January 1, 1803: The Free City of Regensburg is assigned to the domains of Karl Theodor Anton Maria Baron von Dalberg, Prince-Archbishop and Elector of Regensburg.
January 4, 1803: The first practical steamboat, the Charlotte Dundas, travels along the canal in Glasgow. Unfortunately for its inventor, William Symington, no one wishes to pursue funding for the design.
January 6, 1803: Heinrich Herz is born in Vienna, in the Archduchy of Austria. He will be better known under his French name, Henri.
January 13, 1803: Ma tante Aurore, ou Le roman impromptu, an opéra comique by Adrien Boieldieu (27) to words of Longchamps, is performed for the first time, at the Théâtre Feydeau, Paris.
January 14, 1803: The ballet Daphnis et Pandrose, including music by Dalvimare, Devienne, Duvernoy, Gluck, Haydn, Himmel, R. Kreutzer, Martini, Méhul, Miller and Winter, to a scenario by Gardel, is performed for the first time, at the Paris Opéra.
January 22, 1803: Ludwig van Beethoven (32) places an announcement in the Wiener Zeitung denouncing the publishing firm of Artaria and Mollo. They published his String Quintet op.29 in Vienna after Beethoven’s authorized publication by Breitkopf and Härtel in Leipzig. Artaria received the manuscript from the dedicatee, Count Moritz von Fries. See 14 February 1803.
January 28, 1803: The French Republic formally establishes the Grand Prix de Rome in Musical Composition. The annual winners will receive a stipend for four years, the first two to be spent at the Villa Medici, Rome the third in Germany or Austria, the fourth in Rome or Paris. They will be expected to compose various works during this time. Illustrious composers who will win the Prix de Rome include Berlioz, Gounod, Bizet, Massenet, Debussy, Schmitt and Ibert.
January 29, 1803: Ercole in Lidia, a dramma per musica by Simon Mayr (39) to words of de Gamerra, is performed for the first time, in the Burgtheater, Vienna.
February 7, 1803: Colonel Edward Despard is tried before a special court in London and found guilty of high treason, despite the appearance of Admiral Nelson as a character witness.
February 9, 1803: The remainder of the Despard conspirators are tried in London. Nine are found guilty of high treason.
February 11, 1803: The Church lands of the Archbishop of Salzburg are created the Duchy of Salzburg.
February 12, 1803: Publication of a Symphony in C B.154 by Ignaz Pleyel (45) is announced in the Correspondance des professeurs et amateurs de musique, Paris.
February 14, 1803: Vienna publishers Artaria and Co. file a petition in the High Police Court, Vienna in an effort to force a retraction from Beethoven (32) of his published statement of 22 January. See 26 September 1803.
February 15, 1803: Delphis et Mopsa, a comédie lyrique by André-Ernest-Modeste Grétry (62) to words of Guy, is performed for the first time, at the Paris Opéra.
February 16, 1803: The remaining lands of the Prince-Bishop of Strasbourg (Ettenheim) are annexed by Baden.
February 17, 1803: A great fire devastates a large portion of Bombay. No loss of life is reported.
February 17, 1803: In the case against Ludwig van Beethoven (32), Artaria files a subjoined declaration, signed by Count Moritz von Fries, that he allowed them to publish the String Quartet op.29 if they held off until after the Breitkopf and Härtel edition appears in Vienna.
February 19, 1803: Napoléon issues the Act of Mediation abolishing the Helvetic Republic and reestablishing the Swiss Confederation.
February 21, 1803: The Cape Colony returns from British to Dutch (Batavian Republic) rule.
February 21, 1803: Colonel Edward Despard and six others are executed at Horsemonger Lane Gaol in London for high treason for conspiring to kill King George. 20,000 people watch.
February 22, 1803: The Bishopric of Passau is annexed to Salzburg.
February 24, 1803: The United States Supreme Court asserts the right of Judicial Review, that is the right to overturn a law passed by the Congress and signed by the President, in judging the case of Marbury v. Madison.
February 25, 1803: The Diet of Ratisbon reorganizes the Holy Roman Empire, the Reichsdeputationshauptschluss. Most ecclesiastical states and independent cities are abolished. Four new electorates are created.
March 1, 1803: Héléna, an opéra by Étienne-Nicolas Méhul (39) to words of Bouilly, is performed for the first time, at the Théâtre Feydeau, Paris. It is fairly successful.
March 1, 1803: Ohio becomes the 17th state of the United States.
March 2, 1803: Three Piano Sonatas with violin and cello accompaniment B.474-476 by Ignaz Pleyel (45) are entered at Stationers’ Hall, London.
March 6, 1803: The Bishopric of Brixen is annexed by Austria.
March 20, 1803: British forces occupy St. Pierre and Miquelon again.
March 20, 1803: Prince Wilhelm Joseph Alexander Duke von Looz-Corswarem of Rheina-Wolbeck dies and is succeeded by his son Joseph Arnold.
March 22, 1803: German explorer Alexander von Humboldt and French botantist Aimé Bonpland arrive in Acapulco from Peru and Ecuador aboard the Pizarro. They will change the course of scientific research in Mexico.
March 27, 1803: Napoléon institutes a single currency for France, the Franc Germinal.
March 27, 1803: Berg is annexed by Bavaria.
March 29, 1803: Proserpine, a tragédie lyrique by Giovanni Paisiello (62) to words of Guillard after Quinault, is performed for the first time, at the Paris Opéra. It is not well received.
April 4, 1803: Bavaria annexes the Principality of Freising. The Duke of Oldenburg rules that the Bishopric of Lübeck is henceforth a principality. Prince-Bishop Peter Friedrich Ludwig Duke of Holstein-Gottorp takes on the title of Prince.
April 5, 1803: Three new works by Ludwig van Beethoven (32) are performed for the first time, at the Theater an der Wien, Vienna: the oratorio Christ on the Mount of Olives to words of Huber, the Symphony no.2, and the Third Piano Concerto, all on a program with the composer’s First Symphony. The composer is soloist in the concerto. Critics are mixed, but the concert is a great financial success.
April 7, 1803: Toussaint L’Ouverture dies in the dungeon of Fort de Joux in the Jura, France.
April 14, 1803: Three years after its founding, the Banque de France is granted its first official charter, giving it exclusive power to issue notes in Paris.
April 26, 1803: About 3,000 meteorite fragments fall on the town of L’Aigle in Normandy. Sent to investigate by the Académie française, Jean-Baptiste Biot will conclude that the stones are of extraterrestrial origin.
April 27, 1803: Emperor Franz II gives assent to the Reichsdeputationshauptschluss of 25 February, a massive reorganization of the Empire. The number of imperial cities is reduced to six. Of the dozens of church states, only three remain. The Duke of Salzburg becomes an elector of the Empire. The Rhineland Palatinate is made part of Bavaria. Baden, Hesse-Kassel, and Württemberg become electorates. Larger German states are enriched at the expense of smaller ones.
April 29, 1803: The Duchy of Württemberg is created an electorate. Duke Friedrich II adds the title of Prince-Elector.
May 2, 1803: France sells Louisiana (the western drainage basin of the Mississippi River) to the United States for a price of $11,250,000 in bonds and $3,750,000 in indemnities to American citizens with claims against France. The treaty is antedated to 30 April.
May 8, 1803: Karl Friedrich of Baden-Durlach is named Elector of Baden-Durlach.
May 15, 1803: Landgrave Wilhelm IX of Hesse-Kassel is created a Prince-Elector of the Empire. Hesse-Kassel becomes the Electorate of Hesse.
May 16, 1803: Great Britain imposes an embargo on all French and Dutch ships in her ports.
May 18, 1803: War of the Third Coalition: Great Britain declares war on France because of French influence in Switzerland and Italy, and Britain’s refusal to part with Malta.
May 23, 1803: Pierre-Antoine Daru, spokesman for First Consul Napoléon Bonaparte, tells the Tribunate of Napoléon’s intention to invade Great Britain.
May 24, 1803: The Sonata for violin and piano op.47 dedicated to Rudolf Kreutzer by Ludwig van Beethoven (32) is performed for the first time, in Vienna, the composer at the keyboard. The premiere was scheduled for two days ago but postponed because Beethoven still hadn’t finished it. He has his student, Ferdinand Ries, copying the first two movements of the violin part at 04:30 this morning, but Ries is only able to finish one movement. The violinist, George Bridgetower, reads the second movement from Beethoven’s manuscript.
May 27, 1803: Four-year-old Carlo Ludovico II replaces Ludovico I as King of Etruria (Tuscany) under the regency of Maria Luisa.
May 28, 1803: Publication of the violin sonatas op.30 and Bagatelles op.33 by Ludwig van Beethoven (32) is announced.
June 1, 1803: War of the Third Coalition: France invades the Electorate of Hannover.
June 3, 1803: Captain Henry Shrapnel demonstrates his spherical case projectiles to a committee of British artillery officers. They approve his invention for use by the army.
June 4, 1803: War of the Third Coalition: French troops occupy the city of Hannover forcing the Hannoverian army to retreat north of the Elbe.
June 5, 1803: War of the Third Coalition: The Electorate of Hannover surrenders to the French near Artlenburg. By the convention, the Electorate is dissolved. King George III (Elector of Hannover) refuses to recognize the convention.
June 18, 1803: Le baiser et la quittance, ou Une aventure de garrison, an opéra-comique by Adrien Boieldieu (27), Étienne-Nicolas Méhul (39), Rodolphe Kreutzer and Nicolò Isouard, to words of Picard, Dieulafoy and Longchamps after Polier de Bottens, is performed for the first time, at the Théâtre Feydeau, Paris. It will fail in Paris but do better elsewhere.
June 22, 1803: War of the Third Coalition: The French garrison on St. Lucia capitulates to invading British forces.
June 24, 1803: Royal Assent is granted to the Malicious Shooting or Stabbing Act. It is the first criminalization of abortion in English law.
June 25, 1803: War of the Third Coalition: The Batavian Republic (Netherlands) reluctantly agrees to the Franco-Batavian Convention. The country is forced into a full military alliance with France. They are required to provide warships and transports to ferry French troops.
June 30, 1803: The free city of Dortmund is annexed by Nassau.
June 30, 1803: War of the Third Coalition: British troops capture the French island of Tobago.
July 4, 1803: President Thomas Jefferson publicly announces the Louisiana Purchase.
July 13, 1803: Shoja al-Molk Shah replaces Mahmud Shah as King of Afghanistan.
July 15, 1803: Incidental music to Goethe’s play Clavigo by Johann Friedrich Reichardt (50) is performed for the first time, at the Nationaltheater, Berlin.
July 23, 1803: Insurrection begins in Ireland led by Robert Emmet.
July 24, 1803: Adolphe Charles Adam is born in Paris, Republic of France, the son of Jean Louis Adam, pianist, composer, and teacher.
July 25, 1803: Margrave Karl Friedrich of Baden is created a prince-elector. The Margraviate of Baden becomes the Electorate of Baden.
July 26, 1803: The Surrey Iron Railway, the first public railway, opens between Wandsworth and West Croydon, England, a distance of 13 km.
July 27, 1803: Concerto for piano C.187 by Jan Ladislav Dussek (43) is entered at Stationers’ Hall, London.
July 30, 1803: War of the Third Coalition: First Consul Napoléon Bonaparte announces the creation of a National Flotilla for the purpose of invading Britain.
August 3, 1803: British forces begin an offensive against the Sindhia of Gwalior in India.
August 6, 1803: Parisian piano maker Sebastien Erard sells a new grand piano to Ludwig van Beethoven (32). It will arrive in Vienna sometime in October. It has a wider range than most instruments currently available in Vienna.
August 9, 1803: Robert Fulton exhibits his first prototype steamboat on the Seine in Paris.
August 11, 1803: With the resumption of hostilities, the British Parliament reintroduces an income tax.
August 17, 1803: Publication of the Piano Trio op.12 by Johann Nepomuk Hummel (24) is advertised in the Wiener Zeitung.
August 19, 1803: Sweden leases the City of Wismar to the Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin while retaining sovereignty.
August 20, 1803: Simon Mayr’s (40) melodramma giocoso Le finte rivali to words of Romanelli is performed for the first time, in Milan.
August 25, 1803: Luís Pinto de Sousa Coutinho, visconde de Balsemão replaces João de Almeida Melo e Castro as Secretary of State (prime minister) of Portugal.
September 3, 1803: Afraid of being massacred by the black army besieging them, the French garrison of Saint Marc (Haiti) surrenders to the Royal Navy off shore.
September 3, 1803: English scientist John Dalton first records in his notebook drawings of the relative weights of atoms.
September 11, 1803: British forces defeat Marathas in the Battle of Delhi at Patparganj.
September 14, 1803: Forces of the British East India Company enter Delhi and the city surrenders.
September 19, 1803: Irish leader Robert Emmet, convicted of treason by the British, is executed in Dublin.
September 20, 1803: War of the Third Coalition: The Dutch colony of Demerara (Guyana) surrenders to the Royal Navy.
September 23, 1803: British and Indian troops defeat forces of Sindhia Maratha at Assaye.
September 26, 1803: In the matter of Artaria and Beethoven (32), the High Police Court of Vienna rules for Artaria. Beethoven is ordered to publish a retraction. See 22 January 1803 and 4 December 1803.
October 1, 1803: Publication of the Variations for piano and flute op.14 by Johann Nepomuk Hummel (24) is announced in the Wiener Zeitung.
October 2, 1803: Samuel Adams dies in Boston at the age of 81.
October 4, 1803: Anacréon, ou L’amour fugitif, an opera-ballet by Luigi Cherubini (43) to words of Mendouze, is performed for the first time, at the Paris Opéra. It receives five performances and is not performed again.
October 4, 1803: Three sacred works by Michael Haydn (66) are performed for the first time, for the Empress of Austria in the Hofburgkapelle, Vienna: Missa subtitulo San Francesci Seraphici and settings of Cantate and Domine Deus.
October 16, 1803: Ferdinand Karl Erzherzog von Österreich-Este becomes Duke of Modena-Breisgau.
October 17, 1803: The eighth Congress of the United States convenes in Washington. Redistribution of seats after the 1800 census greatly aids the Republicans. They hold 103 seats in the House of Representatives to 39 for the Federalists. In the Senate they hold 25 of 34 seats.
October 19, 1803: A convention is signed by France and Spain calling for the neutrality of Spain.
October 20, 1803: The US Senate ratifies the Louisiana Purchase.
October 21, 1803: English chemist John Dalton reads his paper On the Absorption of Gases by Water and Other Liquids to the Literary and Philosophical Society of Manchester. At the end, he describes his atomic theory: all matter is made up of atoms and that atoms of different elements have different masses. He proposes atomic weights for 21 elements.
October 31, 1803: Paris newspapers announce the arrival of Adrien Boieldieu (27) in St. Petersburg. The acutal event occured sometime during the last two months.
October 31, 1803: The USS Philadelphia is captured by Tripoli and its crew imprisoned.
November 18, 1803: Haitian forces defeat the French at Vertieres.
November 30, 1803: In a ceremony at New Orleans, Spain officially hands over Louisiana to France.
December 4, 1803: Ludwig van Beethoven (32) is brought to court because he has not yet published his retraction, as required by the court finding of 26 September. In fact, he never will. See 31 March 1804.
December 5, 1803: João Rodrigues de Sá, visconde de Anadia replaces Luís Pinto de Sousa Coutinho, visconde de Balsemão as Secretary of State (prime minister) of Portugal.
December 8, 1803: Elbondocani, a singspiel by Johann Rudolf Zumsteeg (†1) to words of Haug, is performed for the first time, in Stuttgart.
December 11, 1803: Louis-Hector Berlioz is born at 69 rue de la République in La Côte-St.-André, 48 km northwest of Grenoble in the Department of Isère, Republic of France, the first of six children born to Louis-Joseph Berlioz, a physician and Marie-Antoinette-Joséphine Marmion, daughter of a Grenoble lawyer.
December 13, 1803: Les sabots et le cerisier, an opéra by François-Joseph Gossec (69) to words of Sedaine and Cazotte, is performed for the first time, in Paris.
December 17, 1803: The foreign slave trade is resumed after a hiatus of 16 years. Over the next four years, 40,000 slaves will be imported into the United States.
December 19, 1803: War of the Third Coalition: Great Britain and Portugal enter into a secret agreement. Portugal pledges to remain neutral in the war between Britain and France.
December 20, 1803: The United States takes title to the Louisiana Purchase, some 2,000,000 sq km, which will almost double the land area of the country.
December 24, 1803: The Boston Columbian Centinel advertises the publication of Andrew Law’s (54) Art of Singing.
December 24, 1803: Duke Georg I of Saxe-Mainingen dies in Meiningen and is replaced by his three-year-old son Bernhard II under regency.
December 24, 1803: Publication of four duets for violin and bass by Johann Baptist Vanhal (64) is advertised in the Wiener Zeitung.
December 26, 1803: Alonso e Cora, a dramma per musica by Simon Mayr (40) to words of Bernardoni after Marmontel, is performed for the first time, at the Teatro alla Scala, Milan.
December 29, 1803: L’heureux malgré lui, an opéra-bouffon by Étienne-Nicolas Méhul (40) to words of Saint-Just, is performed for the first time, at the Théâtre Feydeau, Paris. This is the one and only performance.
December 30, 1803: Daulatrao Scindia of Gwalior signs the Treaty of Surji-Anjangaon, submitting to British rule.
December 31, 1803: The Middlesex Canal, linking northern New England with Boston, is completed.