Events of 1871
January 2 – Amadeus I becomes King of Spain.
January 18 – The member-states of the North German Federation and the south German states unite into a single nation-state known as the German Empire. The King of Prussia is declared the first German Emperor as Wilhelm I of Germany.
January 21 – Giuseppe Garibaldi's group of French and Italian volunteer troops in support of the French Third Republic win a battle against the Prussians in Dijon.
March 21 – John Campbell, Marquess of Lorne, whose father, the 8th Duke of Argyll, is the serving Secretary of State for India, marries Princess Louise.
March 22 – In North Carolina, William Holden becomes the first governor of a U.S. state to be removed from office by impeachment.
March 22 – The U.S. Army issued an order for the abandonment of Fort Kearny, Nebraska.
March 26 – The Paris Commune is formally established in Paris.
March 27 – The first Rugby Union International results in a 4–1 win by Scotland over England.
March 29 – The Royal Albert Hall is opened by Queen Victoria.
April – The Stockholms Handelsbank is founded.
April 20 – The U.S President Ulysses S. Grant signs the Ku Klux Klan Act.
May 4- The first supposedly Major League Baseball game is played.
May 8- The First MLB (Major League Baseball) Home Run is hit by Erza Sutton Of the Cleveland "Forest Citys".
May 10 – France surrenders, ending the Franco-Prussian War.
May 11 – The first trial of the case of Tichborne Claimant begins in the London Court of Common Pleas.
May 21 – Opening of the first rack railway in Europe, the Rigi-Bahnen on Mount Rigi.
May 21–30 – French Third Republic: Government troops invade the Paris Commune and crush the rebellion.
June 10 – Captain McLane Tilton leads 109 U.S. Marines in a naval attack on the Han River forts in Korea.
June 18 – The University Tests Act removes religious tests at Oxford, Cambridge and Durham universities.
British Columbia joins the confederation of Canada.
C. W. Alcock proposes that "a Challenge Cup should be established in connection with the Association", giving birth to the FA Cup.
July 21 – August 26 – First ever photographs of Yellowstone National Park region taken by the photographer William Henry Jackson during Hayden Geological Survey of 1871
July 28 – The Annie, the first boat ever launched on Yellowstone Lake in Yellowstone National Park region.
August 29 – The abolition of the han system is carried out in Japan.
August 31 – Adolphe Thiers becomes the President of the French Republic.
September – Whaling Disaster of 1871: 1,219 people abandon 33 whaling ships caught in the ice pack off the northern coast of Alaska.
October 8 – Four major fires break out on the shores of Lake Michigan in Chicago, Illinois, Peshtigo, Wisconsin, Holland, Michigan, and Manistee, Michigan. The Great Chicago Fire is the most famous of these, leaving nearly 100,000 people homeless, although the Peshtigo Fire kills as many as 2,500 people, making it the deadliest fire in United States history.
October 12 – Criminal Tribes Act (CTA) enacted by British rule in India, which named over 160 communities "Criminal Tribes", i.e. hereditary criminals. It was Repealed in 1949, after Independence of India.
October 20 – The Royal Regiment of Artillery forms the first regular Canadian army units when they create two batteries of garrison artillery, which later become the Royal Canadian Artillery.
The Comte de Chambord refuses to be crowned "King Henry V of France" until France abandons its tricolor and returns to the old Bourbon flag.
The Grand Sachem of Tammany Hall (Boss Tweed) is arrested.
November 5 – Wickenburg massacre: six men travelling by stagecoach are reportedly murdered by the Yavapai Indians.
November 10 – Henry Morton Stanley locates the missing explorer and missionary Dr. David Livingstone in Ujiji, near Lake Tanganyika, and greets him by saying "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?"
November 17 – The National Rifle Association is granted a charter by the state of New York.
December 10 – German chancellor Otto von Bismarck tries to ban Catholics from the political stage by introducing harsh laws concerning the separation of church and state.
December 19 – The city of Birmingham, Alabama, is incorporated with the merger of three pre-existing towns.
December 25 – The Reading Football Club is formed.
December 26 – Thespis, the first of the Gilbert and Sullivan operas, premières. It does modestly well, but the two composers will not collaborate again for four years.