 1912)
  • Feb 24 Bernard Loiseau, French chef (b. 1951)
  • Feb 25 Tom O'Higgins, Irish Chief Justice (b. 1916)
  • Feb 28 Fidel Sánchez Hernández, President of El Salvador (b. 1917)
  • Feb 28 Roger Michael Needham, British cryptographer (b. 1935)
  • Feb 28 Rudolf Kingslake, Lens designer, and Engineer (b. 1903)
  • Mar 3 Luis Marden, American photojournalist (b. 1913)
  • Mar 3 Peter Smithson, English architect (b. 1923)
  • Mar 4 Jaba Ioseliani, Georgian bank robber (b. 1926)
  • Mar 6 John Sanford, American author (b. 1904)
  • Mar 9 Bernard Dowiyogo, President of Nauru (b. 1946)
  • Mar 11 Brian Cleeve, Irish author (b. 1921)
  • Mar 11 Ivar Hansen, speaker of the Danish Folketing (b. 1938)
  • Mar 12 Zoran Đinđić, Prime Minister of Serbia (b. 1952)
  • Mar 12 Howard Fast, American author (b. 1914)
  • Mar 14 Jack Goldstein, Canadian-born artist (b. 1945)
  • Mar 14 Jean-Luc Lagardère, French publisher (b. 1928)
  • Mar 15 Paul Stojanovich, Reality TV pioneer (b. 1956)
  • Mar 16 Rachel Corrie, American political activist (b. 1979)
  • Mar 16 Ronald Ferguson, father of Sarah, Duchess of York (b. 1931)
  • Mar 17 Su Buqing, Chinese mathematician and educator (b. 1902)
  • Mar 18 Adam Osborne, British computer pioneer (b. 1939)
  • Mar 19 Michael Mathias Prechtl, German illustrator (b. 1926)
  • Mar 21 Umar Wirahadikusumah, Fourth Vice President of Indonesia (b. 1924)
  • Mar 22 Terry Lloyd, English reporter (b. 1952)
  • Mar 23 Fritz Spiegl, Austrian-born journalist (b. 1926)
  • Mar 24 Hans Hermann Groër, Austrian Catholic archbishop (b. 1919)
  • Mar 26 Daniel Patrick Moynihan, U.S. Senator (b. 1927)
  • Mar 27 Ricardo Munguia, Salvadoran aid worker
  • Mar 27 Paul Zindel, American writer (b. 1936)
  • Mar 29 Carlo Urbani, Italian physician (SARS) (b. 1956)
  • Mar 30 Valentin Pavlov, Prime Minister of the Soviet Union (b. 1937)
  • Mar 31 H.S.M. Coxeter, English-born geometer (b. 1907)
  • Apr 3 Michael Kelly, American journalist (b. 1957)
  • Apr 6 David Bloom, American reporter (b. 1963)
  • Apr 6 Gerald Emmett Cardinal Carter, Canadian religious figure (b. 1912)
  • Apr 7 Cecile de Brunhoff, French storyteller (b. 1903)
  • Apr 7 David Greene, British television director (b. 1921)
  • Apr 11 Cecil Howard Green, British geophysicist and businessman (b. 1900)
  • Apr 12 Cecil H. Green, American manufacturer (b. 1900)
  • Apr 15 Reg Bundy, British performer (b. 1941)
  • Apr 16 Graham Stuart Thomas, English author and garden designer (b. 1909)
  • Apr 17 Robert Atkins, American dietician (b. 1930)
  • Apr 17 Paul Getty, American-born philanthropist (b. 1932)
  • Apr 17 Yiannis Latsis, Greek shipping tycoon (b. 1910)
  • Apr 18 Edgar F. Codd, English computer scientist (b. 1923)
  • Apr 20 Bernard Katz, German-born biophysicist, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (b. 1911)
  • Apr 22 Martha Griffiths, U.S. Congresswoman (b. 1912)
  • Apr 23 James H. Critchfield, American Central Intelligence agent (b. 1917)
  • Apr 23 Fernand Fonssagrives, French photographer (b. 1910)