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Skidmore College
Skidmore History
Photo: Panama Canal Authority


  • The United States pursues canal rights over the isthmus of Panama from Columbia, but is rebuffed. With U.S. backing, Panama becomes independent and signs a treaty to allow construction of the Panama Canal.
  • Theodore Roosevelt holds office as the 26th president of the United States.
  • Congress creates the U.S. Department of Commerce.
  • The U.S. Navy establishes a base at Guantanamo, Cuba.
  • Al Smith wins a seat in the New York State Assembly.
  • The village of Lake George is incorporated.
  • Congress establishes the first national wildlife refuge on March 14, 1903, at Pelican Island, Florida, to protect declining populations of pelicans and other water birds.
  • Alexander Obrenovich, king of Serbia, and his wife, Draga, are murdered in a military coup.
  • The New York State Legislature passes the Compulsory Education Act of 1903, a model for laws limiting child labor.