19 July 1903

Maurice Garin wins the first Tour de France

1903 Tour de France

1903 Tour de France
Map of France with the route of the 1903 Tour de France on it, showing that the race started in Paris, went clockwise through France and ended in Paris after six stages.
Route of the 1903 Tour de France followed clockwise, starting in Montgeron and ending in Paris
Race details
Dates1–19 July
Stages6
Distance2,428 km (1,509 mi)
Winning time94h 33' 14"
Results
  Winner  Maurice Garin (FRA)
  Second  Lucien Pothier (FRA)
  Third  Fernand Augereau (FRA)
1904 →

The 1903 Tour de France was the first cycling race set up and sponsored by the newspaper L'Auto, ancestor of the current daily, L'Équipe. It ran from 1 to 19 July in six stages over 2,428 km (1,509 mi), and was won by Maurice Garin.[1]

The race was invented to boost the circulation of L'Auto, after its circulation started to plummet from competition with the long-standing Le Vélo. Originally scheduled to start in June, the race was postponed one month, and the prize money was increased, after a disappointing level of applications from competitors. The 1903 Tour de France was the first stage road race, and compared to modern Grand Tours, it had relatively few stages, but each was much longer than those raced today. The cyclists did not have to compete in all six stages, although this was necessary to qualify for the general classification.

The pre-race favourite, Maurice Garin, won the first stage, and retained the lead throughout. He also won the last two stages, and had a margin of almost three hours over the next cyclist. The circulation of L'Auto increased more than sixfold during and after the race, so the race was considered successful enough to be rerun in 1904, by which time Le Vélo had been forced out of business.

Origin

After the Dreyfus affair separated advertisers from the newspaper Le Vélo, a new newspaper L'Auto-Vélo was founded in 1900, with former cyclist Henri Desgrange as editor. After being forced to change the name of the newspaper to L'Auto in 1903, Desgrange needed something to keep the cycling fans; with circulation at 20,000, he could not afford to lose them.[2]

When Desgrange and young employee Géo Lefèvre were returning from the Marseille–Paris cycling race,[3] Lefèvre suggested holding a race around France, similar to the popular six-day races on the track.[4] Desgrange proposed the idea to the financial controller , who gave his approval, and on 19 January 1903, the Tour de France was announced in L'Auto.[5][6]

It was to have been a five-week race, from 1 June to 5 July, with an entry fee of 20 francs. These conditions attracted very few cyclists: one week before the race was due to start, only 15 competitors had signed up. Desgrange then rescheduled the race from 1 to 19 July, increased the total prize money to 20,000 francs, reduced the entry fee to 10 francs and guaranteed at least five francs a day to the first 50 cyclists in the classification.[7] After that, 79 cyclists signed up for the race, of whom 60 actually started the race.[8]

Géo Lefévre became the director, judge and time-keeper; Henri Desgrange was the directeur-général, although he did not follow the race.[citation needed]

Rules and course

A black and white photograph of a man holding his bicycle and a little boy with a little bicycle, being looked upon by two other men.
Maurice Garin, the winner of the 1903 Tour de France.

The 1903 Tour de France was run in six stages. Compared to modern stage races, the stages were extraordinarily long, with an average distance of over 400 km (250 mi), compared to the 171 km (106 mi) average stage length in the 2004 Tour de France; cyclists had one to three rest days between each stage,[8] and the route was largely flat, with only one stage featuring a significant mountain. The cyclists were not grouped in teams but raced as individuals, and paid a fee of ten francs (€87.50 at 2003 prices) to compete in the race for general classification, or five francs to enter a single stage.[9] As the stages were so long, all but the first started before dawn: the last stage started at 21:00 the night before.[10]

The first Tour de France crossed no mountain passes, but several lesser cols. The first was the col des Echarmeaux (712 m (2,336 ft)), on the opening stage from Paris to Lyon, on what is now the old road from Autun to Lyon. The stage from Lyon to Marseille included the col de la République (1,161 m (3,809 ft)), also known as the col du Grand Bois, at the edge of St-Etienne.[11]

In 1903, it was normal for a professional cyclist to hire pacers, who would lead them during the race. Desgrange forbade this: it was originally intended that in the final, longest, stage pacers would be allowed, but this was rescinded after the fifth stage.[5][12][13]

To ensure that the cyclists rode the entire route, stewards were stationed at various points around the course.[5][7] The yellow jersey for the leader in the general classification had not yet been introduced, but the leader was identified by a green armband.[5]

The fastest eight cyclists on each stage received a prize between 50 francs and 1,500 francs, varying per stage. The fourteen best cyclists in the general classification received a prize from 3,000 francs for the winner to 25 francs for fourteenth place.[7] The remaining seven cyclists to finish in the general classification each received 95 francs, 5 francs for each of the 19 days that the race took, provided that they had not won more than 200 francs in prize money and did not have an average speed below 20 km/h (12 mph) on any stage.[7]

Participants

In contrast to modern stage races, a cyclist who gave up during a stage was allowed to start again the next stage, although he would no longer be in contention for the general classification. Thus Hippolyte Aucouturier, who gave up during the first stage, was able to return, and won the second and third stages. Charles Laeser, winner of the fourth stage, had not completed the third stage.[8]

Sixty cyclists, all professionals or semi-professionals, started the race, of whom 49 were French, 4 Belgian, 4 Swiss, 2 German, and one Italian; 21 of them were sponsored by bicycle manufacturers, while 39 entered without commercial support.[7][8][14] 24 other cyclists took advantage of the opportunity to enter specific stages: one rode in both the second and fourth stages, and additionally three cyclists took part in the second stage, one in the third stage, fifteen in the fourth stage only, and a further four only competed in the fifth stage.[8]

Race overview

A black-and-white picture of a group of persons with bicycles, standing on a road.
Café au Reveil Matin in Paris, 1903 Tour de France.

The pre-race favourites for the victory were Maurice Garin and Hippolyte Aucouturier.[3] Garin dominated the race from the start by winning the first stage, a 471 km (293 mi) parcours from Paris to Lyon. The stage started at 15:16, and the cyclists initially rode with a speed of 35 km/h. The first cyclists abandoned after around 50 km (31 mi).[15] At 23:00, Garin and , leading the race, reached the control point in Nevers. Garin expected at that point that they would finish at 8:00 the next morning. During the night, Garin's main rival, Aucouturier, had stomach cramps, and was unable to finish the stage.[5][15] Also during that first stage, the first breach of the rules occurred: Jean Fischer had used a car as pacer, which was illegal.[5][15] Pagie fell down, but got up again; he and Garin kept leading the race during the night. Around 9:00 in the morning, both reached Lyon. Garin got away from Pagie, and finished one minute ahead.[15]

On the left a classic automobile, and a group of men standing, one of them holding a bicycle.
The finish of the first Tour.

Although Aucouturier had abandoned in the first stage, and so was not eligible for the general classification, he could still start the rest of the stages. In the second stage, Aucouturier was able to win the sprint. In the third stage, the cyclists who were competing for the general classification started one hour earlier than the other cyclists, including Aucouturier. At the end of that stage, a group of four cyclists had broken away, and won the sprint. Aucouturier finished 27 minutes later, but this meant that he had run the course 33 minutes faster, so he was declared the winner of the stage.[16] Garin retained the lead, helped by a crash of second-placed Pagie in the second stage, which eliminated him from the race.[5] In the fourth stage, Aucouturier had a clear lead and seemed set to win a third successive stage, but was caught using the slipstream of a car, and was removed from the race.[3] Swiss Charles Laeser (who had abandoned in the 3rd stage[8]) took the victory, becoming the first non-French winner. As in the third stage, the cyclists departed in two groups, and Laeser was in the second group because he was no longer contending for the general classification. Laeser finished more than 50 minutes after a group of six cyclists, but he had travelled the distance 4 minutes faster than them, so he was declared the winner.[17]

At that point, Garin was leading, with Émile Georget almost two hours behind.[18] In the fifth stage, Georget had two flat tires, and fell asleep when he stopped at the side of the road to rest; he failed to finish.[3] Thus Garin extended his lead by winning this stage, carrying nearly three hours' advantage into the final day's racing.[19] Garin had requested other cyclists in the leading group to let him win the stage, but Fernand Augereau refused to do this. Garin then had Lucien Pothier throw down his bicycle in front of Augereau, who fell, and Garin then bent Augereau's rear wheel. Augereau quickly obtained a spare bike and continued to the finish, however Garin easily won the sprint.[20] Augereau still received a prize of 100 francs from Velo-Sport Nantes for the fastest final kilometer of the stage in the Nantes velodrome.[21]

The last stage was the longest, at 471 km (293 mi), and ran from Nantes to the small town of Ville-d'Avray, which lies between Versailles and Paris, instead of at the Parc des Princes velodrome. This was because of a bylaw forbidding road races to end on cycling tracks (a bylaw subsequently repealed in light of the race's success). Garin took his third stage win, and sealed overall victory by 2 hours 59 minutes 31 seconds: this remains the greatest margin of victory in the Tour de France.[5] After celebrating with champagne, the riders cycled to Parc des Princes, where they made several laps of honour before an adoring crowd, to the sound of a bugle.

Results

French text: "Tour de France (Paris-Lyon) - 1er M. Garin, Vainquer de Paris-Brest. 2e Pagie. Tous deux sur bicyclettes La Française, marque diamant, pneus munis de l'Hermetic. Battant plus de 60 concurrents".
The publicity after the first stage showed that Maurice Garin rode a bicycle from La Française

Stage results

In 1903, there was no distinction in the rules between plain stages and mountain stages; the icons shown here indicate whether the stage included mountains.

Stage characteristics and winners[8][10]
Stage Date Course Distance Type Winner Race leader
1 1 July Paris to Lyon 467 km (290 mi) Plain stage Plain stage  Maurice Garin (FRA)  Maurice Garin (FRA)
2 5 July Lyon to Marseille 374 km (232 mi) Stage with mountain Stage with mountain(s)  Hippolyte Aucouturier (FRA)  Maurice Garin (FRA)
3 8 July Marseille to Toulouse 423 km (263 mi) Plain stage Plain stage  Hippolyte Aucouturier (FRA)  Maurice Garin (FRA)
4 12 July Toulouse to Bordeaux 268 km (167 mi) Plain stage Plain stage  Charles Laeser (SUI)  Maurice Garin (FRA)
5 13 July Bordeaux to Nantes 425 km (264 mi) Plain stage Plain stage  Maurice Garin (FRA)  Maurice Garin (FRA)
6 18 July Nantes to Paris 471 km (293 mi) Plain stage Plain stage  Maurice Garin (FRA)  Maurice Garin (FRA)
Total 2,428 km (1,509 mi)[1]

General classification

There were 21 cyclists who had completed all six stages. For these cyclists, the times taken for each stage were added up for the general classification. The cyclist with the least accumulated time was the winner. The cyclists officially were not grouped in teams; some cyclists had the same sponsor, even though they were not allowed to work together.[22]

Final general classification (1–10)[8]
Rank Rider Sponsor[23] Time
1  Maurice Garin (FRA) La Française 94h 33' 14"
2  Lucien Pothier (FRA) La Française + 2h 59' 21"
3  Fernand Augereau (FRA) La Française + 4h 29' 24"
4  Rodolfo Muller[24] (ITA) La Française + 4h 39' 30"
5  Jean Fischer (FRA) La Française + 4h 58' 44"
6  Marcel Kerff (BEL) + 5h 52' 24"
7  Julien Lootens (BEL) Brennabor + 8h 31' 08"
8  Georges Pasquier (FRA) La Française + 10h 24' 04"
9  François Beaugendre (FRA) + 10h 52' 14"
10  Aloïs Catteau (BEL) La Française + 12h 44' 57"

Aftermath

The circulation of L'Auto increased significantly due to this event; a special edition of 130,000 copies was made after the race was over,[25] and normal circulation increased from 25,000 to 65,000.[2] The big success made sure that the Tour de France was scheduled again for 1904. The cyclists had also become national heroes. Maurice Garin returned for the 1904 Tour de France but his title defence failed when he was disqualified. With the prize money that he won in 1903, which totalled 6,075 francs,[8] (approximately US$40,000 and GBP£23,000 in 2006 values[5]) Garin later bought a gas station, where he worked for the rest of his life.[5]

References

  1. ^ a b Augendre 2016, p. 108.
  2. ^ a b James, Tom (4 April 2001). "The Origins of the Tour de France". VeloArchive. Archived from the original on 4 May 2009. Retrieved 24 March 2009.
  3. ^ a b c d "1903: Maurice Garin wint eerste Tour" (in Dutch). 19 March 2003. Archived from the original on 4 May 2009. Retrieved 24 March 2009.
  4. ^ Noakes, T. D. (2006). "The limits of endurance exercise". Basic Research in Cardiology. 101 (5): 408–417. doi:10.1007/s00395-006-0607-2. Retrieved 27 January 2010.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j McGann & McGann 2006, pp. 4–10.
  6. ^ Desgrange, Henri (19 January 1903). "Le Tour de France". l'Auto (in French). Retrieved 17 June 2017.
  7. ^ a b c d e "Réglement du Tour de France 1903". L'Auto (in French). Mémoire du cyclisme. Archived from the original on 20 March 2012. Retrieved 28 October 2016.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i "1er Tour de France 1903" (in French). Mémoire du cyclisme. Archived from the original on 4 May 2009. Retrieved 24 March 2009.
  9. ^ Wheatcroft, Geoffrey (2003). Le Tour: a history of the Tour de France, 1903–2003. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-7432-3110-4.
  10. ^ a b Augendre 2016, p. 5.
  11. ^ Woodland, Les (2003). The Yellow Jersey Companion to the Tour de France. Yellow Jersey Press. p. 264. ISBN 0-224-06318-9.
  12. ^ Augendre, Jacques (1996). Le Tour de France: Panorama d'un siècle (in French). Société du Tour de France. p. 9.
  13. ^ "Le Tour de France - Un incident Garin-Augereau". Le Populaire (in French). Archives municipales de Nantes. 17 July 1903. Retrieved 27 January 2010.
  14. ^ Torgler, Benno (2007). ""La Grande Boucle": Determinants of Success at the Tour de France". Journal of Sports Economics. 8 (3): 317–331. doi:10.1177/1527002506287657. Retrieved 27 January 2010.
  15. ^ a b c d "1ère étappe - Paris-Lyon - 467 kilomètres" (in French). Mémoire du cyclisme. Archived from the original on 4 May 2009. Retrieved 24 March 2009.
  16. ^ "Etape 3: Marseille–Toulouse" (in French). La Grande Boucle. Archived from the original on 13 July 2011. Retrieved 21 July 2010.
  17. ^ "Etape 4: Toulouse–Bordeaux" (in French). La Grande Boucle. Archived from the original on 13 July 2011. Retrieved 21 July 2010.
  18. ^ "1er Tour de France 1903 - 4ème étappe" (in French). Mémoire du cyclisme. Archived from the original on 3 May 2009. Retrieved 24 March 2009.
  19. ^ "1903 - 1st Tour de France". Amaury Sport Organisation. Archived from the original on 24 September 2009. Retrieved 24 March 2009.
  20. ^ "Etape 5: Bordeaux–Nantes" (in French). La Grande Boucle. Archived from the original on 13 July 2011. Retrieved 21 July 2010.
  21. ^ "Le Tour de France - 5ème étape Bordeaux-Nantes (394 kil.)". Le Populaire (in French). Archives municipales de Nantes. 15 July 1903. Retrieved 27 January 2010.
  22. ^ Thompson, Christopher S. (2006). The Tour de France: A Cultural History. University of California Press. p. 36. ISBN 0-520-24760-4.
  23. ^ "Cycling archives". Retrieved 27 January 2010.
  24. ^ Rodolfo Muller at Cycling Archives
  25. ^ James, Tom (14 August 2003). "Victory for the Little Chimney Sweep". VeloArchive. Retrieved 8 March 2010.

Bibliography

Further reading

External links

Media related to 1903 Tour de France at Wikimedia Commons

6 October 1903

The High Court of Australia sits for the first time.

In 1903 Canberra as the national capital did not exist. The legislative and administrative capital of the Commonwealth was Melbourne and so Melbourne hosted the first sitting of Australia’s highest court. At a meeting of the Federal Executive Council on 6 October 1903, the Governor-General, Lord Tennyson, signed the commissions appointing Chief Justice Griffith and Justices Barton and O’Connor to the Court.

The following day, in the Banco Court of the Supreme Court of Victoria, the first sitting of the High Court took place. In a solemn ceremony watched by a courtroom filled with distinguished guests, the Justices’ commissions were read, the judicial oaths administered and the Commonwealth Attorney-General, Senator JG Drake, presented his commission to the newly-sworn Court.

This painting depicts the Rt Hon Justice O’Connor taking the oath of office. Standing immediately before the Bench and administering the oath is the Registrar, Mr GH Castle and to his left is the Marshal, Mr W.D. Bingle. In the bottom left-hand corner is the Court Crier. At the Bar table from the bottom of the picture are: Senator Drake; New South Wales, Attorney-General Mr BR Wise; Mr Isaac Isaacs KC MP; Sir John Quick KC MP; Mr LE Groom MP representing the Queensland Bar in the absence of the Queensland Attorney-General; and Senator Dobson representing the Tasmanian Bar. Seated to the left of Senator Drake, and not shown in the painting, were: the Attorney-General of Victoria, Mr JM Davies MP; Mr Higgins KC MP and Mr Purves KC. Due to the tyranny of distance, there was no representative from Western Australia at the ceremony. On the upper right hand side, just to the right of the clock, one can see Lord Tennyson and to his left, Lady Tennyson. To the right of the Governor-General is the Prime Minister, the Hon Alfred Deakin MP. Following the swearing-in ceremonies, each of the senior legal representatives gave congratulating their honours on their appointment.

The first to speak was Senator Drake and it was an eloquent speech. According to a newspaper report in The Age on Wednesday, 7 October 1903:

[H]e said the country was to be congratulated on the establishment of a court which embodied the judicial power of the Commonwealth and would be the guardian and interpreter of the Constitution. With the Legislature, the Executive and the High Court, the Constitution in its great ideals was now complete. Time would evolve the union of heart and mind and purpose which made for true federation. The knowledge they had of the part that had been taken by their Honours in the past in guiding the aspirations of the people of Australia in the directions of the nobler conceptions of national life, the great care skill and pairs that had been devoted by them to framing the instrument of federation, were assurances that the court would zealously safeguard the Constitution and that the interpretation of its provisions would harmonise with the growth and development of national life. The decisions of the Court would bring life and spirit into the dry bones of the Constitution and the names of the first Justices of the Court would live in history with those of the illustrious expounders of American Constitutional law.

Senator Drake was followed in turn by Messrs Wise, Davies, Groom and Senator Dobson. Following the congratulatory speeches, each of the Justices responded. The Age reported:

The Chief Justice, in replying to the speeches, said… that the Court was entrusted with powers far reaching in their effect. It would be looked to for the solution to most difficult questions, to compose strifes between the States and possibly between the Commonwealth and the States. Upon its success or failure must depend to a great extend the future well being of the Commonwealth. His brother justices and he himself had before them to excite their emulation the great traditions of the British empire and the noble traditions of the Supreme Courts of the Australian States.

Justices Barton and O’Connor added their support to the Chief Justice’s words, each referring to the weighty responsibilities they now took upon themselves.

The ceremony was completed in less then 30 minutes and the Court adjourned until the next day to hear its first case, an application for special leave to appeal in the matter of D’Emden v Pedder. D’Emden v Pedder 1 CLR 91 involved an alleged breach of the Tasmanian Act which had led to the applicant, Mr D’Emden the Deputy Postmaster-General of Tasmania and a Commonwealth employee being fined one shilling by the Court of Petty Sessions in Hobart for failing to pay stamp duty of two pence on a receipt for his monthly salary – a decision later upheld by the Supreme Court of Tasmania and the Tasmanian Full Court. The High Court granted special leave to appeal, and the applicant succeeded. The High Court held that the Commonwealth was immune from state stamp duties, as were the states from Commonwealth imposts, under the doctrine of sovereign intergovernmental immunities, and in the absence of express Constitutional provision that government powers were fettered.

19 July 1903

Maurice Garin wins the first ever Tour de France.

Maurice Garin won the first Tour de France, on July 19th, 1903, by a margin of almost three hours.
Products of the bicycling craze of the 1890s in France included an army regiment mounted on bicycles and numerous flourishing bicycle-connected businesses as well as a public appetite for races. Besides track events in ‘velodromes’, there were long-distance road races, from Paris to Vienna and St Petersburg, for instance, and from Paris to Rome. The Tour de France, which began as a newspaper circulation-booster, was an unexpected by-product of the Dreyfus Affair. In 1899 the bicycle newspaper Le Vélo , which sold 80,000 copies a day, ran a pro-Dreyfus piece that caused a fierce falling out with a major advertiser, the bicycle manufacturer Comte Dion. With other manufacturers, including Clément and Michelin, Dion started a rival sports sheet called L’Auto. The editor was Henri Desgranges, winner of the world one-hour record in 1893. When one of his assistants suggested a race round France, Desgranges saw the possibilities.

The first race in 1903 took nineteen days in six formidable stages, from Paris to Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Nantes and back to Paris. The stages varied in length from 274km to as much as 467km, with a total distance of just over 2400km. A parade of cars, festooned with advertising and throwing free samples to spectators, travelled two hours ahead of the cyclists. Of sixty competitors from France, Belgium, Germany and Switzerland, including professional team riders and freelance amateurs, twenty-one finished the gruelling course and the race was won by a Frenchman, Maurice Garin, ‘the Little Chimney-Sweep’, by a margin of close to three hours. The last finisher came in two days behind.

Garin also won the second race in 1904, but he and the next three finishers were all disqualified for cheating. The early races were notorious for mayhem. Riders strewed broken glass and nails in the road to cause punctures behind them, competitors were given drinks that made them sick, many got surreptitious tows from cars or motorbikes, some were held up and delayed by hired thugs. The excitement was intense and L’Auto’s circulation more than doubled. Le Vélo went bankrupt.

1 July 1903

The first Tour de France bicycle race start.

The 1903 Tour de France was the first cycling race set up and sponsored by the newspaper L’Auto, ancestor of the current daily, L’Équipe. It ran from 1 to 19 July in six stages over 2,428 km, and was won by Maurice Garin.

The race was invented to boost the circulation of L’Auto, after its circulation started to plummet from competition with the long-standing Le Vélo. Originally scheduled to start in June, the race was postponed one month, and the prize money was increased, after a disappointing level of applications from competitors. The 1903 Tour de France was the first stage road race, and compared to modern Grand Tours, it had relatively few stages, but each was much longer than those raced today. The cyclists did not have to compete in all six stages, although this was necessary to qualify for the general classification.

The pre-race favourite, Maurice Garin, won the first stage, and retained the lead throughout. He also won the last two stages, and had a margin of almost three hours over the next cyclist. The circulation of L’Auto increased more than sixfold during and after the race, so the race was considered successful enough to be rerun in 1904, by which time Le Vélo had been forced out of business.

After the Dreyfus affair separated advertisers from the newspaper Le Vélo, a new newspaper L’Auto-Vélo was founded in 1900, with former cyclist Henri Desgrange as editor. After being forced to change the name of the newspaper to L’Auto in 1903, Desgrange needed something to keep the cycling fans; with circulation at 20,000, he could not afford to lose them.

When Desgrange and young employee Géo Lefèvre were returning from the Marseille–Paris cycling race, Lefèvre suggested holding a race around France, similar to the popular six-day races on the track. Desgrange proposed the idea to the financial controller Victor Goddet, who gave his approval, and on 19 January 1903, the Tour de France was announced in L’Auto.

It was to have been a five-week race, from 1 June to 5 July, with an entry fee of 20 francs. These conditions attracted very few cyclists: one week before the race was due to start, only 15 competitors had signed up. Desgrange then rescheduled the race from 1 to 19 July, increased the total prize money to 20,000 francs, reduced the entry fee to 10 francs and guaranteed at least five francs a day to the first 50 cyclists in the classification. After that, 79 cyclists signed up for the race, of whom 60 actually started the race.

Géo Lefévre became the director, judge and time-keeper; Henri Desgrange was the directeur-général, although he did not follow the race.

23 February 1903

Cuba leases Guantánamo Bay to the United States “in perpetuity”.

Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, officially known as Naval Station Guantanamo Bay or NSGB also called GTMO because of the airfield designation code or Gitmo because of the common pronunciation of this code by the U.S. military, is a United States military base located on 120 square kilometres of land and water at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, which the U.S. leased for use as a coaling station and naval base in 1903 for $2,000 in gold per year until 1934, when the payment was set to match the value in gold in dollars; in 1974, the yearly lease was set to $4,085. The base is on the shore of Guantánamo Bay at the southeastern end of Cuba. It is the oldest overseas U.S. Naval Base. Since the Cuban Revolution of 1959, the Cuban government has consistently protested against the U.S. presence on Cuban soil and called it illegal under international law, alleging that the base was imposed on Cuba by force.

Since 2002, the naval base has contained a military prison, the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, for unlawful combatants captured in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other places during the War on Terror. Cases of torture of prisoners, and their alleged denial of protection under the Geneva Conventions, have been condemned internationally.

During the Spanish–American War, the U.S. fleet attacking Santiago secured Guantánamo’s harbor for protection during the hurricane season of 1898. The Marines landed at Guantanamo Bay with naval support, and American and Cuban forces routed the defending Spanish troops. The war ended with the Treaty of Paris of 1898, in which Spain formally relinquished control of Cuba. Although the war was over, the United States maintained a strong military presence on the island. In 1901 the United States government passed the Platt Amendment as part of an Army Appropriations Bill. Section VII of this amendment read

That to enable the United States to maintain the independence of Cuba, and to protect the people thereof, as well as for its own defense, the government of Cuba will sell or lease to the United States lands necessary for coaling or naval stations at certain specified points to be agreed upon with the President of the United States

After initial resistance by the Cuban Constitutional Convention, the Platt Amendment was incorporated into the Constitution of the Republic of Cuba in 1901. The Constitution took effect in 1902, and land for a naval base at Guantanamo Bay was granted to the United States the following year.

USS Monongahela 1862, the old warship served as a storeship at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba until totally destroyed by fire on March 17, 1908. A 4-inch gun was salvaged from her wreck and put on display at the Naval Station. Since the gun was deformed by the heat from the fire, it was nicknamed “Old Droopy”. The gun was on display on Deer Point until the command disposed of it, judging its appearance less than exemplary of naval gunnery.

16 December 1903

The Taj Mahal Palace & Tower hotel in Bombay opens.

The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel is a “Heritage Grand” class five-star hotel in the Colaba region of Mumbai, Maharashtra, India, next to the Gateway of India. Historically it was known as the “Taj Mahal Hotel” or the “Taj Palace Hotel”. or simply “the Taj”.

Part of the Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, this hotel is considered the flagship property of the group and contains 560 rooms and 44 suites. There are some 1,600 staff including 35 butlers. From a historical and architectural point of view, the two buildings that make up the hotel, the Taj Mahal Palace, and the Tower are two distinct buildings, built at different times and in different architectural designs. In 2017, the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel has acquired an image trademark. It is the first building in the country to get intellectual property rights protection for its architectural design.

The hotel has hosted many notable guests, from presidents to captains of industry and stars of show business.

The new wing called Taj Mahal Tower.

The original entrance on the west side; now the site of the hotel pool.
The hotel’s original building was commissioned by Tata and first opened its doors to guests on 16 December 1903.

It is widely believed that Jamsetji Tata decided to build the hotel after he was refused entry to one of the city’s grand hotels of the time, Watson’s Hotel, as it was restricted to “whites only”. However, this story has been challenged by some commentators that suggest that Tata was unlikely to have been concerned with ‘revenge’ against his British adversaries. Instead, they suggest that the Taj was built at the urging of editor of The Times of India who felt a hotel “worthy of Bombay” was needed.

The original Indian architects were Sitaram Khanderao Vaidya and D. N. Mirza, and the project was completed by an English engineer, W. A. Chambers. The builder was Khansaheb Sorabji Ruttonji Contractor who also designed and built its famous central floating staircase. The cost of construction was £250,000.

Originally the main entrance was on the other side, where now the pool exists, and the ocean was at the back, although it is now always viewed and photographed from the ocean side.

Between 1915 and 1919, work proceeded at Apollo Bundar to reclaim the land behind the hotel where the Gateway of India was built in 1924. Gateway of India soon became a major focal point in Bombay.

The original clientele were mainly the Europeans, the Maharajas and the elites. Many world-renowned personalities have since stayed there, from Somerset Maugham and Duke Ellington to Lord Mountbatten and Bill Clinton.

When it opened in 1903, the hotel was the first in India to have: electricity, American fans, German elevators, Turkish baths and English butlers. Later it also had the city’s first licensed bar, India’s first all-day restaurant, and the India’s first discotheque, Blow Up. Initially in 1903, it charged Rs 13 for rooms with fans and attached bathrooms, and Rs 20 with full board.

During World War I the hotel was converted into a hospital with 600 beds.

Jinnah’s estranged wife Ratanbai Petit lived here during her last days in 1929. By 1966, the building was run-down, perhaps as a results of losing the British customers in 1948.

The Taj Hotel was home to legendary Jazz musician Micky Correa, “The Sultan of Swing” from 1936-1960.

The Taj Mahal Tower, an additional wing of the hotel, was opened in 1973. It was designed by jointly by Daraius Batliwala & Rustom Patell with the latter having a greater focus later on. Also in 1970s Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces was organized that built new properties and converted palaces into heritage hotels. In 1980, it expanded overseas.

The hotel received extensive international exposure in 2008 and reopened after extensive repairs.

6 October 1903

The High Court of Australia sits for the first time.

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The High Court of Australia is the supreme court in the Australian court hierarchy and the final court of appeal in Australia. It has both original and appellate jurisdiction, the power of judicial review over laws passed by the Parliament of Australia and the parliaments of the States, and the ability to interpret the Constitution of Australia thereby powerfully shaping the development of federalism in Australia.

The High Court is mandated by Constitution section 71, which vests in it the judicial power of the Commonwealth of Australia. The Court was constituted by, and its first members were appointed under, the Judiciary Act 1903. It now operates under Constitution sections 71 to 75, the Judiciary Act, and the High Court of Australia Act 1979. It is composed of seven Justices: the Chief Justice of Australia, currently Susan Kiefel, and six other Justices. They are appointed by the Governor-General of Australia, on the advice of the federal government, and under the constitution must retire at age 70.

Since 1979, The High Court has been located in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory. The majority of its sittings are held in the High Court building, situated in the Parliamentary Triangle, overlooking Lake Burley Griffin. With an increasing utilisation of video links, sittings are also commonly held in the state capitals.

23 July 1903

The Ford Motor Company sells its first car.

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As any entrepreneur will tell you, paying your suppliers can be among the toughest challenges facing a start-up business. That’s as true now as it was in 1903, when 39-year-old motor racing enthusiast Henry Ford decided to strike out on his own.

In June that year, the Ford Motor Company was established. A thousand shares were split between 12 investors, with Ford, as vice-president and chief engineer, holding a 25.5% stake. But right from the get-go, the company was in dire straits.

The fledgling company depended on suppliers, including the Dodge brothers, to make car parts. These were assembled by a team of 40 engineers in a rented garage on Mack Avenue in Detroit. But Ford, who had yet to sell a single car, struggled to keep up with the payments.

Faced with the choice of walking away or doubling down, the Dodge brothers (who later founded their own famous car company) decided to throw their lot in with Ford. They agreed to write off $7,000, and extended a $3,000 six-month credit line in return for 10% of the company.

Not long after, things started to look up. The Ford Motor Company received its first order for three Model A cars, one of which was paid for upfront, while deposits totalling $1,320 were paid for the other two. That was just as well, seeing as the company had already blown through all but $223 of its $28,000 start-up capital.

“Who can’t afford a Fordmobile?”, asked an advert placed in the June edition of the Cycle and Automobile Trade Journal. Well, most people. The Model A came in two flavours: a four-seater ‘Tonneau’, priced at $850, while a sporty two-seater version, the ‘Runabout’, cost $750 – not cheap considering the average US salary in 1900 was only $438.

But Ernest Pfennig of Chicago was one of those who could, and on 23 July, he became the proud owner of a Ford. While the Model A was no runaway success, by October, the Ford Motor Company had managed to turn a $37,000 profit.

Ford and his engineers continued to tinker with his designs, and in 1908, the Model T went on sale. The ‘Tin Lizzie’ was a better hit with the motoring public, and safeguarded the Ford Motoring Company’s future in the years ahead.