Events in History in 2003

  • 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 found after having been missing for 9 months.
  • Mar 13 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

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Mar 15 Hu Jintao becomes President of the People's Republic of China

Paramount Leader of China Hu Jintao
Paramount Leader of China
Hu Jintao
  • 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 US A-10 Thunderbolt IIs from the 190th Fighter Squadron attack British tanks participating in the 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 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 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
Novelist
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
  • Sep 21 Galileo mission terminated by sending the probe into Jupiter's atmosphere, where it is crushed by the pressure at the lower altitudes.
  • Sep 22 David Hempleman-Adams becomes the first person to cross the Atlantic Ocean in an open-air, wicker-basket hot air balloon.
  • Sep 25 A magnitude-8.0 earthquake strikes just offshore of Hokkaidō, Japan.
  • Sep 27 Smart 1 satellite is launched.
  • Sep 29 Hurricane Juan makes landfall in Nova Scotia.
  • Oct 3 Roy Horn of Siegfried & Roy is attacked by one of the shows tigers, canceling the show for good.
  • Oct 4 Maxim restaurant suicide bombing in Haifa, Israel: 21 Israelis, Jews and Arabs, are killed, and 51 others wounded.

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Oct 8 Peter Agre and Roderick MacKinnon win the 2003 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for discoveries concerning channels in cell membranes

Molecular biologist Peter Agre
Molecular biologist
Peter Agre
  • Oct 15 China launches Shenzhou 5, its first manned space mission.
  • Oct 15 The Staten Island Ferry boat Andrew J. Barberi collides with a pier at the St. George Ferry Terminal in Staten Island, killing 11 people and injuring 43.
  • Oct 17 The pinnacle was fitted on the roof of Taipei 101, a 101-floor skyscraper in Taipei, allowing it to surpass the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur by 50 meters (165 feet) and become the World's tallest highrise.
  • Oct 17 Eunuchs in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh float the political party Jiti Jitayi Politics.
  • Oct 18 Bolivian Gas War: President Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, is forced to resign and leave Bolivia

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Oct 19 Mother Teresa of Calcutta is beatified by Pope John Paul II.

Catholic Missionary Mother Teresa
Catholic Missionary
Mother Teresa
264th Pope John Paul II
264th Pope
John Paul II
  • Oct 21 Images of the dwarf planet Eris are taken and subsequently used in its discovery by the team of Michael E. Brown, Chad Trujillo, and David L. Rabinowitz.
  • Oct 24 Concorde makes its last commercial flight.
  • Oct 26 The Cedar Fire, the second-largest fire in California history, kills 15 people, consumes 250,000 acres (1,000 km²), and destroys 2,200 homes around San Diego.
  • Oct 31 A bankruptcy court approves MCI's reorganization plans, essentially clearing the telecommunications company to exit bankruptcy.
  • Oct 31 Mahathir bin Mohamad resigns as Prime Minister of Malaysia and is replaced by Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, marking an end to Mahathir's 22 years in power.
  • Nov 4 The most powerful solar flare as observed by satellite instrumentation is recorded.
  • Nov 4 Former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy becomes the first person indicted under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. He was eventually acquitted.
  • Nov 9 A suicide-terrorist attack in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, kills 17 people.
  • Nov 12 With 501 km/h (311 mph) Shanghai Transrapid sets up a new world record for commercial railway systems.
  • Nov 12 Iraq war: In Nasiriya, Iraq, at least 23 people, among them the first Italian casualties of the 2003 Iraq war are killed in a suicide bomb attack on an Italian police base.
  • Nov 15 The first day of the 2003 Istanbul Bombings takes place, to be followed by additional bombings on November 20.
  • Nov 18 The congress of the Communist Party of Indian Union (Marxist-Leninist) decides to merge the party into Kanu Sanyal's CPI(ML).
  • Nov 18 In England, the Local Government Act 2003, repealing controversial anti-gay amendment Section 28, becomes effective
  • Nov 18 Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rules the state's ban on same-sex marriages is unconstitutional
  • Nov 20 After the November 15 bombings, a second day of the 2003 Istanbul Bombings occurs in Istanbul, Turkey, destroying the Turkish head office of HSBC Bank AS and the British consulate.
  • Nov 22 In Tbilisi, Georgia, opponents of President Eduard Shevardnadze seize the parliament building and demand the president's resignation.
  • Nov 23 Georgian president Eduard Shevardnadze resigns following weeks of mass protests over flawed elections.
  • Nov 26 Concorde makes its last ever flight over Bristol, England.
  • Dec 7 The Conservative Party of Canada is officially recognized after the merger of the Canadian Alliance and Progressive Conservative Party of Canada.
  • Dec 9 A blast in the center of Moscow kills six people and wounds several more.

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 12 Paul Martin becomes the Prime Minister of Canada

21st Prime Minister of Canada Paul Martin
21st Prime Minister of Canada
Paul Martin

Event of interestEvent of Interest

Dec 12 Jean Chretien formally resigns as the Prime Minister of Canada

20th Prime Minister of Canada Jean Chretien
20th Prime Minister of Canada
Jean Chretien
  • Dec 13 Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is captured near his home town of Tikrit, during Operation Red Dawn by US forces
  • Dec 14 President of Pakistan Pervez Musharaf narrowly escapes an assassination attempt.
  • Dec 14 President George W. Bush announces the capture of Saddam Hussein.
  • Dec 17 The Soham murder trial ends at the Old Bailey in London, with Ian Huntley found guilty of two counts of murder. His girlfriend Maxine Carr is found guilty of perverting the course of justice.
  • Dec 17 SpaceShipOne flight 11P, piloted by Brian Binnie, makes its first supersonic flight.
  • Dec 22 A magnitude 6.6 earthquake hits near San Simeon, California.
  • Dec 23 PetroChina Chuandongbei natural gas field explosion, Guoqiao, Kai, Chongqing, China, killing at least 234.
  • Dec 24 Spanish police thwart an attempt by ETA to detonate 50 kg of explosives at 3:55 p.m. inside Madrid's busy Chamartín Station.
  • Dec 25 The ill-fated Beagle 2 probe which was released from the Mars Express Spacecraft on December 19, disappears shortly before its scheduled landing.
  • Dec 26 A magnitude 6.6 earthquake devastates southeast Iranian city of Bam, killing tens of thousands and destroying the citadel of Arg-é Bam.
  • Dec 30 U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft recuses himself and his office from the Plame affair.