Cars, Planes, Teddy Roosevelt and the 1900s

The first decade of the 20th century resembled the 19th century that just ended more than the century to come. Clothing, customs, and transportation, for the most part, remained as they had been, with changes associated with the 20th century all to come in the future except for two major ones: the airplane and the car, which both were born in this decade. However, their influence on society would come in later years. In this first decade of the 20th century, Teddy Roosevelt became the youngest man ever to be inaugurated as president of the United States, and he was a popular one. His progressive agenda foretold a century of change.

1900

King Umberto I
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The first year of the 20th century witnessed the Boxer Rebellion in China and the assassination of Italy's King Umberto.

Kodak introduced Brownie cameras that cost $1, Max Planck formulated quantum theory, and Sigmund Freud published his landmark work, "The Interpretation of Dreams."

1901

Guglielmo Marconi
Italian radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi broadcast the first transatlantic wireless signals on Dec. 12, 1901. The Print Collector / Print Collector / Getty Images

In 1901, President William McKinley was assassinated, and his vice president, Theodore Roosevelt, was inaugurated as the youngest U.S. president ever.

Britain's Queen Victoria died, marking the end of the Victorian era, which dominated the 19th century.

Australia became a commonwealth, Guglielmo Marconi broadcast the first transatlantic radio signal, and the first Nobel Prizes were awarded.

1902

Mount Pelee
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The year 1902 brought the end of the Boer War and the volcanic eruption of Mount Pelee in Martinique.

The lovable Teddy Bear, named after President Teddy Roosevelt, made his first appearance, and the U.S. passed the Chinese Exclusion Act.

1903

Wright Brothers
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The third year of the century witnessed several firsts, but none could compare with the importance of the Wright Brothers' first powered flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. This would change the world and have a huge impact on the century to come.

Other milestones: The first message traveled around the world, the first license plates were issued in the U.S., the first World Series was played, and the first silent movie, "The Great Train Robbery," was released.

British suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst founded the Women's Social and Political Union, a militant organization that campaigned for women's suffrage until 1917.

1904

Panama Canal
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The year 1904 was a good one for transportation: Ground was broken on the Panama Canal, the New York Subway made its first run, and the Trans-Siberian Railway opened for business.

Mary McLeod Bethune opened her school to African-American students, and the Russo-Japanese War began. 

1905

Albert Einstein
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In the most far-reaching event of 1905, Albert Einstein proposed his Theory of Relativity, which explains the behavior of objects in space and time and had ​a profound influence on the understanding of the universe.

"Bloody Sunday" and the Revolution of 1905 occurred in Russia, the first section of the Simplon Tunnel through the Alps was completed, and Freud published his famous Theory of Sexuality.

On the cultural front, the first movie theater opened in the United States, and the painters Henri Matisse and Andre Derain introduced fauvism to the art world.

1906

San Francisco Earthquake
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The San Francisco earthquake devasted the city and was the most memorable event of 1906. 

Other events of this year include the debut of Kellogg's Corn Flakes, the launch of the Dreadnaught and the publishing of Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle."

Last but not least, Finland became the first European country to give women the right to vote, 14 years before this was achieved in the United States.

1907

Typhoid Mary
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In 1907, the Ten Rules of War were established at the Second Hague Peace Conference, the first electric washing machine hit the market, Typhoid Mary was captured for the first time, and Pablo Picasso turned heads in the art world with his cubist paintings.

1908

Ford Model-T
Library of Congress

One event in 1908 would impact life, work, and customs in the 20th century incalculably, and that was the introduction of the Ford Model-T by Henry Ford.

Other big news happened: An earthquake in Italy took the lives of 150,000, Jack Johnson became the first African-American boxer to be the world heavyweight champion, Turks staged a revolt in the Ottoman Empire, and there was a huge and mysterious explosion in Siberia.

1909

Robert Peary and Dogs
Imagno / Contributor

In the last year of the aughts, Robert Peary ​reached the North Pole, Japan's Prince Ito was assassinated, plastic was invented, and the NAACP was founded.