1903 has the latest occurring solstices and equinoxes for 400 years, because the Gregorian calendar hasn't had a leap year for seven years or a century leap year since 1600. See 1696.
- January 1 - Edward VII of the United Kingdom is proclaimed Emperor of India
- February 11 - The Oxnard Strike of 1903 represents the first time in U.S. history that a labor union was formed from members of different races.
- February 15 - Morris Michtom and his wife Rose introduce the first teddy bear in America.
- February 23 - Cuba leases Guantanamo Bay to the United States "in perpetuity"
- March 2 - In New York City the Martha Washington Hotel opens, becoming the first hotel exclusively for women.
- March 3 – British admiralty announces plans to build naval base at Rosyth
- March 5 – Turkey and Germany signs an agreement to build the Constantinople-Baghdad railway
- March 14 - The Hay-Herran Treaty, granting the United States the right to build the Panama Canal, is ratified by the United States Senate. The Colombian Senate would later reject the treaty.
- March 22 - the US side of the Niagara Falls runs short of water
- March 31 - Possible first powered heavier-than-air flight, Richard Pearse, New Zealand (some date it to 1902)
- May 18 - Opening of Port of Burgas, Bulgaria.
- June 10-11 – Assassination of King Alexander of Serbia and Queen Draga
- July 1-19 - First Tour de France – Maurice Garin wins
- July 23 - Dr. Ernst Pfenning of Chicago, Illinois becomes the first owner of a Ford Model A.
- April 29 - 30,000,000 cubic metre landslide kills 70 in Frank, Alberta
- August 4 - Pope Pius X elected
- September 14 - Joseph Chamberlain resigns as Colonial Secretary
- September 8 - Massacre of Bulgarians by Turkish troops at Monastir is reported
- October - Frank Nelson Cole proved that 2^67-1 is composite by factoring it as 193,707,727 * 761,838,257,287 after trying every Sunday for 3 years.
- October 10 - Foundation of the Women's Social and Political Union
- November 3 - With the encouragement of the United States, Panama proclaims itself independent from Colombia. US President Theodore Roosevelt wanted the United States to build the Panama Canal but were blocked by Colombia.
- November 6 - USA recognizes independence of Panama
- November 17 - The Russian Social Democratic Labor Party splits into two groups; the Bolsheviks (Russian for "majority") and Mensheviks (Russian for "minority"). (NOTE: Later the Mensheviks became the majority party, meaning that the Mensheviks became the bolsheviks and the Bolsheviks mensheviks).
- November 18 - The Hay-Bunau-Varilla Treaty is signed by the United States and Panama, giving the Americans exclusive rights over the Panama Canal Zone.
- November 23 - Colorado Governor James Hamilton Peabody sends the state militia into the town of Cripple Creek to break up a miners' strike.
- December 17 - Orville Wright flies aircraft with a petrol engine in first documented successful controlled powered heavier-than-air flight.
- December 30 - A fire at the Iroquois Theater in Chicago kills 600.
- February 2 - Bartel Leendert van der Waerden, mathematician (d. 1996)
- February 5 - Eugen Weidmann, murderer (d. 1939, last public guillotine execution in France)
- February 6 - Claudio Arrau, pianist (d. 1991)
- February 11 - Rex Lease, American actor (d. 1966)
- February 11 - Alan Paton, writer (d. 1988)
- February 13 - Georges Simenon, thriller writer (d. 1989)
- February 16 - Edgar Bergen, ventriloquist (d. 1978)
- February 21 - Anaïs Nin, writer (d. 1977)
- February 21 - Raymond Queneau, French poet and novelist (d. 1976)
- February 22 - Morley Callaghan (d. 1990)
- February 22 - Frank P. Ramsey, mathematician (d. 1930)
- February 24 - Franz Burda, German publisher (d. 1986)
- February 27 - Grethe Weiser, actress (d. 1970)
- February 28 - Vincente Minnelli, director (d. 1986)
- April 3 - Peter Huchel, lyricist and author of radio plays (d. 1981)
- April 6 - Mickey Cochrane, Baseball Hall of Famer (d. 1962)
- April 6 - Doc Edgerton, MIT professor of electrical engineering (d. 1990)
- April 10 - Clare Boothe Luce, publisher, writer (d. 1987)
- April 15 - John Williams, actor (d. 1983)
- April 17 - Gregor Piatigorsky, Russian cellist (d. 1976)
- April 17 - Morgan Taylor, American athlete (d. 1975)
- April 19 - Eliot Ness, American treasury agent (d. 1957)
- April 24 - José Antonio Primo de Rivera (d. 1936)
- April 25 - Andrey Nikolaevich Kolmogorov, Russian mathematician (d. 1987)
- June 6 - Aram Khachaturian, composer (d. 1978)
- June 8 - Marguerite Yourcenar, writer (d. 1987)
- June 12 - Emmett Hardy, jazz musician (d. 1925)
- June 16 - Helen Traubel, American soprano (d. 1972)
- June 18 - Jeanette MacDonald, American singer, actress (d. 1965)
- June 18 - Raymond Radiguet, French author (d. 1923)
- June 19 - Lou Gehrig, baseball player (d. 1941)
- June 19 - Wally Hammond, cricketer (d. 1965)
- June 21 - Al Hirschfeld, caricaturist (d. 2003)
- June 25 - Pierre Brossolette, journalist, French Resistance (d. 1944)
- June 25 - George Orwell, author (d. 1950)
- December 5 - Johannes Heesters, singer, actor, entertainer
- December 12 - Alfred Leslie Rowse, historian (d. 1997)
- December 12 - Yasujiro Ozu, Japanese film director (d. 1963)
- December 24 - Joseph Cornell, sculptor (d. 1972)
- December 28 - John von Neumann, Hungarian-American mathematician (d. 1957)
- December 28 - Earl "Fatha" Hines, jazz musician (d. 1983)
- December 31 - Nathan Milstein, Ukranian violinst (d. 1992)
- unknown - Will Mastin, vaudevillian
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